Judicial recount coming in B.C. seat where Liberals upset Greens by 41 votes

·3 min read

VICTORIA — A judicial recount is coming for a race in the British Columbia election after mail-in ballots put the Liberals ahead by only 41 votes in an upset to the Greens.

Elections BC says the final ballot count in West Vancouver-Sea to Sky gave Liberal incumbent Jordan Sturdy 9,216 votes, ahead of Green Jeremy Valeriote's 9,175.

Under the Election Act, a judicial recount must take place if the difference between the top two candidates is less than 1/500 of the total ballots considered at final count.

In West Vancouver-Sea to Sky, where the Green party had hoped to pick up its third seat, Elections BC says that threshold is 49.

Elections BC began counting about 660,000 mail-in and absentee ballots on Friday, 13 days after the Oct. 24 provincial election.

Sturdy's win gives the NDP 55 seats, the B.C. Liberals 28 and the Greens two, with two other ridings still undecided as the ballot counting continues into Sunday.

Green Leader Sonia Furstenau said in a statement the party will await the official recount result.

"Jeremy Valeriote is an excellent candidate and the close results in his riding show that the people of West Vancouver-Sea to Sky are hoping for a more sustainable and equitable future for their community," Furstenau said.

"Every election, more and more voters have chosen to vote Green — that is cause for celebration and we will continue to work with the community to come out strong next time.”

Final results on Saturday also confirmed the victory of NDP candidate Kelli Paddon in Chilliwack-Kent over incumbent Laurie Throness.

Throness started the campaign as a Liberal candidate but quit to run as an Independent after causing an uproar comparing free contraception programs to eugenics at an all-candidates meeting.

Paddon took the seat by 1,304 votes.

Throness said in a tweet he called Paddon to congratulate her on her win and said his time in office was "an enormous privilege."

"It has been my life's joy to serve the riding of Chilliwack-Kent for 7.5 years," the tweet says.

In Abbotsford-Mission, the New Democrats also took away what had been considered a safe Liberal seat.

The Liberal incumbent Simon Gibson had been winning in the riding when the ballot count was finished on election night two weeks ago.

However, New Democrat Pam Alexis finished with 10,364 votes to Gibson's 9,620.

Alexis, who took a leave of absence as Mission's mayor to run, thanked her volunteers and Gibson for his years of service in a statement on Twitter.

Liberal candidates have been elected in Abbotsford-Mission with more than 50 per cent of the votes since the riding was created for the 2009 election.

The counting continues in Richmond South Centre and Vernon-Monashee, the two remaining ridings that were too close to call on election night.

Elections BC spokesman Andrew Watson has said the agency hopes to complete the count in all ridings by Sunday but conceded that may not be feasible.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 7, 2020.

Amy Smart, The Canadian Press