The B.C. NDP flipped many Metro Vancouver and several Fraser Valley and Vancouver Island ridings, bringing fresh faces to areas that have long been held by the Liberals.
In some ridings, such as West Vancouver-Capilano and Victoria-Beacon Hill, retiring MLAs made room for newcomers within the same party.
NDP leader John Horgan will likely draw from these new names for several key cabinet appointments. They include a few, such as Fin Donnelly, Nathan Cullen and Murray Rankin, who bring star power and deep experience as former federal MPs.
Here are some details, culled mainly from their official biographies. Note that we have not included candidates who are leading in the four ridings that The Canadian Press lists as too close to call before mail-in ballots are counted.
Brenda Bailey: Vancouver-False Creek
NDP candidate Brenda Bailey defeated two-term incumbent Liberal Sam Sullivan as the NDP took nine out of 11 seats in the City of Vancouver. She is a political newcomer who entered the race with a focus on housing affordability, but also as a voice for business and technology interests. She has been part of founding several startups, including a Yaletown video game studio called Deep Fried Entertainment and Silicon Sisters Interactive, a software company that develops games for women and girls.
Susie Chant: North Vancouver-Seymour
Newcomer Susie Chant defeated three-term Liberal MLA Jane Thornthwaite, who made sexist jokes about another NDP candidate. Chant is a registered nurse with Vancouver Coastal Health and has been a member of the Royal Canadian Navy Reserves for 40 years. She and her husband have been foster parents for 12 years, giving teenage girls a safe home and helping them get back to their families. Her family runs a small business.
Dan Coulter: Chilliwack
NDPer Dan Coulter defeated incumbent Liberal John Martin. Coulter is chair of the Chilliwack school board and a trustee since 2013. He was president of CUPE Local 3787 and a millwright who was badly injured in a 1999 workplace accident. He has served on the mayor’s task force on inclusion, diversity and accessibility and is a director for the Chilliwack Restorative Justice Society.
Nathan Cullen: Stikine
NDP candidate Nathan Cullen defeated Liberal Gordon Sebastian, who is a hereditary chief, to win in Stikine, where longtime NDP MLA Doug Donaldson didn’t run again. Cullen is a former federal MP who represented Stikine-Bulkley Valley from 2004 to 2019.
He overcome election controversy when the NDP turned down a candidate seeking to run with the party’s policy where male MLAs are replaced by “equity seeking” candidates such as a woman, person of colour or member of the LGBTQ2+ community, and also when he made fun of Sebastian’s nickname.
Fin Donnelly: Coquitlam-Burke Mountain
NDPer Fin Donnelly beat Liberal incumbent Joan Isaacs for a NDP sweep of the Tri-Cities. Donnelly is one of several former members of Parliament on this list of fresh faces. He entered federal politics in 2009, representing New Westminster-Coquitlam, which was later renamed Port Moody-Coquitlam, until 2019. He was the federal NDP’s critic for fisheries, oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard. He was founding co-chair of the all-party oceans caucus and the vice-chair of the standing committee on fisheries and oceans. Before being an MP, he served as a city councillor in Coquitlam for seven years. This is his first foray into provincial politics. He is a marathon swimmer.
Kelly Greene: Richmond-Steveston
NDPer Kelly Greene defeated Liberal Matt Pitcairn, who ran after longtime Liberal MLA John Yap said he was retiring. Greene is a Richmond city councillor who won her first civic election in 2018.
Grace Lore: Victoria-Beacon Hill
NDP candidate Grace Lore kept the NDP hold on this riding which was held by longtime NDP MLA and Finance Minister Carole James, who did not seek re-election.
Lore is a lecturer at the University of Victoria who researches Canadian politics, gender and politics, and examines social media and harassment. She is a community organizer, sitting on several neighbourhood planning groups, as well as working for the Victoria Sexual Assault Centre and Affordable Fernwood. She is also a member of a national advisory panel for Canadian Women’s Foundation.
Andrew Mercier: Langley
NDP candidate Andrew Mercier defeated longtime Liberal MLA Mary Polak, who was first elected in 2005. Mercier is a lawyer. He is the executive director of the B.C. Building Trades Council and serves on the board of the University of the Fraser Valley and also Langley’s crime prevention task group.
Murray Rankin: Oak Bay-Gordon Head
NDPer Murray Rankin won in the riding held by Andrew Weaver when he was B.C. Green leader until he resigned from that position in January 2020 and became an independent. Weaver did not seek re-election.
Rankin represented Victoria as the member of Parliament from 2012 to 2019. He had been chair of Parliament’s National Security and Intelligence Review Agency. He has also served as the official Opposition critic for national revenue and pensions.
Rankin is a former lawyer and law professor at the University of Victoria. He is a recognized expert in environmental and public law who has been involved in many landmark legal cases in B.C. and the Supreme Court of Canada.
He was a director of the Western Canada Wilderness Committee and led a team of lawyers fighting to stop the Enbridge pipeline.
Roly Russell: Boundary-Similkameen
NDP candidate Roly Russell defeated Liberal contender Petra Veintimilla, after two-term Liberal MLA Linda Larsons announced her retirement in 2019. Russell is known for assisting residents and with emergency operations and securing provincial and federal help for this community in 2018 when floods devastated Grand Forks. He is chair of the local credit union and president of the Association of Kootenay Boundary Local Governments. He has a background in ecology, co-founded an agricultural society, sat on the board of the Certified Organic Association of B.C. and ran his own farm.
Aman Singh: Richmond-Queensborough
NDPer Aman Singh defeated high-profile Liberal Jas Johal, who was the party’s critic for economic development, competitiveness, trade and technology. Johal has also been talked about as a potential Liberal leadership candidate. Singh is a human rights lawyer with a focus on social justice and environmental protection. He will be the first turbaned Sikh to be an MLA in B.C.
Mike Starchuk: Surrey-Cloverdale
NDPer Mike Starchuk defeated Liberal incumbent Marvin Hunt. Starchuk is a former city councillor and firefighter. He was chief fire prevention officer with the Surrey Fire Service and a founding director of Surrey Fire Fighters Charitable Society. He received the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2013 for his work in the City of Surrey.
Karin Kirkpatrick: West Vancouver-Capilano
Karin Kirkpatrick replaces Liberal MLA Ralph Sultan, who retired. She is a political newcomer with a background in education and business. She is the CEO of non-profit Family Services of Greater Vancouver. She has previously served as CEO of the Real Estate Foundation of B.C. and the Private Career Training Institutions Agency of B.C. and was assistant dean of the Sauder School of Business at the University of B.C. She has been on the boards of the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade, Family Services of Canada, the Vancity Community Foundation, the B.C. Degree Quality Assessment and the B.C. Council for International Education. She will hold the only Liberal seat on the North Shore with two held by the NDP in North Vancouver and the other West Vancouver seat held by the Greens.
Jeremy Valeriote: West Vancouver-Sea to Sky
Green Jeremy Valeriote took this Liberal stronghold from incumbent Liberal Jordan Sturdy in a win that gives the Greens their first seat outside of Vancouver Island. Valeriote is a geological and environmental engineer. He has served as a municipal councillor in Gibsons and on the boards of several non-profits including a Whistler-based environmental organization. He is a volunteer ski patroller.