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:: ElectionWatch 2006

ElectionWatch: Vancouver is the Pacific Gateway to power for parties 

[PoliticsWatch posted 12:00 p.m. November 11, 2005]

Former NDP MP Svend Robinson and Liberal MP Hedy Fry embrace in this picture taken two years ago, but now they could square off in one of the most interesting races of the coming election campaign. 

As the 2006 federal election draws closer, PoliticsWatch will examine the races in all 308 ridings across the country. In the first instalment, PoliticsWatch looks at the 11 ridings in the Vancouver area.    

Vancouver and the Northern Lower Mainland

Seats: 11.

2004 Seat Results: Lib 5 (+1); Con 3 (-1); NDP 3 (+1)

The most volatile region of the most politically volatile province is the area that includes the city of Vancouver. Only two of the 11 seats can be considered safe. The region is made up of the seats of some of the most high-profile MPs in Ottawa, including Health Minister Ujjal Dosanjh, Conservative MP John Reynolds and NDP House leader Libby Davies. And if that wasn't enough, former NDP MP Svend Robinson is a seeking the NDP nomination here as well. All three major federal parties are competitive in seven of the 11 ridings.

Liberals

Solid Seats: 1

Dream Seat Scenario: Lib 10 (+5); NDP 1 (-2); Con 0 (-3)

The Liberals win 10 of the 11 seats in Vancouver, with the NDP keeping only Vancouver East. Cabinet ministers Ujjal Dosanjh, David Emerson and Stephen Owen keep their seats, Hedy Fry holds back Svend Robinson in Vancouver Centre and Don Bell keeps his historically conservative seat. Returning candidates Bill Cunningham and Blair Wilson continue to make gains for the Liberals and pick up NDP and Conservative seats. NDP voters concerned about the Conservatives gaining power push the Liberals ahead in three-way races in ridings held by Conservative MPs Paul Forseth and James Moore, and NDP MP Peter Julian.

Nightmare Seat Scenario: NDP 5 (+2); Con 5 (+2); Lib 1(-4)

The NDP undergoes a renaissance with former MPs Svend Robinson and Ian Waddell defeating Hedy Fry and David Emersron. A Conservative upsets Ujjal Dosanjh in Vancouver South and a Conservative candidate wins back Ted White's riding held by Don Bell. Stephen Owen is the only Liberal left standing. 

Conservatives

Solid Seats: 0

Dream Seat Scenario: Con 7 (+3); Lib 2 (-3); NDP 2 (-1)

The Conservatives hold their three seats in Vancouver. A large number of angry former Liberal voters switch over to the Conservatives to eject the Liberals in Vancouver Centre and Vancouver South. Vote splitting between the NDP and Liberals allow a Conservative to slip up the middle in Burnaby New Westminster. And candidate Cindy Silver easily takes back Ted White's former riding from the Liberals.

Nightmare Seat Scenario: Lib 7(+2); NDP 4 (+1); Con 0 (-3)

After a bad national campaign, the Conservatives are wiped off the map in Vancouver, with the Liberals winning James Moore's seat, John Reynolds' former seat and NDP candidate Dawn Black defeating Paul Forseth.

NDP

Solid Seats: 1

Dream Seat Scenario: NDP 7 (+4); Lib 3 (-2); Con 1 (-2)

A strong campaign by NDP Leader Jack Layton allows former NDP MPs Svend Robinson, Ian Waddell and Dawn Black make successful comebacks to the House of Commons defeating Fry, Emerson and Forseth respectively. And Conservative MP James Moore is defeated by an NDP candidate.

Nightmare Seat Scenario: Lib 7(+2); Con 3; NDP 1 (-2)

A strong Liberal campaign nationally focusing on strategic voting helps Bill Cunningham to edge out Bill Siksay in Burnaby-Douglas and Peter Julian to lose a three-way battle. Libby Davies is the only NDP MP from Vancouver left standing.

The Big Picture: When Brian Mulroney won his two majorities he also won Vancouver Centre and Vancouver South, ridings currently held by Liberals Hedy Fry and Ujjal Dosanjh. If a large number of Liberal voters in those two ridings vote Conservative to turf the Liberals, as they did in the 1980s, then that is a good sign for Conservative Leader Stephen Harper. But the Conservatives losing two or three of its seats in Vancouver looks more likely than winning in those two ridings, as the NDP is stronger in Vancouver Centre and Vancouver South than they were 20 years ago, especially with Svend Robinson running in Vancouver Centre this time around.

Ridings to Watch (7)

Vancouver Centre


Liberal MP Hedy Fry could be squaring off against former NDP MP Svend Robinson who is seeking the NDP nomination in Vancouver Centre in a campaign that will attract national media attention. Fry finished 4,000 votes ahead of the NDP and 11,000 votes ahead of the Conservatives in 2004. The high-profile Robinson left politics last year after he was caught stealing an expensive ring from an auction house. Robinson has made a return with the a new slogan "Back ... Stronger than Ever." But he will be running against history. With the exception of a by-election the CCF won in 1948, Vancouver Centre has been won by only Liberals and Conservatives since 1914. It's about as close as you can get to a bellwether riding with the Conservatives and Liberals usually winning the riding when they win federal elections. Vancouver lawyer Tony Fogarassy will be running for the Conservatives in the upcoming election. The riding has been held by a female MP since 1980, when Tory  Pat Carney was elected. She was later replaced in 1988 by former prime minister Kim Campbell who was defeated by Fry in 1993. 

Analysis: Bellwether seat and with Robinson in the mix anything could happen.

Burnaby -- New Westminster

NDP MP Peter Julian was the winner in the newly created riding of Burnaby -- New Westminster by less than 500 votes in a tight three-way race. 

Analysis: New seat that is up for grabs for any of the three parties.  

