NDP incumbent Taylor Bachrach has been reelected in the Skeena-Bulkley Valley riding.
As of Tuesday morning with all but mail-in ballots left to be counted Bachrach had bested Conservative challenger Claire Rattée by more than 2,000 votes.
“I’m humbled and honoured by tonight’s win and the opportunity to keep serving the people of this special place,” Bachrach said from his home in Smithers where he celebrated privately with his family. “Canada faces big challenges right now. My hope is that we can come together and tackle them shoulder to shoulder.”
Ratteé could not be reached for a comment at 10:12 p.m. on election night when Black Press Media had called an NDP win for Skeena-Bulkley Valley.
Bachrach won the riding in 2019 by more than 3,000 votes and it was predicted to be a safe hold for the NDP. While the margin of victory was not as great as last time around, Bachrach did increase his percentage of the popular vote at 42.3 per cent compared to 40.9 per cent.
This was likely at the expense of the Liberals whose candidate Lakhwinder Jhaj was a last-minute addition to the ballot and only made one appearance in the riding.
Jahj garnered only 7.8 per cent of votes, down 2.7 per cent from Dave Birdi’s 2019 result of the vote, and finished just behind third-place People’s Party of Canada candidate Jody Craven.
The result for Craven was a huge improvement over 2019 when he got only 2.3 per cent of the vote. This time 2,784 (7.9 per cent) people cast votes for Craven and the candidate said it would have been even better if he hadn’t spent nine days of the 36-day campaign in hospital.
“We gave all the other parties a nine day head start because I was in the hospital,” he said. “So next time around they better watch out, I’m going to come back healthier and stronger, and our teams, we’re going to win the riding next time.”
Rounding out the field were the Green Party’s Adeana Young with 3.8 per cent of the vote and Christian Heritage Party leader Rod Taylor at 2.1 per cent.
There are 67,453 registered electors in Skeena-Bulkley Valley out of 88,920 residents. Not counting the mail-in ballots, 35,445 or 52.55 per cent of the electorate cast ballots.
Prior to 2019, the seat was held for 15 years by Bachrach’s NDP predecessor Nathan Cullen, who is now MLA for Stikine.
Nationally, largely on the strength of support in Ontario, the Liberals will form a minority government with somewhere between 150 to 160 seats.
Several seats were still too close to call pending the count of a record number of mail-in ballots, which Elections Canada did not start counting until Tuesday (Sept. 21).