Doug Routley of the NDP has been re-elected as MLA in Nanaimo-North Cowichan, keeping the seat for the party.
Routley, who’s been the riding’s MLA since 2005, earned 7,856 out of 16,638 counted votes (47.2 per cent) with 94 of 94 polls reporting.
“We feel very grateful — all of us. Now we feel like the job has just begun. The hard work starts with rebuilding from this pandemic and getting people through it,” Routley said.
The top priority for the NDP as they head back to legislature is working to strengthen the economy to recover from the impacts of COVID-19.
Aside from COVID, Routley said he is looking to tackle housing issues in Nanaimo-North Cowichan, and expand access to child care spaces.
“I want to fulfill our promise to enshrine child care the way health care is enshrined.”
Routley also wants to see a ‘more sustainable’ economy on Vancouver Island, which includes improvements to the forest industry, and partnerships with First Nations.
When asked what to expect from the new NDP majority government, Routley said British Columbians can expect more of the same.
“We’re going to have to double down on the investments we’re making in child care, education, post-secondary training, and retraining people. We know that if we focus on job creation, and we focus through the lens of climate change and reconciliation, there are a lot of opportunities.”
Routley said that the NDP will use the challenges presented by COVID-19 to respond to ‘inequities’ across the province.
“Wherever people are vulnerable, those are areas we need to adddress.”
Chris Istace of the B.C. Green Party received 5,228 votes (31.4 per cent), and 3,554 votes (21.4 per cent) for Duck Paterson of the B.C. Liberal Party.
Paterson extended his congratulations to his opponents.
“I respect both of them very much for letting their names stand, and I congratulate Doug for another go round at it.”
Paterson said that he wants to see a plan from the NDP to strengthen the economy, and a plan for the province to overcome deficits imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
As of Oct. 23, 9,956 vote-by-mail packages had been issued to registered voters in the riding. There are a total of 40,266 registered voters in Nanaimo-North Cowichan.
Election night results show the NDP had won or were leading in 55 of 87 ridings, marking the first B.C. NDP majority in 24 years. The Liberals had won or were leading in 29, and the Greens had won or were leading in three ridings.
Provincewide, 724,279 mail-in ballots had been sent out, and there are 3,485,858 registered voters. Once mail-in ballots are counted, it may shift the election results.
Mail-in ballots will be counted by hand, starting in 13 days.