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Liberals in swing ridings claim green vote 'not an issue'

Green-minded voters will hurt the New Democratic Party’s election chances in key suburban swing ridings, a BC Liberal candidate running in one said today.

“When we have people like David Suzuki and Mark Jaccard supporting us, it’s not an issue,” Burnaby-Lougheed incumbent Harry Bloy told The Tyee, in reference to the green vote. “I believe it will affect the NDP more than the BC Liberals.”

Premier Gordon Campbell brought his leadership campaign to Bloy's swing riding today, suggesting Liberals party strategists think they can not only hold their safe seats, but may also gain ground in the Burnaby ridings.

Campbell touted phrases such as "every vote counts" and "this is about 85 elections."

In 2005, the Burnaby ridings were home to some of the tightest races in the province. Though voters elected Liberals in three of the constituencies, no winning margin was greater than three per cent.

The 2008 redistribution changed the boundaries, but most analysts still expect a fierce battle when voters cast their ballots.

“I’m confident that I’m going to win,” Bloy said. “But it’s going to be a very close race.”

In Burnaby-Lougheed, most of the action will take place between Bloy and NDP challenger Jaynie Clark. The Green Party’s Helen Chang is a long shot to win – but in a riding this tight, support for her bid could tip the riding in either frontrunner’s favour.

Both Suzuki and prominent climate change academic Jaccard have come out in favour of the ruling party’s carbon tax. Hoy thinks the endorsement will boost BC Liberal popularity, while the Green Party siphons voters from the NDP.

“I believe lots of the green support will come to us,” he said.

Geoff Dembicki is a staff reporter for The Tyee.

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