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Battleground BC

North Shore: Another Lib Sweep?

Looks like it, but North Vancouver-Lonsdale might be interesting.

By Will McMartin, 12 Apr 2005, TheTyee.ca

The riding of North Vancouver was created in 1916, and won that year by the Liberals. It stayed in Liberal hands until 1933, when it fell to Harley Anderson of the newly-created Cooperative Commonwealth Federation. Anderson, however, died within a few short months and was succeeded in a by-election by Dorothy Steeves, the first female CCFer elected to the B.C. legislature. She held the riding for 11 years.

John Henry Cates, a Coalition candidate, beat Steeves in 1945, and retained his seat in 1949. After the Coalition disintegrated and Cates retired, North Vancouver was won in 1952 by a Liberal, in 1953 by a Socred, and then in 1956 (as a two-member district) by two Social Credit newcomers.

The Liberals were restored to dominance as Ray Perrault and Gordon Gibson, Sr., captured both North Vancouver seats in 1960, and won re-election in 1963. Redistribution then created three north-shore ridings - North Vancouver-Capilano, North Vancouver-Seymour, and West Vancouver-Howe Sound - all of which were won by Liberals in 1966 and 1969. The Liberals won two of the three seats in 1972; the exception was North Vancouver-Seymour, where New Democrat Colin Gabelmann eked out a victory with 32.9% of the vote in a four-way contest.

Liberal MLAs over this period included Perrault, Barry Clark, Dave Brousson and Allan Williams.

The landscape changed dramatically before the 1975 general election, as Williams, MLA for West Vancouver-Howe Sound, joined Social Credit. So too did former Liberal MP Jack Davis, who ran in North Vancouver-Seymour, and both were elected as a Socreds. North Vancouver-Capilano remained in Liberal hands with Gordon Gibson Jr., who earlier had won the seat in a much-publicized 1974 by-election. He did not seek re-election in 1979.

All north shore ridings fell to Social Credit in 1979, 1983 and 1986. The Socred MLAs were Williams, Davis, Angus Ree and John Reynolds. The north shore gained an additional seat, for a total of four, prior to the 1991 general election. Three districts were won by the rejuvenated Liberal party: Dan Jarvis in North Vancouver-Seymour, Jeremy Dalton in West Vancouver-Capilano, and David Mitchell in West Vancouver-Garibaldi. The fourth, North Vancouver-Lonsdale, was captured by David Schreck, a New Democrat.

The Liberals won all four seats in 1996, and again in 2001. In the former contest, Dalton and Jarvis were returned; Mitchell retired and was succeeded by Ted Nebbeling; and Schreck lost to Katherine Whittred. In the latter, Jarvis, Whittred and Nebbeling won re-election, and Dalton was succeeded by Ralph Sultan.

All four seats are expected to return Liberal MLAs in the 2005 general election. If a contest were develop in any of one of the ridings, it would North Vancouver-Lonsdale.

TABLE -- North Shore ridings, listed in order of Liberals' 2001 vote-share

  • West Vancouver-Capilano - 72.7%
  • West Vancouver-Garibaldi - 68.2%
  • North Vancouver-Seymour - 65.1%
  • North Vancouver-Lonsdale - 59.8%

Check in daily for Battleground BC, Will McMartin's voting predictions and analysis, exclusive to The Tyee. You can reach him with tips, insights and info at will@thetyee.ca  [Tyee]