B.C. Liberal Leader Kevin Falcon wins legislature seat in Vancouver-Quilchena

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On Saturday April 30, 2022 B.C. Liberal leader Kevin Falcon was elected to the B.C. Legislature in the riding of Vancouver-Quilchena. (Kevin Falcon - image credit)
On Saturday April 30, 2022 B.C. Liberal leader Kevin Falcon was elected to the B.C. Legislature in the riding of Vancouver-Quilchena. (Kevin Falcon - image credit)

Voters in the riding of Vancouver-Quilchena on the city's west side chose Kevin Falcon as their new MLA on Saturday.

Falcon, who became the new leader of B.C. Liberal Party in February, defeated political science professor Jeanette Ashe, who ran for the NDP; emergency management expert Wendy Hayko who ran for the B.C. Greens; lawyer Dallas Brodie who ran for the B.C. Conservative Party, and businessperson Sandra Filosof-Schipper who ran for the Libertarian Party.

Falcon received 58.61 per cent of the popular vote. His closest competitor was Ashe, who won about 24 per cent of the vote, followed by Hayko with 10 per cent.

A total of 10,579 votes were cast in the byelection. There are approximately 35,000 registered voters in the riding, according to Elections B.C.

'Wonderful message from voters'

Falcon told a crowd of supporters at the party's headquarters in Vancouver that he has heard concerns from voters about housing and fuel prices, as well as a lack of access to family doctors.

"Tonight we got a wonderful message from voters of Vancouver-Quilchena, that said it is time for the end of empty rhetoric, it is time for a government that gets results,'' Falcon said.

Premier John Horgan congratulated Falcon and welcomed him into the legislature on Twitter.

The riding's past MLAs include former Premier Gordon Campbell and cabinet minister Colin Hansen, who both ran for the B.C. Liberals.

Wilkinson formally stepped down as MLA on Feb. 17 after Falcon, who was not a sitting MLA and had previously been involved in the private sector, was chosen as the new leader of the B.C. Liberals.

Advance voting began on April 22 while polls in Vancouver-Quilchena on Saturday opened at 8 a.m. and closed at 8 p.m. PT. Results were posted by Elections B.C. shortly after the polls closed.

It said the byelection was the first provincial byelection to use new technology, including electronic voting books and tabulators to cross voters off the voters list, and allow for results to be reported faster.

However, the winner will likely start their new job as MLA for Vancouver-Quilchena after May 9, once results are finalized and made official.

Surrey South byelection looming

After this byelection, the B.C. government is expected to call another vote for the riding of Surrey South to fill the seat left vacant by Stephanie Cadieux, who will be moving on to a position with the federal government as Canada's first chief accessibility officer.

Political scientist Hamish Telford with the University of the Fraser Valley said he expects the Surrey South byelection, which is to be called within a six-month window, to be a more exciting race than Vancouver-Quilchena, with a showdown potentially this summer or early fall.

"There are other byelections coming up which could be more competitive and perhaps pick-ups for the NDP," said Telford.

Telford said byelection contests are generally one-offs with low voter turnout, but in some cases can be indicative of a political shift.

In the last election, he explained, the B.C. NDP picked up MLA seats in more urban ridings in the Metro Vancouver area to gain a majority government — so the riding of Surrey South may be a tantalizing prospect.

He said if the B.C. Liberals hold onto their seat in the Surrey South byelection, it could help Falcon and his party gain some momentum.

"It would be too early to pronounce that the Liberals are back, but it would be a step in the right direction and something to build off," said Telford.

However, if the NDP wins in Surrey South, it's a successful upset bolstering support for Premier John Horgan's government, he said.

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