Former Victoria New Democrat MP Denise Savoie handed off to Murray Rankin late Monday after both of them spent some anxious hours wondering if the succession had been botched.
And she couldn't resist a dig at the calculated stand the Green party took on one of the key issues in the byelection campaign - sewage treatment.
Candidate Donald Galloway climbed down from the party's previous ardent support for treatment, and campaigned for delays and further study, saying the strait can handle sewage outflow "naturally" in the meantime.
Other candidates did much the same, leaving Rankin as the only one in favour of pursuing the expensive course that the regional district is pursuing and reaffirmed on Tuesday.
In one of her last speeches as a politician, Savoie accused the Greens of abandoning their enviro ethics to bring in votes.
She congratulated the horde of NDP supporters at the victory party for staying true to their principles, "unlike some other parties, who twisted themselves into a pretzel to win votes and appear environmental."
There was no doubt whom she was talking about.
She said the "wild contortions" over the sewage treatment issue would have impressed Cirque du Soleil - "but it didn't impress David Suzuki." Suzuki supported Galloway at a rally and promised to campaign for local Green candidate Andrew Weaver in the upcoming provincial election.
Then he later denied endorsing anyone, and said he supports sewage treatment, although he deferred to local experts as to how.
Savoie's remarks shows the NDP are turning their guns. Last week they warned voters - ludicrously, it turned out - that Conservatives were in danger of winning.
After Monday, they have a new rival to worry about.
Sewage treatment was only part of the picture that turned the Greens into solid contenders.
The lack of consequences in the byelection took a lot of pressure off voters and allowed them to vote simply as they pleased. And national leader Elizabeth May's strong performance and proximity also swelled their vote.
Rankin eventually won by almost 1,200 votes, pulling 37 per cent of the vote to Galloway's 34 per cent share.
It was a far cry from the last of Savoie's three wins. She won an outright majority in 2011 with 51 per cent, doubling her nearest rival's share.
So Greens can be delighted with the showing, particularly since 34 per cent is almost triple their share in the 2011 contest.
There aren't too many ridings where the Green-NDP vote adds up to 71 per cent. Similarly, there aren't many places where the combined Liberal and Conservative share amounts to just 27 per cent.
Rankin's thin margin will soon fade.
A win's a win. In a victory scrum with reporters, he expressed surprise at how well the Greens did. "We need to salute them and learn from them," he said. "I don't know myself why they were as successful as they were, save and except for the quality of their candidate and the quality of their campaign."
NDP leader Tom Mulcair showed up to congratulate him, and there's not much doubt Rankin will rocket to the top of the federal caucus depth chart.
He backed Mulcair's leadership run last spring and now has a foot firmly in both wings of the party.
He's been an adviser to NDP provincial leaders and premiers for years, most recently as Adrian Dix's key man on the Enbridge pipeline issue.
It was Rankin who devised the legal positioning behind Dix's complete rejection of the project.
His game plan involves disengaging B.C. from the federal review process and starting a made-in-B.C. review.
It would be a bit of a charade, as Dix's NDP will oppose the project no matter what a technical review finds. But it's been going over well.
Among all the other things read into the results, Rankin told the crowd it also means "a resounding no to the Enbridge pipeline.
"Mr. Harper ... take it from the voters of Victoria, this pipeline will be stopped."
The MP-elect said he plans to continue advising Dix and the provincial caucus on how to stop the pipeline "should the federal government force it through."
He was a lot milder on the Kinder Morgan proposal to double the existing line to metro Vancouver, the next pipeline in the pipeline, so to speak.
It can't be considered until the federal environmental assessment process is beefed up, he said.
That leaves the NDP some room to manoeuvre in the years ahead.
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