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NDP falls short in Metro Van

BURNABY - The B.C. NDP failed to gain the necessary ground in both urban and suburban Metro Vancouver tonight many predicted would be key to winning the election.

The B.C. Liberals took just over half of the 11 seats in Vancouver and had been declared elected or leading in 16 of the 27 suburban ridings.

The eight Surrey ridings split down the middle, while the four seats in Burnaby looked to be headed for a similar fate. The NDP were ahead in both battleground Maple Ridge ridings.

Incumbent Raj Chouhan, who was elected in Burnaby-Edmonds, said he was disappointed the party wasn’t able to do better in the suburban ridings but said the elected New Democratic MLAs would work to represent all voters.

“Even when I was just one NDP MLA in Burnaby I continued to represent all Burnaby and I’ll do my best again to not only represent all of Burnaby but at the same time the issues are of people all over British Columbia” he said.

Chouhan said he is confident the NDP will be a strong opposition and he said he will take to the legislature the issues he heard throughout the campaign.

“People are very vocal about the issues of seniors, housing, child poverty,” he said. “Those are the main issues that I have been dealing with in the past four years and voters want me to continue because we still are experiencing those difficulties not only in Burnaby-Edmonds but all across British Columbia.”

In Vancouver, the NDP held its predictable strongholds in Mount Pleasant, Hastings, Kingsway, West End and Kensington.

Vancouver Hastings MLA Shane Simpson was optimistic throughout the evening about the NDP’s chances of forming government right up until Carole James gave her concession speech.

"I think it’s a little bit premature to suggest that the [Liberals] have won the election," he said just before James appeared on large screens at the Burnaby NDP headquarters.

After James' speech he told The Tyee the party will fight hard to be an effective Official Opposition.

“We’ll be the biggest opposition in the history of British Columbia, we’ll be stronger than we were last time so I expect us to be more effective than we’ve ever been,” he said.

Simpson said he was unwilling to speculate on if or when Carole James will resign after leading her party to a second election loss.

“Carole is the leader and Carole will be the leader for as long as she wants to be,” he said.

Garrett Zehr reports for The Tyee.

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