B.C. Liberals' stranglehold on many Lower Mainland suburbs appears to be broken

·2 min read

On a night of setbacks for the B.C. Liberals, some of the most surprising have been in the suburbs of the Lower Mainland.

From Richmond to the North Shore and far out into the Fraser Valley, Liberal candidates were projected to lose or were trailing in what were supposed to be safe seats in Saturday's election.

Never before had the NDP won Chilliwack, and at one time the prospect might have been unthinkable — but CBC is projecting that New Democrat Dan Coulter has prevailed over Liberal incumbent John Martin.

It was a similar story in Richmond, which has only elected Liberals to serve its ridings for the last 29 years.

On Saturday, just one of the city's four seats was projected in favour of the Liberals — that was in Richmond North Centre, where Teresa Wat appeared to have fought off her NDP opponent.

In the three remaining seats, the Liberals were coming up short. Jas Johal was projected to lose his seat in Richmond-Queensborough to the NDP's Aman Singh, and the Liberal candidates were trailing their opponents in Richmond South Centre and Richmond-Steveston.

The Liberals were also heading for defeat in the two long-held ridings of Langley.

Former cabinet minister and longtime Langley MLA Mary Polak was projected to lose to the NDP's Andrew Mercier, and Margaret Kunst was trailing in Langley East — the former stronghold of stalwart Liberal Rich Coleman.

It took a one-two punch from the Greens and the NDP to break the Liberals' grasp on a couple of sure things on the North Shore this time around.

The Green Party is in line to win its first ever seat on the mainland, with a projected victory in West Vancouver-Sea to Sky by Jeremy Valeriote, who appears to have snatched away yet another riding the Liberals have held since 1991.

Liberal Jane Thornthwaite was also projected to lose her seat in North Vancouver-Seymour to NDP rival Susie Chant after a campaign that saw Thornthwaite publicly apologizing for sexist comments about another North Shore New Democrat.

With those two projected losses, the Liberals appear to have held onto just one seat on the North Shore — West Vancouver-Capilano.