Wat retains Richmond Centre for BC Liberals

When the voters in Richmond Centre went to cast their ballots in Tuesday night's provincial election, the choice was pretty clear, according to BC Liberal candidate Teresa Wat.

"Do they want to go back to the '90s, when we became a have-not province. Or do you want to go forward with a strong economy and a secure future."

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That was how Wat summed it up as she rode to a commanding victory over the rest of the field.

Wat managed to win the support of just under 50 per cent of the voters more than double her nearest rival, the BC NDP's Frank Huang.

A jubilant Wat thanked her campaign supporters at a victory party at a packed Vivacity Restaurant, telling them she was honoured to now go to Victoria and represent her constituents.

"Now the real work begins," she added. "I am very happy and very excited. I am very grateful to all the constituents in Richmond Centre. I am so honoured that they have trust in me. They have supported me so I can represent them in legislature."

Wat added, "I think when the voters actually cast their votes, they were very intelligent, they knew how to make a choice. And that choice is very clear."

Wat's nearest rival, Frank Huang, was humbled in defeat.

"I respect the choice of the voters. But I am also disappointed," he said.

Huang said he did not immediately have an explanation why he did not receive greater support in Richmond Centre and was at an even greater loss to understand what happened on the provincial scene where the Adrian Dix- led NDP failed to turn favourable, pre-election polls into a turn at ruling the province.

"I haven't had enough time to review all the things regarding the election. But the party will review all the problems and have something to say at a later date," he said.

Left with a bittersweet taste with the results was BC Green Party candidate Michael Wolfe who finished third in the polls, with just under 10 per cent of the vote.

"I am very disappointed with the overall provincial results, but very pleased to be part of another first in the world of Green Party politics," Wolfe said. "I was part of the first Green Party MP being elected (Elizabeth May, Saanich Gulf Islands) and now part of the very first MLA being elected (Andrew Weaver, Oak Bay-Gordon Head). I am ecstatic about that result."

The breakthrough by the BC Green Party is also a personal boost for himself, Wolfe said.

"I'm not just going to wait around for four years and then get involved. This means we can actually prove to the people of B.C. that the Greens can actually make a difference."

As for the lack of a shift in the political landscape of Richmond as all three ridings remained in BC Liberal control, Wolfe said the community has no political diversity.

"When it comes to government, we have block voting. Basically, all three levels of government now are chock full of the same mindsets. So, there's really no criticism offered. There's no voting against the majority."

And that will likely end up punishing the community in the long run, he added.

"We have no critical voice. No one who can actually speak on behalf of the people."

Rounding up the rest of the seven candidate field were, in descending order regarding votes, Gary Law (independent), Lawrence Chen (BC Conservative Party), Richard Lee (independent), and Chanel Donovan (Unparty).

praphael@richmond-news.com

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