Bittersweet is the only way to describe the feelings of NDP MLA Norm Macdonald after being declared re-elected in Columbia River-Revelstoke last night. Macdonald himself won a third consecutive term as MLA for the riding, which stretches from Kimberley to Revelstoke, but instead of surfing a wave of NDP victories across the province, he watched in shock as the B.C. Liberals surged to retain power – a result predicted by no one.
Macdonald declared himself “profoundly disappointed” at the results of the evening, though he was grateful for his support in Columbia River-Revelstoke. Macdonald hovered around 46 per cent through the evening, with B.C. Liberal challenger Doug Clovechok mounting a spirited run with about 37 per cent of the vote. The Conservatives (Earl Olsen) and Green Party (Laurel Ralston) were almost a non-factor, both hovering below 10 per cent, effectively making the issue of vote splitting moot, at least in this riding.
“I would like to thank the voters of Kimberley and this riding for their support, and of course all my volunteers,” Macdonald said. “We ran a low cost, volunteer-based campaign and we spoke the truth. It was a respectful campaign.”
Despite the disappointment at remaining in Opposition, Macdonald says his job remains the same – to fight for the constituents of Columbia River-Revelstoke.
“My job is to fight for seniors, for the land, for the youth in our communities, and I will continue to take that fight to Victoria,” he said.
On the provincial level, he is baffled by the night’s results.
“It’s a surprise to me. I expected people would see through what the Liberals were saying. Unfortunately, the lesson learned is that to be exceedingly negative and personal will be rewarded. We passed up that opportunity both locally and provincially. It doesn’t bode well for the process going forward, or for rational, fact-based debate.”
Clovechok also had to digest bittersweet results. While he did not take the riding, his party did far better than expected and he was quick to give the credit to Christy Clark.
“I am absolutely thrilled with the results provincially,” he said. “Christy Clark is a master campaigner and obviously, the people of BC didn’t want the NDP anywhere near government.”