B.C. ridings to watch in 2015 election
B.C. will add 6 new federal ridings, with at least two being complete wild cards.
The 2015 federal election will see some exciting British Columbia races, as electoral boundary changes create new seats, and a national fight between Liberals and New Democrats ensues. Prime Minister Harper hopes to maintain his narrow majority government and near decade in power.
Due to population growth, B.C. will add six new seats to the province’s 42 in the next House of Commons make-up. The changes will see a total of 338 seats in the next Parliament.
Five of the new seats are in the Lower Mainland, and one is on Vancouver Island. Two of the new seats are expected to be complete wild cards.
Not even the bravest of pollsters will predict the new riding of Burnaby North-Seymour. That’s because half of the riding -- the north Burnaby portion -- has already long been battled fiercely between the NDP and Conservatives. Now a star Green candidate is thrown into the mix.
The NDP's Kennedy Stewart narrowly won the Burnaby Douglas riding over the Tories in 2011. The riding will now be split into Burnaby South and Burnaby North-Seymour.
The Green’s Lynne Quarmby hopes to represent the latter. The SFU scientist’s profile went up considerably as a key Kinder Morgan pipeline opponent on Burnaby Mountain.
But the riding also takes over much of North Vancouver, held in the last two elections by Conservatives. The Tories will run North Vancouver Councillor Mike Little, a politician in the area for 8 years.
Stewart is expected to run for Burnaby South -- taking over some of the currently held NDP territory from Peter Julian.
Vancouver Granville is a new riding that will slice up the middle of ridings currently held by the NDP, Conservatives and the Liberals, so it's an open guess who will carry it in 2015. The newly densifying north-south corridors of Granville, Oak and Cambie mean transit will likely be a top issue.
Parties are still concluding nomination races, but star-Aboriginal candidate Jody Wilson-Raybould hopes to represent the Liberals.
4 new seats in Conservative and NDP areas
The electoral shake-up also means two new seats will be created in Conservative strong holds in the Surrey / Langley and Abbotsford / Mission areas.
Likewise, two new seats in NDP areas -- one in New Westminster and another on the southern portion of Vancouver Island -- will be hoped for ridings for that party as well.
But like with all elections, much depends on the success of national campaigns and the performance of the leaders, especially in swing ridings.
In the 2011 election, Jack Layton’s orange crush catapulted New Democrats to historic gains, mostly in Quebec, but with a three-seat gain in B.C. Meanwhile, the Liberals’ Michael Ignatieff failed to inspire. He saw the party fall to historic lows, while slicing the Liberals’ five seats in B.C. to just two. Conservatives added one seat in the province, to a total of 21 seats for the party.
Stephen Harper maintains he will continue to lead Conservatives into the next election, which must be held by law by October 19, 2015. There is speculation a spring election could also be called, perhaps after the budget.