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Liberals retake Van-Quadra, but cling to only 5 seats in BC

It was a bittersweet victory for the Liberals in Vancouver Quadra. For the second time in less than a year, Joyce Murray won over her opponent, Conservative candidate Deborah Meredith. But Vancouver Quadra was one of only five seats the Liberals would hold on to in British Columbia.

Former BC Environment Minister Joyce Murray managed to get a convincing victory this time around, far from the tight race people were predicting. In a March 2008 by-election she won her seat by only 153 votes. But last night she won handily with 45.6 per cent of the total vote.

At the Wolfe and Hound, more than 60 people – among them many UBC students and old Liberal voters – greeted their MP Joyce Murray, as she arrived a little bit before 10 p.m.

Murrey admitted that a second election was tough for her and her volunteers. "It's very difficult this kind of devotion with a by-election seven months ago."

The Vancouver-Quadra MP criticized Harper for his decision to provoke an election earlier than expected.

"Frankly, this Prime minister breaking his own law with no provocation, with no confidence vote, costing Canadians $300 million for another minority government that who knows how long it will last," she said.

During her speech to her sympathizers, Murray warmly thanked President of UBC Liberals, Josh Hutchinson, She mentioned him as one of the factors to weight in to explain her victory. Even he was surprised at how good Murray did at UBC, where Stéphane Dion showed up during the campaign. "It was way above expectations," he told The Tyee. "In one poll, it was about 269 for the Liberals and 30 for the Green Party.:

"I did have a few worries because of the by-elections, but there was a lot of green party votes there, and a general election is completely different," Hutchinson added.

Douglas Leung, her campaign organizer, noted voters were more interested in the election this time.

As for strategic voting, he doesn't know if it made a significant difference. Website Vote For the environment was expecting Green candidate Dan Grice to come with a strong third, and urged voters who cared for the environment to vote for Murray.

"I have no idea, but I think that the idea of having Joyce [Murray] as being the representative of a progressive party was preferable than being represented by a Conservative who is probably from the most right wing side of the Conservative party," Leung said.

Murray's progressive ideas and Dion's Green Shift, are among reasons why he believes his candidate's popularity grew so strongly in such a short period of time.

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