Olsen becomes first Green MLA in Saanich North and the Islands

With a majority of riding ballot boxes reporting in to Elections BC, Adam Olsen is leading the night.

  • May. 9, 2017 8:00 a.m.

Saanich North and the Islands has a new MLA — and he’s with the BC Green Party.

Adam Olsen is the new MLA for the riding, leading the polls here with more than 11,000 votes and around 42 per cent of the popular vote as of 11 p.m. Tuesday, May 9.

Preliminary Results:

Adam Olsen (Green) – 11,237 votes (41.94% of popular vote)

Gary Holman (NDP) – 8,391 (31.32%)

Stephen Roberts (Liberal) – 6,895 (25.74%)

Jordan Templeman (Ind) – 267 (1.00%)


This lead is preliminary and won’t be finalized by Elections BC until after the final offical count on May 22.

Still, the result shows that any thoughts of the race being as close as it was four years ago, were simply predictions.

Holman told the PNR earlier in the evening that it’s still too close to call in a riding where the winner receives around 12,000 votes.

When told some media outlets are predicting a Green Party win here, Holman said “It’ll be what it’ll be, but it’s still too close to call.”

NDP supporters crowded around a TV in a local pub were watching live coverage of election results. One was overheard to say, “I saw … we just close our eyes until it’s all over.”

Holman said there are still thousands of votes to be counted from Gulf Islands advace polls, an area he thinks will show support for his campaign.

“Until those (thousands of) votes come in, I’m not prepared to concede. It’s not looking positive at this point.”

Roberts, who finished second in 2013, is now sitting in third place. His campaign team stated it’s still early in the night and they are waiting on more results. However, Roberts was not seen at the headquarters in downtown Sidney after an earlier appearance. People were also seen ducking in and out of rooms.

This election is a repeat, in essence, of the 2013 provincial election. The riding – which covers the Saanich Peninsula (Central Saanich, North Saanich and Sidney) and the Gulf Islands – is being contested by the same three people who sought elected office four years ago – as well as one new one.

The incumbent MLA for the area is the NDP’s Gary Holman, who wrested the riding from conservative control in 2013. His win — by a mere 163 votes over BC Liberal challenger Stephen Roberts — marked the first time that anyone other than a member of the Liberals, Social Credit Party or Conservatives won here.

Roberts started late in the 2013 campaign and still made a good showing. He has spent the better part of the last four years making himself known in the community by volunteering for various local organizations. He has posed the thought that Saanich North and the Islands was won by the NDP in 2013 when polls at that time predicted an NDP win province-wide. He is hoping that traditional voting patterns in the riding emerge this time around.

Also challenging in Saanich North and the Islands is BC Green Party candidate Adam Olsen. The former Central Saanich municipal councillor and former interim leader of the BC Greens is popular in the riding and placed third in 2013 – 379 votes off the winner.

Olsen could challenge for the MLA’s seat in Saanich North and the Islands, riding a wave of support in recent polling. He is in an area that saw voters elect a Green Party member to Parliament in Ottawa – Elizabeth May.

Holman for the most part is relying on his record to take him through to a second victory in Saanich North and the Islands. He worked on a local affordable housing inventory, among other efforts, and has acted at the NDP deputy critic on BC Ferries and Electoral Reform – one of his main passion areas.

Independent candidate Jordan Templeman is also on the ballot in Saanich North and the Islands. A newcomer, he will have to do well to get more votes than the 2013 independent candidate, Scott MacEachern, did four years ago (599 – compared with more than 10,000 each for the three main party candidates).

Reporter Katherine Engqvist with the BC Greens’ Adam Olsen:

NORTH SAANICH — The last few finishing touches are going up at the Green Party’s party in the McTavish Academy of Arts, 1720 McTavish Rd. Jazz music plays as supporters start arriving. The room is filled with nervous energy, the hum of small talk and green balloons.

Everyone is watching the clock waiting for the polls to close in one of the tightest races on the Island.

“I feel very confident in our campaign,” said BC Green Party candidate Adam Olsen. “We turned what was traditionally a two horse race into a three horse race … I’m very proud of the impact we’ve made in this riding.”

Olsen noted that when people ask him what a difference or impact the Green Party can have, he tells them the Saanich North and the Islands riding is a perfect example.

“The political status quo won’t have it so easy in the future … If the others don’t change and don’t figure it out, they’re going to start losing elections to us.”

He nodded to the momentum started with Elizabeth May on the national stage.

“Hopefully, what we see in an hour or two is that continue into provincial politics.”

Editor Steven Heywood wth the BC Liberals’ Stephen Roberts:

SIDNEY — Stephen Roberts says he’s pleased to be going into tonight’s election leading in a pair of recent polls on Saanich North and the Islands. He arrived at his Beacon Avenue headquarters, shortly after campaign volunteers got their space organized for waching the results come in.

Roberts said he spent the day on last-minute campaigning, bolstered by party leader Christy Clark’s visit to Sidney yesterday (May 8).

Reporter Alisa Howlett with the BC NDP’s Gary Holman:

SIDNEY — Shortly after 8 p.m., when polls closed, NDP MLA Gary Holman arrived at Beacon Landing pub in Sidney. Local media along with the NDP campaign manager eagerly awaited Holman’s arrival.

In a dimly lit setting, with casual pub drinkers mixed about, Holman said he’s cautiously optimistic as votes trickle in.

While he awaits results, he’s throwing a bit of a party for his volunteers and supporters. They’re expected to arrive at the pub throughout the early evening. As it gets closer to the final election outcome, Holman is headed to the big NDP headquarters in Victoria, along with other South Island NDP candidates.

A crowd of about a dozen people, volunteers and supporters, along with Holman’s wife, Central Saanich Councillor Alicia Holman, have gathered at the pub and tucked in a dimly-lit corner near the window overlooking the Salish Sea.

One volunteers came from one of the polling stations in Sidney that has already wrapped up. The campaign manager is echoing Holman’s optimism – that support is strong in this riding.

More to come.

Saanich News