Voter turnout increases in Powell River-Sunshine Coast

Laura Walz/Powell River Peak / Staff writer
June 7, 2013 01:00 AM

One seat changed after BC Elections conducted the final count of the 2013 election, and a judicial recount was completed this week.

New Democratic Party (NDP) candidate Selina Robinson overtook B.C. Liberal Steve Kim in Coquitlam - Maillardville, winning by 41 votes.

The Liberals now have 49 seats in the legislature and the NDP 34. The Green Party of B.C. has one seat, Andrew Weaver in Oak Bay - Gordon Head, while one independent, Vicki Huntington, was re-elected for a second term in Delta South.

In Powell River - Sunshine Coast, little changed between the initial and final count.

NDP MLA-elect Nicholas Simons won with 55.2 per cent, 13,120 votes. That was an increase from the initial count, which had him winning with 54.91 per cent, or 11,931 votes. Simons has held the riding since 2005, when he won it with 43 per cent of the vote. He took the riding again in 2009 with 58 per cent of the vote.

B.C. Liberal Patrick Muncaster came second with 32.78 per cent, 7,792 votes. The number of votes he had in the preliminary count was 7,203 or 33.15 per cent.

Green Party candidate Richard Till placed third, with 12.02 per cent, 2,856 votes. That was also an increase from the initial count, which had him with 11.94 per cent, or 2,594 votes.

The total number of votes cast in the riding was 23,768. There were 36,976 registered voters, which made the percentage of registered voters who voted 64.28 per cent. Voter turnout was slightly higher than in 2009, when it was 63.02 per cent and 22,881 ballots cast.

Gordon Wilson, a former BC Liberal Party leader who eventually became a New Democrat cabinet minister, said the provincial results demonstrate a "quite remarkable campaign by Premier Christy Clark and the Liberals."

Ten days before the May 14 vote, Wilson announced he was "coming home" to the Liberals and encouraged others to join him.

In Powell River - Sunshine Coast, the Green Party vote more than doubled in 2013 compared to 2009. Wilson said the strength of the Green Party vote should not go unnoticed. He described Weaver, an internationally known climate change scientist who is a professor at the University of Victoria, as an "extremely competent individual" who is focused on relevant economic issues.

"I think the New Democrats need to give serious consideration to which party is going to sound the more clear in their opposition," he said.

A number of people have said to him that there's no way the Greens will overtake the New Democrats, Wilson said, but he asks them to consider how resoundingly the population rejected NDP policies, particularly "this notion of deficit spending and the ambivalent and somewhat confusing position with respect to pipelines."

The clearest division between those who have an environmental agenda and who want to look toward an economy that's non-fossil-fuel based rests with the Green Party, Wilson said. "What they've had up until now is a lack of clear articulation with respect to how a Green Party would govern economically. Andrew Weaver is the kind of person who has that background and he has the skill and ability to be able to make it work."

© Coast Reporter


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