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Premier Clark pleased with win, pledges early election

Premier Christy Clark acknowledged her campaign made mistakes in Vancouver-Point Grey, but argued it's a solid victory for the governing party to win a by-election.

"I wanted to get into the legislature as soon as I could and that was the seat that was open," Clark said this morning in her legislature office. "Other people might have decided they wanted to ask someone in a safe seat to resign. I preferred doing it in the less expensive and more sensible way, and taking maybe the riskier route as a result of doing it."

Clark beat NDP candidate David Eby, a lawyer on leave from his job as executive director of the B.C. Civil Liberties Association, by some 600 votes. The initial count was 7,371 for Clark to 6,776 for Eby, with Green Party and B.C. First candidates far behind.

Eby and NDP leader Adrian Dix have said the close result in a relatively safe Liberal seat sends Clark a strong message.

Clark said she and her team would analyze the result and the campaign, but hadn't had time yet to do that. "I've won elections and I've lost elections, and the difference is when you lose an election you sit down and you go through the 10 things you did wrong," she said.

"And when you win an election you think to yourself, 'I never did anything wrong.' Well, that's never the case. In both cases you always did at least 10 things wrong, it's just that you did enough other things right and sometimes you win."

Asked if the narrow victory reduces the momentum for calling an early general election, Clark said, "Are you kidding me? The fact the government won the first by-election in 30 years, I'm delighted with the result."

She said she still intends to call an early election. "When I ran for leader I was really clear with people that I was going to call a general election sooner than the fixed election date," she said. "That hasn't changed."

Clark, who does not live in Point Grey, said she is not sure in which constituency she would like to run in the general election. Point Grey came open when former premier Gordon Campbell resigned.

"We knew it was going to be close from the beginning," said Colin Hansen, the MLA for Vancouver-Quilchena who chaired Clark's campaign. "The way the count came in gave us all a bit of excitement last night."

The campaign put a lot of effort into the advance poll, which is counted last, he said.

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee’s Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria. Reach him here.

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