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David Eby takes over Christy Clark's seat, credits environmental goals and local focus

David Eby energetically addressing supporters at 1 am. Photo by Chris Lane

Christy Clark won the provincial election for her Liberal party, but she didn’t win her own seat.

The NDP's David Eby, 37, defeated her in Vancouver-Point Grey by a margin of 785 votes, a wide enough margin to hold fast when the absentee ballots are counted.

Eby was surrounded by a crowd of supporters at Nuba restaurant in Kitsilano all evening - a crowd that was feeling bittersweet about the election that Clark both won and lost.

Eby said Clark’s loss of her own seat “sends a strong message that her personal policies are not popular here,” in her own riding.

“I hope she takes this message seriously,” he added.

Supporters stuck with him well past midnight

At 12:30 am, Eby's group finally left the restaurant, but everyone was still waiting for the last three advance polls to report their results. So the crowd of supporters (and journalists) packed up and trekked down the street to Eby’s campaign headquarters.

Along the way, I spoke to a 23-year-old from his campaign team, Julie Van Oyen, who told me her concerns about BC’s coast drove her to volunteer for the first time.

People don’t want their beaches covered in bitumen from oil tankers, she said.

Eby’s credits win to environmental goals and local focus

It was almost 1 am when Eby finally got to deliver his victory speech.

The Vancouver-Point Grey result is first off a “repudiation of Premier Clark’s environmental policies,” said Eby, who has spent a lot of time criticizing the prospect of increased tanker traffic in the Burrard Inlet.

“Without a doubt, the number one issue that I heard was the environment,” he said, stressing that voters in his riding are concerned about climate change.

He said the second reason for Clark’s defeat is that her constituents want “someone who lives in their riding,” to represent their interests, who “cares about local issues.”

As for the prospect of heading off to Victoria as Vancouver-Point Grey’s newest MLA?

“We’ve got to hold the Liberals’ feet to the fire in opposition,” said Eby. before the crowd began chanting his name.

Eby is a lawyer, adjunct professor with UBC's law school, and former executive director of the BC Civil Liberties Association.

His win marks the first time an NDP candidate has won this riding since 1991. Eby won by an unofficial tally of 10,162 votes to 9,377, or 47.3 per cent to 43.7.

Clark won the seat in a 2011 by-election, by a margin of only 564 votes over Eby.

A tense David Eby watching the results coming in, surrounded by supporters at Nuba restaurant. Photo by Chris Lane

If you can't get enough of David Eby today, read Linda Solomon's interview with him in 2008, when Eby was running for City Council.

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