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BC Conservatives optimistic about North Shore; Liberals not worried

The British Columbia Conservative Party believes it has a chance to win a seat on the North Shore this election.

The B.C. Conservatives hope to score votes from right wing supporters who voted Tory in the last Federal election, said Eddie Petrossian, B.C. Conservative candidate for the West Vancouver-Capilano riding.

"Seven or eight out of 10 individuals or households are not pleased with the current Liberal leadership," Petrossian said, after communicating with roughly 6,000 households during pre-campaigning.

The conservatives are currently running candidates in three of the four North Shore ridings, with Petrossian in the West Vancouver-Capilano riding, Gary Hee in the North Vancouver-Seymour riding and Ian McLeod in North Vancouver-Lonsdale.

The ruling B.C. Liberal party has dominated the North Shore seats for almost two decades. Gordon Campbell's party won West Vancouver-Capilano handily in 2005, with an overwhelming 14,665 votes, compared to the NDP's 3,900. The B.C. Liberals won North Vancouver Seymour by 14,518 to 7,595. They won the North Vancouver-Lonsdale riding by a small margin of 984 votes.

Petrossian said that North Shore residents are now unsatisfied with the B.C. Liberals.

"We have filled the three ridings [where] we feel we have a strong presentation and representation, it seems the support base is there," Petrossian said. "The people want change."

B.C. Liberals in the area are not worried.

"I welcome the competition, I think it’s great to have choices," said Ralph Sultan, the MLA for West Vancouver-Capilano.

"I don’t think their presence is something we are going to lose sleep over, but we take every competitor seriously," he continued.

When asked about the North Shore’s federal Conservative vote being a force that could get the Tories seats, Sultan considered the link a "stretch", but emphasized the B.C. Liberals still consider the B.C. Conservatives as competition.

"They have appeal, they have a message, so you have to take them seriously," Sultan said.

Morgan J. Modjeski is a reporter for The Hook.

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