With all 88 polls in the Fraser-Nicola riding having reported, Liberal incumbent Jackie Tegart has held the riding by a margin of 706 votes over NDP candidate Harry Lali. Tegart, who defeated Lali by 618 votes in the 2013 election, finished with 6,181 votes in 2017; Lali had 5,475 votes; Green Party candidate Arthur Green had 2,336 votes; and Social Credit candidate Michael Henshall finished with 573 votes. Absentee ballots have yet to be counted.
“It’s a great result,” said Tegart, speaking in Ashcroft after her win. “It’s reflective of the hard work done by a dedicated group of volunteers. I’m just very, very honoured by the results.”
Fraser-Nicola was seen as a key riding in this election, and a crucial win for a would-be governing party. As of the time of writing, the Liberals hold 43 seats, the NDP hold 41, and the Green Party hold three. With 87 ridings in the province, a party needs 44 seats to form a majority. If these results hold, British Columbia will see its first minority government since 1953, with the Green Party holding the balance of power.
Tegart said she would watch the final numbers with great interest. “We know there are a number of close ridings. I’m not sure what that will mean, and I’ll look forward to seeing what the final numbers are, then talk to our Liberal team as to where we go from here.”
She admits, though, that the close numbers show that after 16 years of Liberal rule, voters are sending a message. “We’ve been there for 16 years, and unfortunately sometimes people vote for change for change’s sake. But there’s a message. We need to re-evaluate, take a look at that, and look at how we move forward.”
With neither party holding a majority at this time, the Green Party could be a kingmaker going forward. Asked about who she thinks the Green Party might best work with, Tegart said that Green Party leader Andrew Weaver—who won re-election—is “on the same page” as the Liberals.
“It’s about building relationships. What that relationship might look like might be critically important to the future of British Columbia. I have every faith that Christy Clark has the skills to build that relationship with whoever she needs to.
Admitting that she had felt nervous going into the evening, Tegart said she felt “fantastic” after the win. “If you ever go in [to an election] absolutely confident, I’m always concerned that maybe you shouldn’t be running.
“Every election is every vote. Every vote counts, and you need to work for it. Tonight is reflective of the work that has been done; not only over the last four years but every door we knocked on, every person we talked to. I’m just honoured to be allowed to serve for another term, and I’m excited.”