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Richmond Centre candidates happy to see back of Tories

As of Tuesday, Richmond Centre remained too close to call, with rookie candidate Miao leading by 691 votes over Wong, who has won the seat in four previous elections
Laura Gillanders (Green), James Hinton (PPC), Wilson Miao (Liberal), Sandra Nixon (NDP), Alice Wong (Conservative)

Richmond Centre’s Green Party candidate Laura Gillanders was upbeat about the future for her riding, despite garnering only 971 votes.

Pointing to the possibility of the Liberal’s Wilson Miao dethroning long-time incumbent Tory Alice Wong, Gillanders said Tuesday it was “really exciting to see that we might have a change in Richmond Centre.”

“It’s been Conservative for a very long time. I think it’s quite a feat, if he can pull it off, considering all the progressive (voters) seem to have rallied in 2015 to try to unseat Stephen Harper and even in that election, Alice Wong was undefeatable.”

As of Tuesday, Richmond Centre remained too close to call, with rookie candidate Miao leading by 691 votes over Wong, who has won the seat in four previous elections.

So far, Miao has 11,661 votes, or 39.4 per cent, to Wong’s 10,970 votes, or 37.1 per cent.

Results from mail-in ballots have yet to roll in and it could be the weekend before the final result is declared.

Gillanders, with 3.3 per cent of the vote in her riding, said she’s happy with her performance, noting she pulled above the Green’s national average of 2.3 per cent.  

“I’m happy that I put my name forward and spoke loudly for the issues that matter in Richmond, like climate change and housing. And I’m going to keep working hard to make Richmond a better place.”

Meanwhile, NDP candidate Sandra Nixon, who so far has earned 5,292 votes or 17.9 per cent, said the party will continue to hold the Liberals to account on issues such as affordable housing, health, seniors care and climate change, among others.

“I’m proud of what our campaign accomplished, especially in letting the people of Richmond Centre know we’re here for them,” Nixon said in an email to the News, adding she was encouraged by the support her campaign received from students, newcomers to Richmond and “others volunteering for the first time.”

“I believe the NDP vision resonates with many people in Richmond Centre, and is reflected not only in the higher share of the vote we garnered this time around, but also in what looks to be a clear shift in Richmond away from the Conservative agenda, with voters clearly sending a message that a more progressive vision is what they want.”

The Richmond News reached out to People’s Party of Canada candidate James Hinton, but he didn’t want to comment until the mail-in votes are counted.

So far, Hinton has 676 votes, or 2.3 per cent. 

According to Elections Canada, the verification process of mail-in ballots began Tuesday morning, however, when that process will be completed will vary between ridings.

“In some locations it may be able to be completed today, but where the numbers are high, it will take all day and possibly into tomorrow to complete verification,” Andrea Marantz, B.C. spokesperson for Elections Canada, told the News.

She added that counting of advance polls should have been finished Monday night.

When it comes to voter turnout, preliminary data from Elections Canada indicates that 29,570 out of a total 74,640 registered electors  – or 39.62 per cent – headed to the polls in Richmond Centre.

In Steveston-Richmond East, 36,065 out of 74,503 registered electors voted – or 48.41 per cent – according to the preliminary data.

Liberal candidate Parm Bains has been declared the winner in that riding. 

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