After five weeks of campaigning, more than a few trips across the vast expanse of Skeena Bulkley Valley for most of the candidates and a few debates along the way, the voters took charge of the final day for Election 2021.
The decision from them after leaving the polling booth serving to return the NDP's Taylor Bachrach to his post in Ottawa, though the count was one which could have been very different when you add up the support for two candidates that made for a significant story on the night and a result that leaves much to give some thought about in the post election days.
While he held the lead for much of the evening, the NDP candidate and incumbent MP claimed his victory with a short social media message shortly after 11:30 on Monday evening.
The Skeena-Bulkley Valley contest was a replay of 2019 for the most part with Mr. Bachrach and Conservative candidate Claire Rattée the two top vote getters, candidates who saw less votes in this campaign, yet improved on their percentage of the vote from two years ago.
Though for the Conservative candidate the vote count and the night both ended with a snapshot of what could have been.
|2021 Skeena Bulkley Valley results |
click to enlarge
There were two spoilers on the night for the Conservative ambitions for a steal of the Skeena Bulkley Valley seat from the NDP one from the campaign of Jody Craven of the People's Party of Canada.
The returning candidate for the PPC claimed 7.9 percent of the vote, while Lakhwinder Jhaj the acclaimed Liberal candidate from the Fraser Valley also managed to gain the support of 7.8 percent of voters.
The latter vote count a puzzling one, considering the candidate spent little time in the riding, didn't really speak to many of its issues and had virtually no ground organization to get out a vote.
Still Brand loyalty is seemingly a strong thing, though the Liberals did lose close to four percent of the vote from 2019.
Something which should serve as a warning to the party to perhaps dig a little deeper into understanding the riding whenever the next vote comes along and finding someone within its actual electoral boundaries to carry the flag.
|Results for Skeena Bulkley Valley in 2015 and 2019|
click to enlarge
While the NDP won the riding on the night, the bigger story may be the rise of the People's Party in Skeena Bulkley Valley, with Mr. Craven seemingly tapping into some of the division and frustration in the region to claim his near eight percent vote count, a volume of voters that very well may have put the Conservatives over the top had the PPC not existed.
Whether that voter support will last beyond the current times of pandemic frustration and in some cases outright anger will be a current of political direction to keep an eye on.
On the other end of the vote count spectrum, Adeana Young of the Green Party saw some significant declines in this campaign, the party dropping some four percent from two years ago; a vote decline that was mirrored in many communities across the nation, that in the wake of the Green's highly public internal troubles.
The final candidate, the Christian Heritage Party's Rod Taylor did not seem to resonate much actually losing votes from what he had two years ago, some of whom may have found common ground with Mr. Craven for this campaign.
With his victory, Mr. Bachrach will return to Ottawa very much the MP of a riding with a very prominent split in how its residents view what government should be and what an MP should deliver to the constituents.
He will need to find some balance to represent divergent views and in some cases that will be a gulf impossible to bridge.
But somewhere in the middle of the very prominent left - right fracture in the riding is a place for at least a discussion on what's best for the constituency with those who chose other candidates on the night and a need to serve as an MP who will represent all of those in the riding in the House.
The overall voter turnout was 35,445 of 67,453 registered voters, which will be a vote count that is down significantly from those results of 2019 and 2015 before it.
Another warning for politicians that the need to engage Canadians with the electoral process needs some work.
Still to be released is the breakdown by polling district, which will provide us with a glimpse as to how the Prince Rupert area vote was split up as the vote came in and what the participation rate was in the city.
Those numbers will be released in the days to come by Elections Canada.
Nationally little changed over the last five weeks, the Conservatives won the largest volume of votes, but once again came up well short on seat count, a result which has returned Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to office with a reduced minority government.
The NDP gained seats and will have a bit more pull in the next House of Commons, as will the Bloc Quebecois which managed to reverse the projections of serious loses to basically holding their vote from 2019.
While making a lot of noise across the Country, at the end of the night the People's Party while clearly having an impact on the seat count for many ridings, still came up with no seats in the next House of Commons and no platform for leader Maxime Bernier who failed to win his Quebec riding.
The Green Party will return two MPs as of the count tonight, but saw their leader Annamie Paul also go down to defeat.
Some of the stats may change in the next few days as recounts and mail in ballots are counted, but those slight modifications won't change the final verdict on the night, that of returning the Prime Minister to his job, but with a stern message from the electorate that perhaps he should have left well enough alone back in August.
You can review some of the notes on the national scene from our political blog D'Arcy McGee.
As the post-mortem on the Skeena-Bulkley Valley vote comes in over the next few days you can find those notes on our 2021 Election archive page.