Incumbents Crowder, Lunney retain seat

Conservatives to form majority government with NDP Opposition.

NDP MP Jean Crowder celebrates her election victory Monday night at Ladysmith’s Eagles Hall.

NDP MP Jean Crowder celebrates her election victory Monday night at Ladysmith’s Eagles Hall.

The incumbents held on to win in both the Nanaimo-Alberni and Nanaimo-Cowichan ridings in Monday’s 41st federal election Monday.

In Nanaimo-Alberni, New Democrat Zeni Maartman held an early over four-term incumbent Conservative MP James Lunney, but around 8:45 p.m. Lunney took the lead.

By 9 p.m. with 90 polls reporting, he was more than 1,000 votes ahead and pulled away steadily to retain his seat, this time as part of a Conservative majority government.

Lunney was nearly 4,000 votes ahead as of 10 p.m., with 226 of 306 polls reporting.

Liberal Renée Miller was third, while Green Myron Jespersen was fourth.

“I feel great, I am very very honoured and humbled the people of Nanaimo-Alberni trusteed us to give us a majority,” Lunney said. “Now we have a stable national government, we can get back to those things that are important to our sovereignty and our economic recovery.”

In Nanaimo-Cowichan, three-term incumbent NDP MP Jean Crowder’s fourth trip to Ottawa, this time as part of the Official Opposition, was never in doubt. She led from the very first poll results.

Conservative candidate John Koury, meanwhile,conceded defeat to Crowder at 8:45 p.m.

“I knew this would be a tight race,” he said. “We fought for a majority government and we got it — and we (Cowichan) are still part of the national fabric.”

Crowder, meanwhile, thanked the riding for sending her back to Ottawa during a victory speech at Ladysmith’s Eagles Hall.

At 10 p.m. with 225 of 308 polls reporting, she has 21,758 votes to Koury’s 17,471.

“It has been us working together collectively that has kept this riding of Nanaimo-Cowichan an NDP riding, and I want to thank you,” Crowder said.

She heads back to Ottawa as a member of the official Opposition but noted a hard road ahead: “With a Conservative majority we need to join hands like never before,” she said. “That is the only way we’re going to be able to push back against a Conservative agenda.

“This time is bittersweet. The sweetness is that finally New Democrats across this country are being recognized for their hard work … and the bitterness of course is we have a Conservative majority, and we know what that agenda looks like.  — but tonight we’re going to celebrate.”

Shortly after 8 p.m. PST, Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff conceded a Conservative victory and NDP Official Opposition.

The Green Party made history by electing party leader Elizabeth May in Saanich-Gulf Islands.