The NDP celebrated a double victory in Maple Ridge on election night, with incumbents Lisa Beare and Bob D’Eith winning a second term.
Typically a place where votes are close, Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows candidate Beare had 9,779 votes while B.C. Liberal candidate Cheryl Ashlie had 6,290 with 96 out of 98 polls reporting. Maple Ridge-Mission candidate D’Eith had 7,171 votes while B.C. Liberal candidate Chelsa Meadus had 4,678 and B.C. Greens candidate Matt Trenholm had 1,608 with 100 out of 107 polls reporting.
Beare said she was “looking forward to getting back to work.”
“I think people have really appreciated John Horgan’s leadership and want us to continue that work,” she said, adding, “I ran a very positive campaign.”
Beare held onto her seat in a riding that tends to swing between the NDP and B.C. Liberals. In 2017, Beare beat incumbent B.C. Liberal Doug Bing by about 1,800 votes.
D’Eith also held onto his riding, making the NDP’s upset victory over the B.C. Liberals in 2017 look like a trend.
One of the closest races in B.C.’s last election, D’Eith won Maple Ridge-Mission by 325 votes over incumbent B.C. Liberal Marc Dalton, who went on to become the area’s federal MP. It was the first time the NDP took the seat, which had been held by the B.C. Liberals for four elections in row.
“It’s a battleground riding,” D’Eith said Saturday night. “I knew it would be close, so I actually anticipated having to wait until November.”
D’Eith credited his win to Horgan’s leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as his “plan for recovery.” He also pointed to spending on infrastructure and supportive housing in his riding.
Although Maple Ridge was part of Saturday’s orange wave, it’s typically a close race.
“It’s often one to watch,” said Hamish Telford, political science professor at the University of the Fraser Valley. “There’s a real mix of people — middle class and working class — and it’s a growing region with people moving in from Vancouver. Demographics are changing.”
Telford said early in the election campaign it looked as if Maple Ridge would be “critical” for the NDP to hold if they wanted a majority. But in the final week of the campaign, with the NDP looking poised to win, he said “it may not matter if they lose a seat in Maple Ridge. They should pick up enough other seats.”
Crime and homelessness have been key issues in Maple Ridge for some time. After several years of fighting with the municipality over a solution to a long-standing tent city, the province built a modular housing complex. But problems have persisted.
Both parties pledged to construct an addiction treatment centre.
More than 18,000 mail-in ballots were sent out in the two Maple Ridge ridings, about 9,000 a piece, but the number returned is not expected to be released for several days. Mail-in votes and other absentee ballots won’t be counted for at least 13 days.