B.C. ELECTION 2017: Okanagan support for Liberals and Greens rises, while NDP dips - InfoNews

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B.C. ELECTION 2017: Okanagan support for Liberals and Greens rises, while NDP dips

Liberal supporters gathered May 9, 2017 to cheer for Vernon-Monashee candidate Eric Foster, who increased his portion of the vote a couple percentage points over 2013.
May 10, 2017 - 1:15 PM

OKANAGAN - While support for the NDP grew in other parts of the province during yesterday’s election, the Okanagan remained staunchly Liberal.

Not only that, but most Liberal candidates across the Okanagan actually increased their percentage of the votes over 2013.

The biggest jump was in the Shuswap, where incumbent Liberal MLA Greg Kyllo amassed 57 per cent of the vote, up from 48 per cent in 2013. In the South Okanagan, Penticton Liberal candidate Dan Ashton bumped his share of the vote to 53 per cent, up from 45.8 per cent in the last election. Liberals in Kelowna-Mission, Kelowna-Lake Country and Vernon-Monashee also rose a few percentage points over the last election.

The only exception was in Christy Clark’s riding of Kelowna West. In the 2013 by-election that won her a seat, Clark got 62.66 per cent. This time around, she won her seat with 59.6 per cent.


It wasn’t enough to win them any seats, but like the Okanagan Liberals, Green candidates also took home a larger portion of the popular vote than they did four years ago in the region. Most notably perhaps was the Green wave in Vernon-Monashee, where Keli Westgate brought home 21 per cent — the largest share of votes her party has seen in that riding in the past 20 years.

In Penticton, the riding went from having no Green candidate in 2013, to seeing Connie Sahlmark bring in 18.4 per cent of the vote. Similarly in Kelowna-Mission, there was no Green candidate in 2013, but this year Rainer Wilkins claimed 14 per cent.

Support grew significantly in the Kelowna-Lake Country riding, where Green candidate Allison Shaw took 19.2 per cent, up from the previous election when her party only received seven per cent. 

In the Shuswap, Green support bounced to 15 per cent this election, up from 9.3 per cent in 2013.


In contrast, NDP candidates across the Okanagan saw numbers dip. Nowhere was worse than in Penticton, where the NDP plummeted by 12 per cent of the vote over last election. Elsewhere, percentages for NDP candidates fell anywhere from roughly three to five per cent.

One factor could be the absence of Conservative candidates across the Okanagan this year. In 2013, they generally accounted for a small, but not insignificant portion of the vote — about 10 to 12 per cent. Where those votes did, or didn’t go, would have affected other party's standings in this election.


2013: 58
2017: 58

2013: 53.5
2017: 52.8

2013: 57
2017: 54.7

2017: 49

2013: 60
2017: 61.9

2013: 47.5
2017: 52

To contact a reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston or call 250-309-5230 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2017
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