Gulf Islands residents once again helped make history by electing a progressive candidate to their riding, with Adam Olsen becoming the first member of the provincial Green party to win Saanich North and the Islands on May 9.
At this time after the 2013 election, Saanich North and the Islands candidates and constituents endured a nail-biting two weeks while a recount took place to determine who had actually won. This time there is no question, but like the rest of the province, Olsen will spend the next 10 days or so waiting to to see what the final tally of votes will mean for the province of British Columbia.
“A lot is riding on the results of a couple of ridings, maybe two or three,” Olsen observed during a phone interview on Thursday. “For me now it’s about settling my life, and celebrating — because we did have a very strong result.”
In a marked contrast to 2013’s three-way race with the NDP’s elected candidate Gary Holman and close second-place finisher Stephen Roberts of the BC Liberals, the May 9 vote saw a decided victory for Olsen. He came out nearly 3,700 votes ahead of Holman this time.
Absentee votes are to be counted May 22 to 24, but current results give Olsen 13,425 votes (41.8 per cent), putting Holman in second with 9,761 (30.3 per cent) and Roberts third with 8,654 (26.86 per cent). Independent candidate Jordan Templeman received 333 votes (1.03 per cent).
Province-wide on May 9, the Liberals won 43 seats, the NDP 41 and the Greens three seats. Forty-four seats is the level needed for a majority government. If the Liberals do not get the 44th seat, the Greens will hold the balance of power in the legislature.
Olsen will join incumbent Oak Bay-Gordon Head MLA and Green party leader Andrew Weaver in the legislature. The third Green MLA will be Sonja Furstenau, representing the Cowichan Valley riding.
The Saanich and the Islands area is also represented federally by Green MP Elizabeth May.