A piece of Burnaby the NDP has held since the Svend Robinson era has gone to the Grits. Terry Beech took a 3,500-vote lead Monday night as Burnaby North-Seymour was caught in the momentum that swept the Liberals to a majority government.
"I feel absolutely humbled, so much gratitude for everybody that helped make this happen," Beech said from a packed and noisy room at the Joey Burnaby restaurant on Lougheed Highway. "I'm going to roll up my sleeves and start to get to work for the people of Burnaby North-Seymour," he added. "I just want to thank all the voters in Burnaby North-Seymour for supporting me, and I just want them to know I ran on being a strong representative for our community, and I plan to keep that promise. I plan on being one of the hardest-working, most visible and accessible MPs we've had in this riding."
Beech, who held a strong lead from the start, attributed the Liberal win on NDP turf to the new riding boundaries, leader Justin Trudeau's campaign and "a lot of hard work on the ground."
When all 193 polls were accounted for, the numbers showed Beech with 18,742 votes, the NDP’s Carol Baird Ellan garnered 15,225, and Conservative Mike Little took in 14,558. Green candidate Lynne Quarmby earned 2,695 voters.
The Liberals now hold a majority nationally with 184 seats, when the minimum they needed was 170.
As for the Tories' campaign, Little said the party struggled part way through and saw numbers drop, but the Conservatives brought forward new ideas and those numbers picked up again. He also tipped his hat to the Liberals, which he said ran a strong campaign by catching the energy and putting the Tories on the defensive.
"When you are defending, you are losing," he said from Seymour’s Pub Monday evening, as the numbers started coming in. Later that evening, Little gave his concession speech and thanked those who stepped up and donated money. Little said he would call Beech to congratulate him.
"But it's a very hard day for us because both nationally and locally we've suffered a big defeat here," he said.
Baird Ellan declined a visit from the NOW, as it was late in the evening, but she did grant a phone interview.
"The voters have spoken, and I respect their decision," she said. "I have called Terry to congratulate him on a campaign well run.”
Baird said there was a fair amount of undecided voters in the riding and a strong anti-Harper sentiment, but she was unsure if strategic voting played a role in the Liberal shift.
"The other candidates in the riding were all great. They fought a really hard (campaign), and I was honoured to be in their company," she said.
"We live to fight another day," she added, but when the NOW asked if that meant she would run again, she replied, laughing: "That's like asking a woman who just gave birth if she wants to have another baby. All I can say is I've thoroughly enjoyed being in the company of all the people I worked with on this campaign, and I hope to see more of them."
-With files from the Maria Spitale-Leisk, North Shore News