Cariboo Chilcotin Liberal Donna Barnett was re-elected May 14

Cariboo Chilcotin Liberal Donna Barnett was re-elected May 14

Liberals ride ‘nail-biter’ night to a big win

Liberal candidates Donna Barnett, Cariboo-Chilcotin, and Coralee Oakes, Cariboo North are excited to have won their ridings.

Both Liberal candidates Donna Barnett, Cariboo-Chilcotin, and Coralee Oakes, Cariboo North are excited to have won their ridings after what they said was a “nail-biter” election night.

By the end of Tuesday evening preliminary results showed Barnett had received 56.44 per cent of the vote and Oakes received 41.26 per cent.

Speaking from her campaign headquarters in 100 Mile House late Tuesday evening, Barnett said she and her supporters had had a great evening.

“We’re very pleased. It’s a very good mandate for myself and a very good mandate for government.”

Throughout the campaign Barnett said she felt good, but “not” confident.

“I’ve been in many, many elections in my life and I never ever take anything for granted in an election. As you start to think you’re way ahead of the game, you get yourself in trouble, so every day you work as hard as you can.”

Barnett said she’s pleased she has Oakes on one side and Liberal Jackie Tegart on the other side in Fraser Nicola.

“I’ve got Liberals on either side of me,” she added.

Speaking from Quesnel Tuesday evening, Oakes said she was thrilled how it looks for people in the north.

“Several years ago we talked about the ‘northern decade.’ This is just one more piece in what that northern decade will look like.”

Oakes enjoyed the entire campaign, something she had not expected, she said.

“We had such an amazing campaign team. Every single day we had fun and I’m so thankful. I expressed my thanks to both Duncan Barnett and Bob Simpson for running such a solid campaign and respectful campaign. It made it enjoyable for us and for the voters as well.”

Oakes said she felt the numbers were really close throughout the evening.

“It was back and forth all night, but the premier worked so incredibly hard and it certainly helped us become successful,” Oakes said, adding her thanks to the voters.

At his campaign headquarters at the Cariboo Arts Centre in Williams Lake, Cariboo-Chilcotin NDP candidate Charlie Wyse congratulated Donna Barnett on winning and recognized Green Party candidate Dustin Price and Independent Gary Young for the campaign and their efforts to work on behalf of the people in the Cariboo-Chilcotin.

“The electorate are always right,” Wyse told his supporters. “Sure we are disappointed across the province, but that having been said, I want to recognize all of your efforts for working hard to make a case for us.”

Wyse said he and his wife, Sheila, will now spend some time travelling.

Speaking from Quesnel, Cariboo North Independent candidate Bob Simpson said he felt the early survey polls had not given any meaningful information.

“I feel that B.C. is a very, very strange place because it comes down to each of the ridings. I told my staff earlier it could be anywhere from an NDP sweep, to a minority government with a balance of power held by some folks, to a Liberal sweep and everything in between, just because it’s riding by riding.”

Simpson said he respected that Cariboo North voters had picked a Liberal MLA in a Liberal majority government.

“Now Coralee is going to have the challenge, just like the premier, of delivering on the promises of getting things done,” Simpson said.

“I’ve committed to Coralee that I’m willing to mentor her in the transition, if she wants, but I think she’s going to get a quick education on how political parties really work and how difficult it is to be a brand new MLA in a significant majority governing party.”

From his home Wednesday morning, Cariboo North NDP candidate Duncan Barnett congratulated Oakes on her win, saying she ran a good campaign.

He was surprised by the end results, but said his campaign team had fun, worked hard, and learned a lot.

“We just didn’t win. I guess people voted for more of the same, rather than change for the better. I have no further analysis than the fact that we didn’t get enough votes.”

Thanking people who took the time to vote, his campaign team and volunteers, Duncan said everyone worked hard.

Cariboo-Chilcotin Green Party candidate Dustin Price said he was surprised and a “little” disappointed to see a Liberal majority.

“I want to thank the Green Party for accepting me as a candidate and I want to thank the other candidates in this riding for making me feel welcome as a new comer,” Price said Wednesday by email. “Congrats to Donna. I will look forward to seeing her work at making our riding better for future generations.”

As one of the younger candidates running, Price said he hoped he’d inspired younger voters to get out and get involved.

“The future is ours and we need to take an active interest in it.”

Speaking from his home in Lac La Hache, Independent Gary Young said the results proved the point that lies, fear, smears and paid-for government will get people elected.

“I do fear for seniors, for single parents, for families, for teachers, and very much for the environment. In four years when our debt has grown to double our revenues, maybe at some point people will wake up.”

Right now, Young suggested, most of the populous is sleeping and wants to hear that everything’s going to be OK.

“I think that it’s unfortunate that so much of the population didn’t vote.”

He said the people who voted for him wanted real change, whereas the rest of the voters voted for a party again.

“The next four years are going to prove to be a complete disaster for B.C.,” he added.

Preliminary results showed Cariboo North: Oakes had 5,459 votes, Simpson had 4,933, Duncan Barnett had 2,840.

In Cariboo-Chilcotin Donna Barnett had 6,952 votes, Wyse had 4,253, Price had 657 and Young had 455.

Voter turnout was down in both ridings, compared to 2009.

In Cariboo North the turnout was 56.75 per cent, compared to 60 per cent in 2009.

In Cariboo-Chilcotin, the voter turnout was 58.6 per cent, compared to 62.9 per cent in 2009. Still both percentages were higher than the provincial average.