Liberal candidate John Aldag retained a lead over incumbent Conservative Tamara Jansen in the Cloverdale-Langley City riding as the last few polls were counted Tuesday morning, with a lead of 1,150 votes.
Aldag had 19,365 votes, 38.7 per cent of the total, to 118,215, 36.4 per cent per cent of the total, for Jansen, who had held the riding since 2019. Rajesh Jayaprakash of the NDP had 9,956 votes, 19.9 per cent of the vote, while PPC candidate Ian Kennedy had 2,494 votes, or five per cent.
As of Tuesday morning, 201 of 202 polls had been counted, for more than 99.5 per cent of polls reporting. However, mail-in ballots were yet to be counted.
About 3,700 ballots were either mailed in, cast directly at the Elections Canada office in the riding, or were cast at ballots in other ridings or sent by citizens living overseas.
Shortly after 10 p.m., as his lead widened and TV stations declared him the presumptive winner, there was cheering at Aldag’s campaign party, and he was surrounded by supporters and well-wishers, many unmasked, who wanted to take selfies with the candidate.
“We never really stopped campaigning after 2019, and working with the community on any number of issues,” Aldag said at his campaign party in Surrey.
If he is declared the winner, Aldag said his first priority will be to meet local municipal councils – the riding covers parts of Surrey, Langley City, and Langley Township – as well as religious leaders, business leaders, and to create an agricultural advisory committee on issues facing farmers in suburban/rural interface areas.
Aldag said key issues for the next Parliament will include elder care, Indigenous reconciliation, the post-COVID economy, and climate change.
Katie Pearson, CEO of the Lower Fraser Valley Aboriginal Society, was at Aldag’s post-election event.
She said politicians had not spent much of the campaign discussing issues such as the recent discovery of unmarked graves of Indigenous children at former Indian residential schools.
Also there were Langley City Councillors Gayle Martin and Rudy Storteboom.
“We worked very closely with him,” Martin said of Aldag’s first term as MP, from 2015 to 2019. In contrast, she said City council hadn’t really had any communication with Jansen.
Black Press was attempting to contact Jansen for comment on the preliminary election results.
On Tuesday, she posted a message of thanks to her supporters through social media.
“While I sit and enjoy the beautiful sunshine this morning I want to send a special thanks to all those who volunteered over the past month on the campaign,” Jansen wrote. “Your commitment and dedication are beyond words. Please know that your efforts are deeply appreciated.”
Jansen’s time in office saw several controversies.
She raise the ire of some Langley City councillors last December when she referred to the City’s core as “becoming a ghost town” due to COVID-19 and said local merchants were “drowning in despair” during a speech in Parliament.
The led to some back-and-forth correspondence with the City.
Jansen was also a vocal opponent of the bill to ban so-called conversion therapy for LGBTQ youths. The bill split the Conservative caucus.
Jayaprakash’s campaign said he would not be commenting on the results on Monday night.
One wrinkle in the campaign is the lack of a Green Party candidate in the riding. Aldag recently posted some supportive quotes on his social media pages from former Green Party leader Elizabeth May – although May herself noted it was not an endorsement, or even official support for Aldag’s campaign, as she’s not backing non-Green candidates.
Mail-in ballots were not to be counted until at least Tuesday, so the final result will not be known immediately.
Cloverdale-Langley City was a new riding in 2015, created after a realignment of districts in a fast-growing area.
It was a tight race in 2019.
In that election, Conservative Tamara Jansen won with 37.7 per cent of the vote, compared to Aldag’s 35.2 per cent. NDP candidate Rae Banwarie got 18.9 per cent of the vote, Green Caelum Nutbrown took 6.4 per cent, and Ian Kennedy of the PPC got just 1.7 per cent.
In 2015, Aldag rode the wave of Justin Trudeau’s first win as PM to 45.5 per cent of the vote, defeating the late Dean Drysdale, who received 34.8 per cent. The NDP did not do as well in 2015, with Rebecca Smith taking 15.7 per cent, and the Greens under Scott Anderson received 4.1 per cent. The PPC did not yet exist.
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