It was not a victory, but there was no sign of defeat at the NDP’s election night party where Westside-Kelowna candidate Carole Gordon received round after round of applause.
With roughly half the votes of Premier Christy Clark—some 3,471 for Gordon to Clark’s 6,663—there was no doubt Clark handily won the by-election she needed to join her party as a sitting member of B.C.’s Legislative Assembly; but holding her own while facing the premier of the province in a mid-summer election was nothing to scoff at for Gordon and the 50 people gathered to celebrate her effort knew it.
“Carole Gordon stood up to a high-priced juggernaut with distinction and integrity and we are so proud of her,” said a beaming Adrian Dix, NDP leader. “Of course, we congratulate Premier Clark, but we celebrate Carole Gordon. What a candidate.”
Noting Gordon’s presence in the by-election changed politics and policy, Dix congratulated his candidate for having the tenacity to force Premier Clark to back down on pay increases to political staff and kick up attention on a potential hydro rate hike the premier’s statements deny, though her own minister supports.
“Tonight, in this election, after all that’s happened, our vote went up (in the riding),” he said.
The numbers, technically, prove otherwise.
Gordon managed a 30 per cent showing in May to Ben Stewart’s 58 per cent and she appeared to have pulled down the exact same 30 per cent result, as per Elections BC totals, to Christy Clark’s 62 per cent. Nevertheless, the candidate was clearly thrilled.
“Where I grew up, in Westbank, we won that poll tonight,” she said. “We spoke up for Westside Road and Westbank First Nation and we made a difference…
“If we had not been in this election, as some suggested we shouldn’t, would the Premier have rescinded the wage increases for political insiders? Would the Premier have attended the debates? Would people be aware of the wheelchair tax that is going to be imposed in this riding, I’m sure, after this by-election?” she asked.
Touching on schools, healthcare, education cuts and hydro rates, she went on to thank a campaign team that drew from around the province. She noted she will be working to make the lives of people in her riding better in the coming years she would have served as a politician had she won.
Gordon is a teacher at Casorso Elementary School and has volunteered extensively in the community, particularly with organizations that target child welfare and advocacy.