How ridings in and around Vancouver could determine government on election night

·5 min read
Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, left, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, centre, and Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole all believe their parties could pick up seats in the areas in and around Vancouver on election night.  (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press - image credit)
Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, left, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, centre, and Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole all believe their parties could pick up seats in the areas in and around Vancouver on election night. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press - image credit)

It's rare that late-night vote counting in British Columbia matters in a federal election — but should it come to pass on Monday, a number of ridings in and around Vancouver could be crucial.

There are 13 ridings in Vancouver, the North Shore, Burnaby, New Westminster and the Tri-Cities, and they could comprise the most politically unpredictable part of Western Canada this election.

Safe NDP and Liberal seats

Some ridings are highly unlikely to change hands, with long-time incumbents seeking re-election.

Liberal Hedy Fry is going for a 10th consecutive victory in Vancouver Centre, which she won two years ago by more than 10,000 votes. In Vancouver Quadra, Liberal candidate Joyce Murray is running again, after winning by more than 8,000 votes the last two elections.

There are also four seats that seem quite safe for the NDP — Jenny Kwan is seeking re-election in Vancouver East after winning two years ago by more than 19,000 votes, while to the south, Don Davies is looking for a fifth term in Vancouver Kingsway, a riding he's won by at least 8,000 votes in each of the last three elections.

In New Westminster-Burnaby, Peter Julian seeks a seventh term in office, and has comfortably won his last few bids for re-election, while in Burnaby South, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh hopes to once again prevail.

With the NDP looking better in polls than they did two years ago, all are in a good position to retain their seats — and while Singh's victory was closer than the rest, it's incredibly rare for an established leader to lose in their local ridings, regardless of how well the party does nationally.

Upset potential in Liberal seats

But there are plenty of areas with more intrigue, including two cabinet ministers seeking re-election in ridings that have often switched between the Liberals and Conservatives.

Climate Change and Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson and Defence Minister Harjit Singh Sajjan are both well known in North Vancouver and Vancouver South, but the Conservatives cut heavily into their margins of victory in 2019.

Realtor Sukhbir Gill is the Conservative candidate in Vancouver South, and former health care executive Les Jickling is their candidate in North Vancouver. Both have a shot at an upset if the Conservatives have a best-case scenario on election night.

There's another riding next to North Vancouver where the Conservatives have a fair bit of optimism about picking up a seat: the sprawling electoral district of West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky Country.

It's been in Liberal hands since 2015, but prior to that it elected right-wing parties in 11 of 12 elections. Former MP and Conservative candidate John Weston hopes to unseat Liberal incumbent Patrick Weiler, but the wild card is the NDP candidate, longtime activist and journalist Avi Lewis.

He appears less likely to win than Weiler or Weston, due to a lack of historic NDP support in the area and a Liberal incumbent. But Lewis will likely get more support than the usual NDP candidate, particularly on the Sunshine Coast, making the riding harder to forecast.

3-way battles in Burnaby and the Tri-Cities

That's not the only North Shore riding hard to forecast at this point.

In Burnaby North-Seymour, Liberal candidate Terry Beech is seeking a third term in the district that's home to the Trans Mountain pipeline terminus.

That alone makes it interesting — but so does the fact that both of his victories have been close. In addition, the NDP candidate is Jim Hanson, a councillor in the North Vancouver half of the riding, where the NDP have traditionally struggled. The Conservative candidate last election was repudiated by the party, limiting her support and making it harder to predict a result for their candidate this time, small-business owner Kelsey Shein.

Two ridings to the immediate east of Burnaby are also three-way races, and were the two closest votes in the province in 2019.

In Port Moody-Coquitlam, Conservative candidate Nelly Shin is seeking re-election in a rematch against Coquitlam councillor and NDP candidate Bonita Zarrillo, who she defeated by just 153 votes last time. The Liberals also finished within 1,200 votes of Shin last time, and their candidate, Will Davis, has reason to hope for an upset.

In neighbouring Coquitlam-Port Coquitlam, Liberal MP Ron McKinnon narrowly won election in 2015 and 2019. But the NDP is running a popular Port Coquitlam city councillor in Laura Dupont, while the Conservatives believe Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce director Katerina Anastasiadis can come up the middle and win.

The Green Party is not running a candidate in either riding, after getting seven per cent of the vote last time. The question of where those votes will go looms large for political strategists.

Who replaces Wilson-Raybould?

There's only one riding in this region where the incumbent isn't seeking re-election, and it may be the one that gets most attention on election night: Vancouver Granville, where Jody Wilson-Raybould is stepping down as an independent MP.

The NDP candidate is Anjali Appadurai, a climate activist; the Conservative candidate is Kailin Che, a lawyer; and the Liberal candidate is Taleleb Noormohamed, a business executive who became the subject of national headlines when it was revealed he had flipped dozens of homes in his life, making millions in the process.

It's a riding right down the centre of Vancouver, with pockets of support for each of the parties, and could be the most interesting part of an intriguing election night across British Columbia.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting