Housing, climate change, long a preoccupation for B.C., take centre stage in national vote

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The electoral map of British Columbia was split almost evenly into thirds on election night as the Liberals and the NDP picked up seats at the expense of the Conservatives and the Greens were almost certain to lose one of their two.

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Thirteen Conservatives would return to the House of Commons, while the NDP and Liberals each won 12 seats. Former Green Party leader Elizabeth May won her seat, but the party’s second seat in Nanaimo-Ladysmith, one of four rides too close to the call between the Liberals and the NDP. The results of those ridings will depend on thousands of mail-in ballots whose counting begins Tuesday.

“The results appear to be quite congruent with the elections,” said Max Cameron, a political scientist at the University of British Columbia.

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“Why would we expect the outcome to be different than it was 18 months ago? What has changed of the outcome? There has been no collapse of support for the government nor a massive boost.”

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The other three ridings with a winner yet to be determined were Vancouver–Granville, Richmond Center and West Vancouver–Sunshine Coast.

In Vancouver-Granville, once hosted by retired independent Jody Wilson-Raybould, Liberal candidate Taleb Noormohammed and NDP candidate Anjali Appadurai were up in arms and throats until 11 p.m.

Stewart Prest, a lecturer in political science at Simon Fraser University, said one might think the ride was an easier one for liberals, given the election of Ms Wilson-Raybould under the Liberal banner in 2015 before sitting as an independent in 2019. There will be pickup.

But Mr. Noormohammed was criticized by his rivals when it was revealed he had flipped dozens of houses over the years, pocketing millions of dollars, despite the Liberal platform’s promise to target speculators.

“And, we don’t quite know why the people who voted for Ms. Wilson-Raybold last time were doing this,” Mr. Perst said. “Was it that they liked his approach to politics in the same way as liberals, but not liberals? Or was it a denial of the Liberal Party? If [the latter], Would those voters who are no longer running Ms. Wilson-Raybould be willing to go back?”

John Bondoc voted for the NDP in Vancouver-Granville, where he grew up with parents who had supported the Conservatives for decades, emigrating from the Philippines.

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The 46-year-old, a software designer specializing in user experience, said Canada’s growing inequality is linked to its intolerable housing problems and the climate change crisis. Mr Bondok, speaking outside the polling station on Monday afternoon, said his local Liberal candidate’s previous business had put him off.

“Turn three houses in five years? OK, great, great, good for you, you got it. Twenty? It’s just a storm of money floating around and someone got hurt somewhere down the line – that’s what works,” he said.

The Conservatives lost one ride to the New Democrats in Port Moody and another two to the Liberals, one in Richmond and one at Langley.

In Nanaimo-Ladysmith, Green candidate Paul Manley was trailing late Monday night over NDP’s Lisa Marie Barone and Conservative candidate Tamara Cronis. Mr Manley is a prominent presence in the ride, but the Greens faced several setbacks, including infighting and the Liberal Party’s support of former BC Green leader Andrew Weaver, which he said was “put forward by any political The only credible science-aligned climate plan to date was the party at the federal level.

Mr Cameron said the election could be remembered as a lost opportunity for the Greens in a year during which climate and environmental issues were undoubtedly top of many people’s minds. The province had experienced another “hellish” season of wildfires, a heat dome that killed hundreds of people, and the largest act of defiance in Canadian history, from 1,040 during a protest over old-growth logging in Fairy Creek. More people were arrested.

“It was a real opportunity for the Greens to make a profit, but they were deprived in many ways, including some self-harm,” Cameron said.

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In the Richmond center, Liberal candidate Wilson Miao was two percentage points ahead of the Conservative Party’s Alice Wong late on Monday. Ms Wong first won the ride in 2008, when it was Richmond-South Delta, and has been reelected three times. If Mr. Miao, who worked in corporate marketing and real estate before moving into media communications, didn’t give him a seat, it would be considered one of the biggest ups and downs of the night.

Young voters in Canada, aged between 18 and 34, cite Angus Reid as one of their top concerns about affordable housing. All three parties have embraced the country’s housing crisis with promises to meet the growing demand for affordable places to live, as well as measures to ensure new housing – whether rented or owned – is built. If the new government lives up to its promises, it would represent the federal government’s most aggressive involvement in housing in decades.

“I like the Fed coming back to housing. All three parties are interested in housing. The Feds seem to be running the campaign we did back in 2017 in B.C.,” said B.C. Housing Minister David Abbey.

However, all parties were unclear about how they would meet these goals, given the significant constraints, notably a quagmire at the municipal level, in obtaining zoning and expeditious permission. Results from the Liberals’ efforts to deliver on their housing promises from 2019 show that 64,000 new homes should have been built after four years of that government’s housing strategy. Available figures suggest only about half were actually built.

During Mr Trudeau’s visits to B.C., which included stops in Vancouver, Sanich, Surrey and Steveston, the Liberal leader promised investments in wildfire firefighting resources and long-term care homes.

Erin O’Toole held a rally in Nanaimo on Vancouver Island and toured the Vancouver area. His campaign faced one of its biggest controversies when Mr O’Toole was in the province when he was forced to withdraw a platform promise to repeal some arms embargoes.

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NDP leader Jagmeet Singh, who was re-elected in his Burnaby-South riding, stopped more campaigns in BC than any other leader.

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