Holy Cow! Wow-zers! Were the political pollsters, pundits and experts ever wandering (dazed) far out in someone’s alfalfa field. Have they ever been so far out to lunch?
Christy Clark may not have won her own riding but she somehow managed to turn stale old cow pies into solid votes in many a-riding, some traditionally Liberal, others newly Liberal.
In our two Cariboo ridings (Cariboo-Chilcotin/Cariboo North) women Liberal candidates won the day. It wasn’t a surprise (to me) that local incumbent Donna Barnett held her spot.
She is well-known and generally liked among the people of her riding no matter what their political leaning; a genuine Cariboo-gal whose availability (visibility) throughout the year is noted and appreciated by many folks.
What was somewhat startling was the margin of her victory (Cariboo-Chilcotin) as she garnered 56.44 per cent (the Tyee) of the popular vote (versus 34.53 per cent won by Charlie Wyse). The last time the two faced off (2009) the margin was very slim with Barnett winning a squeaker (88 votes) with a marginal 47.85 per cent over Wyse’s 47.18 per cent.
In Cariboo North it was closer with incumbent Bob Simpson putting up a valiant fight as he endeavoured, as an Independent challenger, to try to hold his seat (formerly held as an NDP) which he may have pulled off if the province hadn’t been swept by what seems to have been a late tidal swing in Liberal popularity.
Newcomer Coralee Oakes (former Quesnel city councillor, executive director of the Quesnel Chamber of Commerce) campaigned hard, is obviously well-known (popular) in her district and appeared to rise atop the rogue wave (Liberal) as the election tide turned. She likely believed all along, as well — in spite of pollsters’ predictions!
Oakes won with 41.26 per cent (5,459 votes). Runner-up Bob Simpson had 37.28 per cent (4,933) while first-timer Duncan Barnett (NDP) had a solid showing (21.46 per cent, 2,840).
Clearly a tighter contest (than Cariboo-Chilcotin) but yet another clear case of confidence in a female, Liberal politician.
Liz Twan is a rancher and freelance columnist for the Tribune.