Jane Thornthwaite, the B.C. Liberal incumbent, has been re-elected in North Vancouver-Seymour.
Thornthwaite’s supporters erupted in cheers Tuesday night when TV networks covering the provincial election projected her to hold the seat, beating out the NDP’s Michael Charrois, Green Party’s Joshua Johnson and Libertarian party leader Clayton Welwood.
With all ballots counted, Thornthwaite finished with 11,705 votes (47.16 per cent). Runner-up NDP candidate Michael Charrois claimed 8,452 votes (34.05 per cent). Green Party candidate Joshua Johnson posted the highest vote count the party had ever had in the riding with 4,451 (17.93 per cent).
B.C. Libertarian party leader Clayton Welwood finished fourth with 212 votes (.85 per cent).
The seat is typically a safe one for the Liberals but the results were slow to come in Tuesday night, leading to some tense moments.
“I’m watching all of the results and I never take anything for granted. I’m always kind of worrying,” Thornthwaite said. “I feel really good but I’m still anxious about the total results,” she added, as the seat counts bobbed up and down on the television screens.
Thornthwaite attributed her re-election to her party’s low-tax platform and the reputation she’d gained through constituency work in her last two terms.
“We have a good provincial message with regard to low taxes, the job portfolio,” she said. “I think the people know we’re not going to overtax them. I think that’s the major thing, but I also got the message at the door that the people were really pleased with what I had accomplished in the riding itself and in North Vancouver in general.”
In the last year of door-knocking, Thornthwaite said she had seen a surge in support for the Green Party, thanks to the Kinder Morgan pipeline issue.
When her work as an MLA resumes, Thornthwaite said she’s keen to see work move ahead on the Highway 1 interchange updates between the Cut and the Ironworkers Memorial Second Narrows Crossing bridgehead – a major campaign issue.
“My No. 1 goal in this riding is to get that highway fixed and it will be fixed if I’m re-elected,” she said.
She also plans to see her previous bill banning puppy mills through to implementation and see Victoria do more for youth mental health and addictions, and develop a “film tourism” strategy.
For those who weren’t among her supporters in the election, Thornthwaite had another message:
“I will represent them; that I always do. I have lots of people in my office that didn’t vote for me but I still represent them,” she said.
Thornthwaite also offered thanks to Nick Hosseinzadeh, her constituency assistant and campaign manager. “He did a great job. I’m really hoping he’s going to shave off the beard,” she said.
Johnson – a first time candidate and voter – doubled the party’s share of the popular vote from 2013. He attributed the strong showing to widespread disillusionment with the Liberals and NDP. “People were not happy with either of the two parties,” he said.
The 19-year-old candidate rejected claims the Green Party helped the Liberals by taking votes from the NDP.
“If they can’t inspire their voters then that’s not really the Green Party’s fault,” he said.
Johnson also noted that it appears support for the Greens is coming from both parties, as well as non-voters.
“It was not based on advertising. It was based on going out, knocking on doors, and just talking to as many people as possible,” he said.
With two-thirds of the votes counted, Johnson was still hoping the Greens could play kingmaker in a minority government.
“I think having a minority government in B.C. would be absolutely fantastic for democracy,” he said.
Johnson highlighted affordability in his campaign.
“People growing up in North Vancouver will never be able to live in North Vancouver,” he said.
With about 34 per cent of the votes, frequent NDP candidate Michael Charrois suggested the Green Party “might end up being spoilers.”
Asked how the NDP could prevent the split in the future, Charrois suggested it wasn’t really up to the party.
“We set up our agenda … and then I guess it’s a battleground of ideas.”
Thornthwaite has represented the riding since 2009, easily edging out NDP candidate and future District of North Vancouver Coun. Jim Hanson in 2013.
However, her margin of victory dropped eight per cent between 2013 and 2017 elections, from 59 to 51 per cent of the popular vote.
The B.C. Liberals have held the riding since 1991.
Final voting results will not be available until after the conclusion of final count, which will commence on May 22.
– with files from Jeremy Shepherd