New Westminster-Coquitlam

Two of the three Conservative ridings in the region are up for grabs in this election. In New Westminster-Coquitlam, veteran Conservative MP Paul Forseth defeated the NDP candidate Steve McClurg by 113 votes in a tight three-way race. Forseth has won the riding in four consecutive elections beginning in 1993. Before that, the riding had been an NDP stronghold, won by NDP MPs Pauline Jewett in 1979, 1980 and 1984 and Dawn Black in 1988. The riding is literally up for grabs for any of the three parties in this election, and Black is making a comeback as the NDP candidate.

Analysis: A perpetual opposition riding: Any one of the three parties could win this seat.  

Industry Minister David Emerson. 

Vancouver Kingsway

The most high-profile MP who could lose his seat is Industry Minister David Emerson. Emerson won the Vancouver Kingsway riding over former NDP MP Ian Waddell by just over 1,300 votes or three per cent of the total votes. A slight NDP increase or slight Liberal drop in the polls would flip the riding over to the NDP. The Vancouver Kingsway riding was created in 1996 and won by Liberal MP Sophia Leung in the 1997 and 2000 elections. 

Analysis: Liberal seat that could be a pick up for the NDP. 

North Vancouver

You may not have heard of  Liberal MP Don Bell, but he did something a future Liberal senator and Liberal strategist Warren Kinsella couldn't do. In the 2004 election campaign, Bell defeated Conservative MP Ted White in the riding of North Vancouver in a close two-way race with 40 per cent of the vote compared to 36 per cent for White. The victory was a breakthrough for the Liberals in the riding that conservative parties had won in seven elections dating back to 1979. White had won the riding representing Reform in 1993 by defeating now Liberal Senator Mobina Jaffer by 5,000 votes. He widened his margin to 9,000 votes in 1997 when he squared off against Kinsella. The Tories have Vancouver lawyer Cindy Silver running against Bell in this election. 

Analysis: Traditionally conservative seat the Conservatives need back if they want to form government.  

Burnaby - Douglas

Like the Conservatives, the NDP also have three seats in the region, with two of them are up for grabs. NDP MP Bill Siksay staved off a challenge by Liberal organizer Bill Cunningham and held onto Robinson's old seat in Burnaby -  Douglas, but the margin of victory was less than 1,000 votes. 
The two will meet again in the next election. And don't count out the Conservatives who finished just 3,000 votes behind the NDP. Historically, the seat has been NDP, with Robinson winning seven-consecutive elections dating back to 1979. 

Analysis: Traditionally NDP seat the Liberals could pick up.  

West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast -- Sea to Sky Country 

Things will be interesting in the riding with one of the best names in the country, as Conservative MP John Reynolds will not be running. Reynolds held onto the riding on election night by less than 2,000 votes over Liberal candidate Blair Wilson. In May, Wilson was acclaimed for the Liberal nomination for the next election. A conservative candidate has won eight consecutive elections in the riding dating back to 1974, with the Liberals usually in second place. But the trend is looking good for the Liberals. Despite the sponsorship scandal and the merger of the two conservative parties, Reynolds margin of victory in 2004 was 7,000 votes less than it was in 2000.  

Analysis: Traditionally Conservative seat the Liberals could pick up.  

Conservative MP James Moore. 

Not a Sure Thing (2)

Conservative MP James Moore and Health Minister Ujjal Dosanjh won their ridings by comfortable margins in the last election, but major polling swings could put their ridings at risk.

Port Moody -- Westwood -- Port Coquitlam

Moore won the riding of Port Moody -- Westwood -- Port Coquitlam with 18,000 votes in the last election, but the NDP and Liberal candidates in his riding both had over 12,000 votes each.  Conservative insiders say the young Moore is concerned about losing his seat. With 24,000 voters in his riding voting Liberal and NDP, Moore has been positioning himself as a moderate in the Conservative Party and was one of the few Tory MPs to vote in favour of the Liberals' same-sex marriage legislation. Since 1988 the riding has been won by conservative candidates three times with the Liberals and NDP winning it once each.

Analysis: Easy swing seat.  

Vancouver South

Dosanjh won the riding held by former Liberal cabinet minister Herb Dhaliwal with 18,000 votes, but the candidates from the Tories and the NDP both garnered over 10,000 votes. The good news for Dosanjh is the riding seems to love its incumbents. Dhailwal won the riding in three elections dating back to 1993. Before that the riding was held by former Conservative House speaker John Fraser, who won the riding in six elections from 1972 to 1988. And before Fraser, Liberal Arthur Laing won the riding in four elections from 1962 to 1968. Essentially, three men represented Vancouver South over a 42-year period. Since its creation in 1917, the riding has never elected an NDP or CCF MP.

Analysis: Liberal and Tory incumbents tend to hold this seat.  

NDP MP Libby Davies' constituents have voted NDP or CCF in 17 of 19 federal elections since 1933. 

Solid Seats (2)

Only two of the 11 seats in the region can be considered safe for the MPs who inhabit them. 

Vancouver East

NDP House leader Libby Davies won the Vancouver East riding in 2004 with 56 per cent of the votes in her riding. Since it was created in 1933, Vancouver East has been won by either an NDP or CCF candidate in 17 of 19 federal elections. The Liberals won the riding in 1993 and in 1974 the year the NDP suffered a major electoral set back after ending its cooperation with Pierre Trudeau's minority government. 

Analysis: Solid NDP seat.  

Vancouver Quadra

Liberal MP Stephen Owen won the Vancouver Quadra riding with 52 per cent of the vote and the largest margin of victory for any Liberal west of Ontario. Owen's riding was once held by former prime minister John Turner and has been won by the Liberals over six-consecutive elections dating back to 1984.  

Analysis: Solid Liberal seat.  

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