Thursday, May 11, 2017

Skeena shift could bring cabinet clout to Northwest riding

Ellis Ross borke the NDP's grip on the
Northwest on election night, taking
Skeena with a ten percent margin
at the end of the vote count
While the North Coast stayed true to John Horgan and the NDP, over to the east, the political weather vane shifted once again in the Terrace-Kitimat corridor.

And when the final numbers were delivered from the Terrace Election office, it was Liberal Ellis Ross who came out atop the final vote count in Skeena, a political victory that garnered a fair bit of attention from the political pundits on Tuesday night.

Right from the start of the various television programs dedicated towards election coverage, the pundits and announcers made the battle for Skeena one of the ridings to watch as the evening's vote count moved forward.

And to that theme of television drama the residents of Skeena delivered for the province's media panels on all the viewing options.

The nature of the back and forth vote count through the night, left some suspense in the Northwest voting patterns until about 45 minutes before the final tally was delivered and the Liberal candidate pulled ahead for good.

As those final results were posted just before 11 PM, the NDP had lost Skeena by just over a ten percent margin, with Mr. Ross receiving 6,370 votes or 53.16%, while Mr. Bidgood claimed 5,089 vote and 42.47% of Skeena's total on the night.

With no Green Party candidate running in Skeena, Land, Air and Water Party candidate Merv Ritchie provided the parking spot for those that were not inclined towards the Liberal or NDP messages, receiving 524 votes or 4.37 on the night.

Should the recounts to come in some of the closer races provide a path to the Premiership for Christy Clark, the shift to the Liberals for Skeena could prove to be an important change to the Northwest political picture, with Mr. Ross perhaps soon to become a fairly important political figure for the region.

During the course of Tuesday's political panel discussions, more than a few observations were offered up that should the Liberals retain their place as the governing party, then Mr. Ross would surely have to be considered for a cabinet position for breaking the NDP's grip on the Northwest.

That scenario could come to pass if Elections BC's delivers a Liberal friendly verdict on those still in play ridings on May 22nd,  and from that outcome Terrace could be positioned to reap some rewards for their political prognostication.

With a cabinet position comes the opportunity to deliver on a range of opportunities for a riding and the residents of Skeena will be watching those election reviews later this month with some interest, eager to see how it may impact on their political wish lists.

One area that seemed destined for a push forward regardless of the outcome of the Skeena vote was the Terrace Hospital replacement program, which both the NDP and the Liberals had attached some importance towards.

Should Mr. Ross move into a Liberal cabinet, providing of course that Ms. Clark ends up forming the government, the plan that includes the larger ambition for Terrace to be designated as a Trauma Centre will no doubt get some strong consideration.

That is something that both NDP MLA Jennifer Rice and Prince Rupert City Council members should be keeping an eye towards, in order to protect services currently in place at Prince Rupert Regional Hospital.

The issue of health care and regional shifts in priorities was a theme that never seemed to make for much in the way of discussion during the North Coast campaign, nor was it one of the topics from City Council's Prince Rupert issues quiz that was provided to the candidates prior to Tuesday's vote.

And as the MLA for the North coast prepares for her return to the Legislature, Health care issues will make for just one topic that Jennifer Rice,  as well as the members of Prince Rupert Council will have to pay attention towards for the weeks and months ahead.

One of many areas of concern that will require particular focus for the North Coast MLA, if she ends up returned to the Legislature Chamber in an opposition role.

A quick summary on some of the media notes from the Skeena vote can be reviewed below:

May 10 -- Ellis Ross elected in Skeena (video)
May 10 -- BC Election 2017: Northern wrap-up (audio)
May 9 -- Ellis ross celebrates a Liberal win in Skeena
May 9 -- Ellis Ross elected in Skeena riding
May 9 -- Skeena BC Liberal winner Ellis Ross says jobs need drove his campaign
May 9 -- BC Liberal's Skeena riding winner Ellis Ross' family serenades him
May 9 -- Skeena student vote favours NDP Bidgood
May 9 -- Liberal Ellis Ross Takes Skeena Riding (audio)

Our larger archive on the North Coast Vote is available here, while the Notes on the Provincial scene can be found from our Darcy McGee political portal.

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