Vernon-Monashee Greens candidate Keli Westgate, left, and her campaign manager Heather Clay eagerly watch as the voting results roll in at Sir Winston’s Pub Tuesday. (Parker Crook/Morning Star)

Vernon-Monashee Greens candidate Keli Westgate, left, and her campaign manager Heather Clay eagerly watch as the voting results roll in at Sir Winston’s Pub Tuesday. (Parker Crook/Morning Star)

Greens keep spirits high

The B.C. Greens supporters sit in Sir Winston’s Pub, awaiting the results and Keli Westgate’s arrival

The B.C. Greens Vernon-Monashee supporters sit in the dim, nearly candle-lit second floor at Sir Winston’s Pub, eagerly awaiting the poll results and their MLA candidate Keli Westgate’s arrival.

“I’m hoping that she gets in,” says Westgate’s father Bob.

As she walks in, her supporters are happy to see her. Everyone is excited an hopeful for her.

“Cheers,” one of the supports shouts. They all raise their glasses and the numbers begin to roll in.

The crowd discusses Westgate’s chances, citing talk of support from various individuals in the community. Jokes are tossed around and the chatter is friendly and excited as the first dozen seats are predicted, though none are showing for Westgate and the Greens.

“How am I not going to cry tonight?” Westgate jokes. She’s calm and jubilant.

One TV is streaming CTV’s coverage of the B.C. election, the other is live with CBC. Laughter is in the air, but all are serious in the support of their party. As the polls coverage approaches the Vernon-Monashee riding, the room quiets down, as if the venue suddenly changed from a bar to a library. All eyes are glued to the TV.

“I think Keli won at three schools that do the polls,” says Westgate’s husband, Joe Pinheiro, adding that he believes it’s likely a good sign.

As the voting results change from riding to riding, Westgate is conversing with her friends, family, and supporters. The Kootenay-West riding results appear.

“She’s got a chance,” says Westgate on Kootenay-West Greens candidate Samantha Troy.

The results continue, and despite the Liberal’s and NDP’s growing leads over the Greens, their spirits are high.

“Out of the whole election, we only had one sign broken. No eyebrows, no moustaches,” laughs Westgate.

The appetizers come in from the kitchen, and Tina Turner comes in on the bar’s radio. Westgate dances in her seat. She’s having fun.

CTV predicts that Liberal candidate Eric Foster will win the Vernon-Monashee riding again, but the Greens aren’t overly worried.

“Well, everyone can go home,” she jests.

“It’s looking like it’s probably going to be a Liberal, which was expected in this riding.”

Westgate’s mother Barb is sitting next to her now and is visibly proud of her daughter.

“I was pretty impressed, because your count was similar to NDP’s,” she assures Westgate.

Adam Olsen, Greens candidate in the Saanich North riding, is predicted to win a seat. The Greens all cheer.

“It’s not over yet,” shouts Westgate. Soon after, the Vernon-Monashee results appear on TV. Westgate is in third with 2,911 votes, and the supporters in Sir Winston’s Pub cheer yet again.

Riding results come and go, and Westgate and the Greens hold steady in third.

“I think I can officially say I didn’t win,” says Westgate. But she isn’t defeated. She’s proud of what she accomplished.

“We’ve done a really good job with a really small budget and a really great group of people,” says Westgate.

“Overall, I think (the B.C. Greens) have run a great campaign. I think not taking any corporate or union donations definitely makes it difficult to get your message out, but it was the right thing to do in this election, because it really brought that issue to the forefront.”