Third Time Lucky for…..Garrison
-Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca is the last riding across all of Canada to declare a victorious MP
By Tim Morrison, Posted 11:30 PM, Monday, May 2.
Two days prior to the election, I had predicted that today’s election in Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca would be a very, very close squeaker, but that the NDP’s Randall Garrison (the only candidate from Esquimalt on the ballot) would end up victorious (see post below). It appears that my predictions came true. Just moments ago, Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca had the honour of being the very last riding across the entire country to declare a winner.
For the earlier half of the evening, it looked like DeSouza was headed for victory with a consistent lead in the count, but as more and more results poured in, Garrison pulled ahead for the latter part of the night.
It is likely that it was our very own community of Esquimalt, where Garrison serves as a high profile municipal Councillor, that made all the difference for Garrison. While DeSouza concentrated his campaign on a McKenzie Overpass promise that meant nothing of importance to the people of Esquimalt, DeSouza may have benefited in the West Shore polls but alienated Esquimalt voters. Our small township has no commuting problems into downtown Victoria and were left feeling dissatisfied by constant talk on that topic. We wanted to hear real discussion on real issues affecting our community and our country.
Garrison’s uphill battle was made even more difficult by a surprisingly strong showing of the Green Party that captured nearly 9% of vote, well above the Green’s 3.9% national popular vote. In the end, it was the total collapse of the Liberal vote that likely put Garrison over the top as many local Liberals voted strategically for Garrison in order to defeat DeSouza. The Liberal vote share spiralled from over 34% for Dr. Keith Martin in 2008 all the way down to 10% for Lillian Szpak this time around. The voter turnout for Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca was 66.2%, well above the national average.
The final results, as reported by Elections Canada moments ago, were as follows:
NDP’s Randall Garrison: 26,198 votes (40.9%)
Conservative’s Troy DeSouza: 25,792 votes (40.3%)
Liberal’s Lillian Szpak: 6,409 votes (10.0%)
Green Party’s Shaunna Salsman: 5,351 votes (8.4%)
Independent’s Louis James Lesosky 181 votes (0.3%)
CAP’s Christopher Robert Porter: 145 votes (0.25%)
Total number of valid votes: 64,076
As of tonight, it remains unsure whether or not there will be a recount. Garrison’s victory, however, is considerably above that of Dr. Martin’s 68-vote margin in 2008. In other news, our neighbouring riding of Saanich-Gulf Islands made history tonight by electing Green Party leader Elizabeth May in a convincing victory (with nearly 50% of the vote) to become one of Vancouver Island’s newest and most famous Members of Parliament.
Editor’s Update, May 3rd, 2011: Elections Canada has now officially declared Garrison as the victorious candidate by a margin of 406 votes over DeSouza. The results have not been challenged and no recount has been deemed necessary.