After counting the remaining mail-in and absentee ballots over the weekend, results from Elections BC show that the BC Liberals are to hold the Surrey South and Surrey-White Rock seats in the BC Legislature.
Surrey South MLA-elect Stephanie Cadieux finished with 12,970 votes (47.36 per cent) to NDP Pauline Greaves with 11,794 (43.06 per cent).
Surrey-White Rock MLA-elect Trevor Halford finished with 10,718 votes (39.51 per cent) to NDP Bryn Smith with 10,494 (38.69 per cent).
The Surrey South seat was previously held by Cadieux, while the Surrey-White Rock seat was held by BC Liberal Tracy Redies before she resigned this year.
Elections BC completed tabulating ballots for both ridings by 1:30 p.m. Sunday.
The ballots counted over the weekend were in addition to ballots cast at a polling station either during advance voting or on election day Oct. 24.
Both Halford and Cadieux said they were cautious, but optimistic, while waiting for the votes to be counted.
“It was a little uncomfortable, of course, and just different than usual,” Cadieux said Sunday (Nov. 8).
Cadieux represented the BC Liberals in the Surrey-Panorama riding in 2009, Surrey-Cloverdale riding in 2013 and Surrey South in 2017.
“I think it’s pretty unprecedented, the volume of mail-in ballots. It’s important that all of those voters had their say before we accepted any kind of result,” she said.
Cadieux expressed respect for Greaves and Surrey South Green Party candidate Tim Ibbotson.
“People put their lives on hold, essentially, to run in an election and put forward themselves for office and their views and their ideas for how to make our community and province stronger. I think it takes a great deal of courage to do it and it takes a great commitment,” Cadieux said.
Monday, Greaves offered her congratulations to Cadieux and thanked NDP volunteers – “I am very, very grateful to them” – and people who voted for her.
While she wasn’t elected this time, Greaves left open the possibility of running again in the future.
“The issues that I have are the ones that are really important to the community and I want to work with the community to address them in any way I can,” Greaves said. “We have issues around equality, we have issues around social justice, and housing, and transportation. There are massive issues.”
Halford also expressed respect for the candidates he ran against.
“I’ll single out Bryn. Bryn’s a young guy and I think he should be very proud of what he achieved in this campaign. Regardless of party politics, he’s somebody that stepped up at a very young age and that is definitely not easy to do. I think people should be proud of the effort that he put in,” Halford said.
ALL RESULTS: Provincial election results can be viewed here
Monday, Smith thanked supporters, adding that he capitalized on the hard work volunteers did not only during this most recent election, but dozens prior to it.
“Being within 224 votes, more than anyone thought was possible. It reflects that Surrey-White Rock is not the safe seat people think it is and I hope both parties are paying attention to that result,” Smith said.
Smith said that during the campaign, he spoke with people that talked as if the election was a forgone conclusion.
“Even though I won’t be an MLA after this election, I’d like other young people to see what we’ve achieved here and realize that there is a future to build on, there’s a chance when others are saying there isn’t,” Smith said.
Cadieux and Halford are to sit in opposition to an NDP-majority government.
While Cadieux noted that her new role is to be critical of the government in power and provide alternative ideas to how things should be done, she acknowledged the challenges that come with it.
“For someone like me, who likes to be an optimistic, results-driven person, it’s a difficult role to be critical. I would rather be focused on solutions than criticisms, but that is the role in the legislature as our system is set up, and I will try my best to do that,” she said.
Halford said, moving forward, his focus is on the constituents of Surrey-White Rock.
Elections BC estimated that voter turnout, across the province, has decreased by about 10 per cent compared to the 2017 general election.
Voter turnout in Surrey South was down by nearly seven-and-a-half per cent from 2017. This year roughly 52.46 per cent of registered voters cast ballots (that number could also rise slightly when spoiled ballots and late-registered voters are factored in). In 2017, 59.91 per cent of registered voters cast ballots. In 2017 there were 44,615 registered voters in the riding and in 2020 that number climbed to 52,202.
“To the electorate, I’d like to say thank you for doing their part in making their voice heard, and now we go forward,” Cadieux said.