Liberal Steve Thomson has been elected in Kelowna Mission, winning by more than 8,000 votes over his nearest competitor.
“I think we’ve done a lot but we have a lot more to do,” said Thomson in his acceptance speech. “I know Norm and the Premier and myself are looking forward to celebrating here tonight but then the work starts again for us right away.”
Steve Thomson and Norm Letnick celebrate both their wins, as well as Christy Clark's in the Kelowna Westside riding. #BCelxn17
Posted by Kelowna Capital News on Tuesday, May 9, 2017
Thomson garnered 13,985 votes beating second place Harwinder Sandhu of the NDP (5,102), third place Rainer Wilkins of the Greens (3,422) and fourth Conservative Chuck Hardy (1,755).
Wilkins said he thought it was a big night for the Green Party.
“I think the message of the BC Green party has really resonated with people that we don’t accept donations from corporations and unions,” said Wilkins. “BC is one of the few places that allows that and I think people are realizing that corporations don’t make donations without expecting something in return.”
The Kelowna-Mission riding encompasses the southern part of the city, south of Mission Creek, as well as south-east Kelowna and part of Rutland.
Represented by Liberals MLAs since 1996, and before that by Social Credit MLAs including two former B.C. premiers, WAC Bennett and his son Bill Bennett, the former Okanagan-West riding was renamed Kelowna-Mission in 2001.
The riding has a population of about 55,000 and includes the well-off Mission area of the city along Kelowna’s southern lakeshore and up into the hills above it, as well lower-income areas in Rutland. It also includes rural areas in Southeast Kelowna, where there is a great deal of the city’s farmland and agriculture is the main industry.
It has been represented in the B.C. Legislature by Liberal Steve Thomson for the last eight years. Thomson won with just under 57 per cent of the vote in the 2013 provincial election and with 54 per cent of the 2009 vote.
Thomson, B.C.’s forest, lands and natural resource operations minister, is being challenged by the NDP’s Harwinder Sandhu, a nurse, the B.C Green’s Rainer Wilkins, a local businessman, sommelier and vice-president of the Kelowna Arts Council and retired city worker Chuck Hardy, running for the B.C. Conservatives.
In the 2013 provincial election, the NDP candidate took 26 per cent of the vote in the riding, similar to the vote-share the party garnered in the previous 2009 provincial election. Both times the NDP candidate finished second.
The Greens did not run a candidate in the riding in 2013 but took seven per cent of the vote in 2009, placing fourth behind the B.C Conservative candidate, who took 12 per cent of the vote that year.