Liberals hope to hold on to Vancouver-Quilchena seat in by-election

The B.C. Liberals are hoping to hold on the Vancouver-Quilchena riding vacated by the former party leader, forging a path to Victoria for new leader Kevin Falcon.

Falcon’s campaign focused mostly on holding the NDP government to account. Many observers think he is the MLA-apparent for the riding.

Hamish Telford, an associate professor in political science at the University of the Fraser Valley pointed out the NDP is running a high-profile candidate in Jeanette Ashe. She is a professor at Douglas College, and is married to Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart.

“They don't generally recruit high-profile candidates for this riding because it's a foregone conclusion that the Liberals are going to win it. But it is one of these urban ridings which I think is trending towards a more progressive position,” he told CTV News.

Ashe’s campaign targeted Falcon’s record as a former Liberal cabinet minister under premiers Gordon Campbell and Christy Clark.

The Greens are running Wendy Hayko, an emergency management professional with more than two decades of experience.

Other candidates include the Conservatives’ Dallas Brody who is a lawyer and businessperson Sandra Filosof-Schipper is running for the Libertarian party.

The Vancouver-Quilchena seat was vacated when former Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson resigned after failing to return the party to power in the last provincial election. In this particular riding. the Liberals have roughly doubled the number of votes the NDP secured in the past three provincial elections.

There were 38,095 registered voters in the riding as of April 20th. Up until the end of April 27th, 5,174 people had gone to the advance polls. 

Thursday, Surrey South MLA and Liberal Stephanie Cadieux resigned her seat to take on the new role of Chief Accessibility Officer of Canada. That leaves a position open east of the Fraser where the NDP has made gains in the past two provincial elections. 

Telford said he wouldn’t be surprised if the NDP is using the Vancouver-Quilchena by-election as a tune up for that one.

The government has six months to send voters to the polls to fill the Surrey South seat.