New Democrat Alistair MacGregor handily won his second electoral race, trouncing his nearest competitor, Conservative candidate Alana DeLong.
MacGregor, who garnered 36 per cent of the vote to DeLong’s 26 per cent, credited his success to his party’s message of environmental protection mixed with a determination to fight for social and economic justice.
“You can’t be successful in battling something like climate change if you don’t have policies to achieve social and economic equality,” MacGregor said at his victory celebration on Monday night.
MacGregor, a 40-year-old married father of three, has a riding with a diverse population.
Early in the campaign, he said in areas such as Langford, with its suburban and relatively urban places, voters wanted to talk about bread-and-butter issues: housing affordability, transportation and child care.
Rural voters wanted to talk about the environment.
But as the campaign continued, MacGregor said many voters also raised concerns about health care.
MacGregor said he encountered widespread agreement that social and economic issues must bepursued alongside environmental ones.
Recent years of drought conditions drying up rivers and wells might have put climate change front of mind, but failed to shift voters to the Green Party. Green candidate Lydia Hwitsum came in third place, with 20 per cent of the vote, with 90 per cent of polls reporting.
Hwitsum, a former elected chief of the Cowichan Tribes who still lives in her birthplace of Quamichan Village, was also unable to muster enough First Nations support to make a big difference.
The Cowichan Tribes is the largest single First Nations community in B.C., and its 11,450 residents account for 10 per cent of the riding’s population.
But MacGregor said the past four years have allowed him to develop a record of co-operation and respect with all his constituents, including the Cowichan Tribes.
“I have been able to establish good relationships with the Cowichan elders and the elected chief and council,” he said.
MacGregor’s riding is relatively new — this is only the second time its citizens have voted as an entity.
In 2015, MacGregor won by more than 10 per cent.
But during the previous election of 2011, before Langford was combined with the large Cowichan Valley, New Democrat Randall Garrison squeaked by the Conservatives by a mere 304 votes.