B.C. could be pivotal election battleground
It's official: Canadians are heading to the polls this May – and British Columbia could play a pivotal role in determining whether Stephen Harper will get his much-desired majority government.
"Ridings in B.C. could put [Harper] half the distance to the goal line," said Richard Johnston, a University of British Columbia political scientist. "We're going to be seeing a lot of electioneering in the Lower Mainland, no question about it."
That's because almost a third of the province's 36 ridings were won by a very narrow margin in the last federal election.
Liberal candidate Ujjal Dosanjh was MP for Vancouver South until the Harper government toppled on Friday. He knows all about tight races; last election he squeaked in by a fretful 20 votes over his Conservative rival.
Now he says he's reaching out to his constituents more than ever before. "I'm going to try to re-earn the trust of every single voter I lost in the last election, and I think Liberals right across the country will be trying to do the same thing," he said.
Dosanjh is hopeful for a better showing on May 2nd, because he says citizens in his riding are telling him change in Ottawa is long overdue.
"Mr. Harper is a good campaigner, you've got to give it to him," he said. "But I think you can only fool Canadians once."
Conservative James Moore will be running again in Port Moody-Westwood-Port Coquitlam. He's confident his constituents, and many more voters across B.C., will return Harper's government to power.
He says a coalition between the Liberals, NDP, and Bloc Quebecois won't serve Canadians well.
"I think the Bloc Quebecois is bad for Canada, I think the NDP is bad for the economy and I think the Liberals are bad for democracy," he said.
Don Davies, the former NPD MP and current candidate for Vancouver-Kingsway, had a close race last time, too – but says it's his party that will come out on top this year.
"I think we're going to elect more New Democrats than we have in history," he said. "It is going to be a hard-fought race."
Given the narrow victories last time around, and the already-contentious campaign season that's just warming up, a tough race is all but certain.
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Peter Grainger