Jack Knox: Grégoire’s election-night dress created by Island-raised designer

Tying up some loose ends from the federal election: That smashing dress that Sophie Grégoire was wearing on the front page of Tuesday’s Times Colonist was created by Eliza Faulkner, a Duncan-raised fashion designer who moved to Montreal four years ago.

Last week, Faulkner learned that Grégoire, Justin Trudeau’s wife, had purchased the dress at an Ottawa store and intended to wear it on election night.

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“They told me, but I wasn’t really convinced,” says Faulkner, who actually went to bed before Grégoire took the stage.

It was pretty cool to wake up Tuesday and see her dress all over the news.

“It’s exciting,” she said, on the phone from Montreal.

A kind gesture, from one candidate to another

As nasty as this election was, it’s worth noting that candidates often get on well. There was a nice moment when Liberal Jamie Hammond showed up at New Democrat MP Randall Garrison’s victory party with a gift for his Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke opponent: an original cartoon of NDP icon Tommy Douglas that had been in Hammond’s family’s possession since 1968.

Garrison, who on election night singled out Hammond for running “a gracious and positive campaign,” said the gesture was the kind of thing he had grown to expect from the Liberal, a former colonel who once led Canada’s special operations forces in Afghanistan.

What’s that they say about an officer and a gentleman?

Wilson-Raybould sought advice from Carney

Among those whom Jody Wilson-Raybould came to for advice prior to this campaign was former Progressive Conservative MP Pat Carney of Saturna Island.

The two had something in common: Each had gone through a high-profile confrontation with her own party on a matter of principle.

Wilson-Raybould, of course, broke with the Liberals over the SNC-Lavalin affair. In 1991, Carney, a former cabinet minister whom Brian Mulroney had appointed to the Senate, hauled herself out of her sick bed to fly to Ottawa to vote against his government’s bill to recriminalize abortion. Hers proved to be the deciding vote as the bill died in the Senate. That incensed some Tories, but Carney recalls Mulroney himself just shrugging it off, saying he always knew Carney would vote her conscience.

On Monday, Wilson-Raybould won re-election in Vancouver-Granville, which now includes a slice of Carney’s old Vancouver-Centre seat.

In a bit of irony, Carney’s successor in that riding was Kim Campbell, the justice minister whose abortion bill Carney helped defeat.

Carney isn’t saying what advice she gave Wilson-Raybould when they met in July.

On this Island, we like to vote

Vancouver Island has about two per cent of Canada’s population, but delivered just over 21 per cent of the New Democrats’ seats and 11 per cent of the total Green vote. Band, meet different drummer.

Voter turnout was down in every riding on Vancouver Island, most often by five or six percentage points compared with 2015, but many of them still led the province:

• At 73.1 per cent, the turnout in Saanich-Gulf Islands was the highest among B.C.’s 42 ridings.

• At 71.5 per cent, Victoria was fourth.

• At 70.8 per cent, Courtenay-Alberni was fifth.

• At 69.5 per cent, Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke was seventh.

• At 69.4 per cent, North Island-Powell River was eighth.

• At 68.9 per cent, Cowichan-Malahat-Langford was 10th.

• At 68.6 per cent, Nanaimo-Ladysmith was 13th.

All ridings were still above the 66 per cent turnout nationally. That compared with 68.5 in 2015.

In Nanaimo, seven elections in five years

Pause to pity the people of Nanaimo, enduring their seventh election in five years, including four in the past 12 months.

• The 2014 municipal election, which delivered one of the most entertaining/dysfunctional councils B.C. has seen.

• The 2015 federal election, won by New Democrat Sheila Malcolmson.

• The 2017 provincial election, won by New Democrat Leonard Krog.

• The October 2018 civic election in which Krog became mayor.

• The January byelection in which Malcolmson replaced Krog as MLA.

• The May byelection in which the Green Party’s Paul Manly replaced Malcolmson as MP.

• The latest federal vote, won by Manly.

In essence, Nanaimo is like your perennially pregnant aunt, the exhausted-looking one with eight children under the age of six.

No rulers here

For the second election in a row — which means for just the second time since 1988 — Vancouver Island has failed to elect a member of the governing party.

* This marks the first — and probably only — time you’ll read the words “fashion designer” in a Jack Knox column. Someone please revive my wife.

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