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Parmar becomes Langford – Juan de Fuca MLA as landslide keeps Horgan’s seat in NDP hands

Ex-Premier's longtime seat stays with party, while BC United vote collapses

By Cameron Welch
June 25, 2023
Latest News
News
Based on facts either observed and verified firsthand by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

Parmar becomes Langford – Juan de Fuca MLA as landslide keeps Horgan’s seat in NDP hands

Ex-Premier's longtime seat stays with party, while BC United vote collapses

By Cameron Welch
Jun 25, 2023
Ravi Parmar is SD62's board chair and works for the province. Photo: raviparmar.com
Ravi Parmar is SD62's board chair and works for the province. Photo: raviparmar.com
Latest News
News
Based on facts either observed and verified firsthand by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

Parmar becomes Langford – Juan de Fuca MLA as landslide keeps Horgan’s seat in NDP hands

Ex-Premier's longtime seat stays with party, while BC United vote collapses

By Cameron Welch
June 25, 2023
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Parmar becomes Langford – Juan de Fuca MLA as landslide keeps Horgan’s seat in NDP hands
Ravi Parmar is SD62's board chair and works for the province. Photo: raviparmar.com

Preliminary results have Sooke School District chair Ravi Parmar taking the Langford – Juan de Fuca byelection with 53.4% of the vote. The NDP was expected to hold what has been a safe seat both under John Horgan, who routinely finished above 50%, and historically. 

But the rest of the results brought some surprise as BC United finished a distant fourth, with much of its typical vote share seemingly going to the BC Conservatives’ surprise second-place finish.

The Conservatives and BC Greens were bunched close together in second and third with 19.9% and 17.6% respectively. BC United, renamed this year from the BC Liberals, were well back at 8.6% and the BC Communists were fifth at 0.6%.

The election brought out 13,542 voters—about a quarter of eligible voters, and half the turnout of the most recent provincial general election in 2020. The final count will arrive on Wednesday, just one month after the byelection was called.

Meet the new MLA

Parmar became BC’s youngest school board chair in 2017 at age 22 while studying at UVic. He’s held that SD62 role since then while working for the Minister of Jobs, Economic Development, and Innovation, most recently as the chief of staff.

He has long been seen as the preferred successor for Horgan, the man Parmar worked for in 2014 as a Constituency Assistant. The former BC premier was on hand for Parmar’s election party, writing up the votes on a whiteboard and shooting a dig at United’s low total.

Parmar told The Westshore during the campaign that education was his highest priority and that the rapidly-growing Westshore needed schools and infrastructure built, and also cited a need to build affordable housing and better transit infrastructure.

He said he "gave a lot of hard thought" to whether to run for MLA in the city he's lived in since age 9. "I really loved the work that I do on the school board [...] and I want to now take the work and the learnings that I've been able to accomplish, and ensure that we're taking actions that the people of Langford want.

Shake-up among runners-up

The surprise second-place for the Cons was realtor Mike Harris, who campaigned on lower taxes, a Westshore LRT, and bringing back unvaccinated healthcare workers. The Greens’ Camille Currie, a personal trainer and marine business co-owner who had previously campaigned to get all BC residents a family doctor, continued her focus on healthcare and added calls for the province to follow through on old-growth protection recommendations. BC United’s Elena Lawson, who previously successfully campaigned against a change to BC autism policy, emphasized crime and safety

Harris’s finish is unexpected given that parties outside the main three seldom do well in the riding or its predecessors, although which three parties those are has changed over the years. Langford – Juan de Fuca and its previous incarnations have almost always gone NDP, as did predecessors Esquimalt – Port Renfrew and Cowichan – Malahat dating back to the 1970s.

The BC Liberal/United party was a more consistent contender in Malahat – Juan de Fuca in the ‘90s and 2000s, even holding office in 2001-2005 after a 42% victory. But United’s single-digit finish was just the latest drop for a party whose vote share in the riding has declined every election since then, beginning with the original 2005 loss to Horgan.

NDP retains both seats ahead of next BC election

In Saturday’s other byelection, in Vancouver - Mount Pleasant, the NDP held the seat by an even wider margin. Joan Phillip, the lands manager of the ​​Penticton Indian Band, secured 68% to United’s 14%, the Greens’ 11%, the Conservatives' 5%, and the Communists’ 2%. The seat was vacated by Melanie Mark, the first First Nations woman elected to the BC Legislature, whose resignation cited a toxic culture within that chamber and in the public eye generally.

Both new MLAs will hold their positions until the BC election slated for Oct. 2024. 

This was Langford – Juan de Fuca’s last race. The riding had become one of BC’s largest—making each vote matter less—and is now being split into two ridings.

Subscribe to The Westshore newsletter for more details this week on the byelection and other Westshore issues.

Article Author's Profile Picture
Cameron Welch
Newsletter Editor
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