Incumbent NDP Bill Routley won his Cowichan Valley seat for a second term, but his party lost a stunning battle to B.C.’s Liberal party Tuesday.
“It’s not the night we’d hope for; wow,” Routley said, with wife Charmaine and granddaughter Sarah Dechamps at this side.
“This is definitely a shock for all of us.”
His numbed supporters watched results at Cowichan Bay’s Oceanfront Grand Hotel as the Liberals under Premier Christy Clark stretched their majority — 51 seats compared to a former 45, with most polls counted Tuesday — in a reversal of what most polls predicted.
Routley was humble about his win, after distancing Liberal hopeful Steve Housser by about 1,200 votes — 9,923 Routley; 8,786 Housser — with just one ballot box left to report at 11:30 p.m.
He changed his victory speech to reflect the Liberals’ win, despite a strong NDP stronghold on the island — that re-elected NDP Doug Routley in Nanaimo-North Cowichan.
Bill Routley was reluctant to admit the Liberals’ attack ads against NDP leader Adrian Dix — elected in Vancouver-Kingsway — were the deciding factor in Clark’s landslide.
“I really hate to think (the NDP) taking a positive approach would be the wrong thing to do in B.C.,” he said, pointing to the Liberals’ “American-style” negative campaign.
“This isn’t the kind of B.C. I thought I lived in.”
Routley was dismayed about the Liberals spending what he claimed was some $17 million in taxpayers’ money “to say they were creating jobs when in fact we lost 38,000 jobs in the private sector.”
“Wait and see — this won’t be a balanced budget. Kids and social programs really need help.”
So might the environment, indicated bitter NDP supporter Tom Harkins.
“Get ready for the (Enbridge) pipeline,” he said, claiming the Green Party elected its first B.C. seat — Andrew Weaver in Oak Bay-Gordon Head — by poaching NDP votes.
Cowichan Valley Green, Kerry Davis, notched about 4,662 votes.
But Routley said folks should vote for who they want in Victoria, while he expected more potentially polluting industrialization under the Liberal majority.
“The environmental standards just won’t be there.”
Cowichan Valley saw 24,813 votes of some 42,312 eligible voters.
Independent Heather Campbell earned 310 votes, while B.C. Conservative Damir Wallener landed 1,132.