Liberal candidate Eric Foster (left) and party regional organizer Geoff Ingram react after Foster was declared the winner in Vernon-Monashee riding

Liberal candidate Eric Foster (left) and party regional organizer Geoff Ingram react after Foster was declared the winner in Vernon-Monashee riding

Liberals claim major win in Vernon-Monashee

Incumbent Eric Foster says he is pleased with the endorsement from voters

Predictions that the race for Vernon-Monashee would be tight quickly evaporated Tuesday.

Results began strongly for incumbent Liberal Eric Foster and by the end of the evening, he was declaring a solid victory.

“I’m absolutely thrilled with the results and the support from across the constituency,” he said.

“I hope it’s because people think I’ve done a good job. I’ve worked hard for the constituency.”

With 176 of 184 ballot boxes reporting, Foster had 9,236 votes or 46.82 per cent. Mark Olsen, with the NDP, had 6,657 or 33.74 per cent while Conservative Scott Anderson had 2,322 or 11.77 per cent. Green Rebecca Helps had 1,383 votes or 7.01 per cent while independent Korry Zepik had 130 votes or 0.66 per cent.

Pundits had forecast that Foster would run neck-and-neck with Olsen, something that occurred in 2009. But Foster says he was confident that voters would rally behind him.

“It shows you what the polls are all about,” Foster said, adding that while the NDP were predicted to form government, people likely had second thoughts.

“Economic times have been tough and people felt we are better equipped to manage the economy.”

Olsen says he is disappointed, but he gave credit to his campaign team.

“They pulled out all of the stops and they deserved better results,” he said, adding that he isn’t sure why he didn’t rise to the top.

“We had a good platform and we ran a positive campaign. I’m proud of our campaign.”

In terms of the provincial scene, Olsen was anticipating the NDP would become government.

“I congratulate the Liberals  and we move on,” he said.

Andersen admits he was surprised by Foster’s win in Vernon-Monashee.

“I think the Liberals put on a heavy scare tactic the last week and I think that seems to have driven the vote away from the NDP and away from us and into Foster’s lap,” he said.

“Of course I’m disappointed but we ran a very good campaign on a shoestring budget, and this is one battle in a war.”

Helps, who lives in Port Moody and didn’t campaign in Vernon-Monashee, says her goal was to provide voters with an option.

“It’s great that people who wanted a progressive voice had an opportunity to vote Green,” she said.

Helps believes the Greens will be more visibly locally in the next election in 2017.

“We don’t want people to forget about us because the Greens will be back bigger and stronger,” she said.

Zepik ran as an independent to raise awareness about climate change.

“I feel great (with his vote count). It was important to get the message out.”

But Zepick says he disappointed to see the Liberals back in government because of what he sees as a poor environmental record.

“It’s a sad day for our kids,” he said.

Provincially, the Liberals, at press time, had won 51 seats, followed by the NDP at 32, the Greens with one and one independent.