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:: ElectionWatch 2006

ElectionWatch: They used to vote NDP in the B.C. interior, now it's Tory land  

[PoliticsWatch posted 1:00 p.m. November 15, 2005]

Conservative MP Stockwell Day holds one of the six solid Conservative seats in the B.C. Interior. 

As the 2006 federal election draws closer, PoliticsWatch will examine the races in all 308 ridings across the country. In the second instalment, PoliticsWatch looks at the nine ridings in the B.C. Interior.    

Interior B.C.

Seats: 9.

2004 Seat Results: Con 8 (-1); NDP 1 (+1); Lib 0

The NDP used to win seats here, but it's largely Conservative country. Six of the nine seats are solidly Conservative, including some where the Liberals haven't won since 1968. The most well known MPs from this region are former Canadian Alliance leader Stockwell Day and Conservative House leader Jay Hill. All three parties are only competitive in one riding. The Liberals haven't won a seat in this part of the country since 1974, when 8-track tapes were high-tech. Winning a seat here is comparable to the Leafs winning the Cup for the Grits. 


Conservatives 

Solid Seats: 6

Dream Seat Scenario: Con 9 (+1); NDP 0 (-1); Lib 0

The Conservatives hold off the NDP in British Columbia Southern Interior and take back Skeena - Bulkley Valley from the NDP. 

Nightmare Seat Scenario: Con 6 (-2); NDP 3 (+2); Lib (0)

A surge in NDP support allows the NDP to reclaim British Columbia Southern Interior and Nelson Riis' old riding in Kamloops.

NDP 

Solid Seats: 0

Dream Seat Scenario: See Conservative Nightmare Scenario

Nightmare Seat Scenario: See Conservative Dream Scenario. 

Liberals 

Solid Seats: 0

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

According to the Liberal party Web site, the party has only nominated one candidate so far for these nine ridings. Their best case scenario would be to pull off  an upset and win Kamloops Thompson Cariboo, a riding where they finished second in 2004. 

Nightmare Seat Scenario: Con 9 (+1); NDP 0 (-1); Lib 0

Pretty much a repeat of the last election, except the Conservatives win back a seat they lost to the NDP. 

The Big Picture: When Ed Broadbent powered the NDP to 47 seats in 1988 he did it by winning seven of the nine seats in this region. If NDP Leader Jack Layton wants his dream of 40- plus seats to come true then he needs to become competitive in more ridings in this region. He already flipped Skeena -- Bulkley Valley back to the NDP. He needs to win British Columbia Southern Interior and become competitive in Kamloops again. 

Ridings to Watch (2)

British Columbia Southern Interior

Conservative MP Jim Gouk is retiring and the riding of British Columbia Southern Interior will be a tough race between the NDP and the Conservatives. Gouk won the riding by just 680 votes in 2004 over NDP candidate Alex Atamanenko, a retired teacher. Atamanenko will be at it again for the NDP and he will square off against the Conservative nominee Derek Zeisman, who once worked in Gouk's riding and Hill office. 

The riding has historically been held by the NDP. The NDP could use a man like Herbert Herridge again. Herridge, a tree farmer, won the riding for the CCF and the NDP in eight-consecutive elections from 1945 to 1965. Since then the riding has switched hands between the NDP and conservative parties, with Gouk winning the last four elections. The Liberals have never won the riding. 

Analysis: The riding may be returning to its NDP roots. NDP has its sites on this one.

NDP MP Nathan Cullen won back a traditionally NDP riding in 2004. 

Skeena--Bulkley Valley

Young NDP MP Nathan Cullen reclaimed this traditionally NDP riding in 2004 from Conservative MP Andy Burton by a margin of just 1,272 votes. The NDP had owned this riding until Reform came on the scene in 1993. Before that, the NDP had won 11 of 12 elections between 1957 and 1993. Frank Howard won seven elections between 1957 and 1972 only to be defeated by Liberal Iona Campagnola in 1974 when the NDP suffered an electoral setback across the country. NDP MP Jim Fulton regained the seat when he defeated Campagnola in 1979 and then held it until 1993, when Reformer Mike Scott won. Coincidentally, Scott is the Conservative nominee in this riding for the upcoming election. 

Analysis: A traditional NDP riding the party needs to hold on to. 

Not a Sure Thing (1)

Kamloops Thompson Cariboo

Conservative MP Betty Hinton has won back-to-back elections, including defeating veteran NDP MP Nelson Riis in 2000. But the riding is a swing riding. Over the last 60 years, conservative parties have held the riding for 28 years, the NDP 20 years and the Liberals 11 years. In the 2004 election, Hinton won 40 per cent of the vote with a 6,000 vote margin of victory over the Liberal candidate. 

Analysis: Swing riding, but Hinton is the favourite as the riding has historically re-elected incumbents,

Solid Seats (6)

Conservative House Jay Hill should cruise to victory again in Prince George Peace River. 

Prince George Peace River

Conservative House leader Jay Hill won this riding with 59 per cent of the vote in 2004, three times what the NDP candidate had and five times the votes of his Liberal challenger. The Liberals won the riding in 1968, but since then it's been held by Conservative MP Frank Oberle (1972-1993) and Hill (1993 to present.). 

Analysis: Conservative stronghold. You have to go back to Trudeaumania in 1968 to find the last time a Liberal won the riding. 

Kelowna Lake Country

Conservative MP Werner Schmidt is retiring, but Ronald Cannan is inheriting the Conservative stronghold. Schmidt won 48 per cent of the vote in 2004, 11,000 votes ahead of his Liberal challenger. A conservative party candidate has won the riding in 10 straight elections dating back to 1972. See you in Ottawa, Mr. Cannan.

Analysis: Conservative stronghold. You have to go back to Trudeaumania in 1968 to find the last time a Liberal won the riding. 

Cariboo Prince George

Conservative MP Dick Harris looks to win his fifth-consecutive election in Cariboo Prince George. Harris won the riding by more than 8,000 votes over the NDP candidate with 46 per cent of the total vote. The riding is a Conservative stronghold, with conservative parties winning seven of the last eight elections dating back to 1979. 

Analysis: Conservative stronghold

Kootenay Columbia

With 52 per cent of the popular vote in the last election, Conservative MP Jim Abbott won his fourth-straight election in Kootenay Columbia. The NDP used to be competitive in the riding, winning it in 1980 and 1988. However, the NDP only won 23 per cent of the vote in the 2004 election. The Liberals have not won here since the riding was created in 1979. 

Analysis: Solid conservative riding

Okanagan-Coquihalla

Forty-nine per cent of this riding's residents preferred Stockwell Day over the Liberal and NDP candidates. The Conservatives have won seven of eight elections since the riding was created in 1979. The NDP was competitive in the riding up until 1993. The Liberals haven't won here.

Analysis: Solid Conservative riding

Okanagan Shuswap

Conservative MP Darrel Stinson won this riding in 2004 with 46 per cent of the vote, nearly double the total of the second place NDP candidate. Stinson is suffering from cancer and will not seek a fifth election win. The NDP won the first election in the riding in 1988, but has failed to be competitive since then. Colin Mayes will carry the Tory banner in this race. This is the only riding where the Liberals have a candidate nominated as of November 15.

Analysis: Solid conservative riding

:: PoliticsWatch Election Archive

> ElectionWatch 2006 

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