NDP gains: High-profile Liberal incumbents Mary Polak, Jas Johal, Sam Sullivan lose seats
VANCOUVER -- Several high-profile BC Liberal incumbents have fallen as John Horgan's NDP secured the party's first majority government since the 1990s.
Long-serving Liberal incumbent Mary Polak has lost her seat in Langley.
According to the CTV News results team, Polak was defeated by NDP candidate Andrew Mercier, a local lawyer.
Polak was first elected in 2005, then re-elected in 2009, 2013 and 2017. She served as the official opposition house leader and sat on multiple special committees.
"We knew this was going to be a tough fight," Polak said after the result came in.
"If we look overall, there are some choices that we made and one of those choices was to co-operate with government with the Greens and the NDP throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, did that hurt us electorally? Probably. But it was still the right decision to make."
Mercier sits on the University of the Fraser Valley’s board of governors and is a member of the City of Langley’s Crime Prevention Task Group. He ran for city council in 2018 and for MLA of the Langley riding in 2013.
In the last election, Polak beat the NDP’s candidate by nearly 2,500 votes.
“As affordability issues become more prevalent with families, they’re moving out into the Fraser Valley,” Dianne Watts, former Surrey mayor and MP and member of CTV News’s election panel said Saturday night.
“And so the demographic is changing.”
The NDP's Megan Dykeman is also leading in Langley East, a BC Liberal stronghold, which previously belonged to former deputy premier Rich Coleman for 24 years. Coleman stepped aside and his replacement, Margaret Kunst, faced significant criticism this year for voting against a symbolically supportive rainbow crosswalk as a Langley Township councillor.
Liberals lose seat in Vancouver-False Creek
Liberal incumbent Sam Sullivan has lost his seat in Vancouver-False Creek to the NDP, according to the CTV News results team.
Sullivan eked out a win in 2017 with just 415 votes, but the former Vancouver mayor faced a tough opponent in the NDP's Brenda Bailey.
Bailey is an entrepreneur who launched her first business in the riding in 2004, and later started Canada's first woman-owned video game studio.
Sullivan served as the critic for social development and poverty reduction. Before he was first elected in 2013, Sullivan was 38th mayor of Vancouver from 2006 to 2009 and a Vancouver city councillor from 1993 to 2005.
Since the Vancouver False-Creek riding was formed in 2008, it has always been represented by the Liberals.
Extinction rebellion spokesperson Maayan Kreitzman ran in the riding for the Greens, while body shop owner Erik Gretland represented the Conservatives.
Liberals lose seat in Richmond-Queensborough
The prominent Liberal incumbent candidate for Richmond-Queensborough has lost his seat to NDP candidate Aman Singh, according to the CTV News results team.
Johal was first elected in 2017, when he beat Singh by just 134 votes. Johal served as the critic for economic development, competitiveness, trade and technology.
Singh, a well-known human and civil rights lawyer in the riding, has lived in B.C. since 1988.
"It is an honour to be elected as the next MLA for Richmond-Queensborough. I am so grateful to all of the people who took the time to speak with me over the last few weeks and shared with me the issues they and their families are facing," Singh said in an emailed statement after the results were announced.
"As the first turbaned Sikh to be elected to the legislature, I am proud to be joining John Horgan and the BC NDP in Victoria and look forward to getting to work for my community."
CTV News has projected a majority government win for the NDP and, as of 11:45 p.m., CTV News has also declared NDP winners in the following previously Liberal seats:
- Richmond-Steveston: Kelly Greene, a city councillor, defeated the Liberals’ Matt Pittcairn, who ran after incumbent John Yap announced he was retiring for the 2020 vote.
- Surrey-Cloverdale: Mike Starchuk beat Liberal incumbent Marvin Hunt.
- Boundary-Similkameen: Roly Russell claimed a seat from the Liberal Party. The former Liberal MLA for this district, Linda Larson, did not run in this election, and instead an Oliver city councillor ran for the Liberals, Petra Veintimilla.
- North Vancouver-Seymour: Susie Chant beat Liberal incumbent Jane Thornthwaite.
- Chilliwack: Dan Coulter beat incumbent John Martin
- Coquitlam-Burke Mountain: Fin Donnelly took Liberal incumbent Joan Iasaacs' seat.
- Parksville-Qualicum: Adam Walker beat the Liberals' Michelle Stilwell.
NDP candidate Murray Rankin also took the previously Green seat of Oak Bay-Gordon Head.
Some other ridings were still too close to call as of Saturday night.
In the 2017 election, the Liberals won 41 seats, while the Greens won three.