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NDP's Ravi Parmar wins byelection on Island; NDP also win in Vancouver

Wide margins of victory for Ravi Parmar in Langford-Juan de Fuca and Joan Phillip in Vancouver-Mount Pleasant

Ravi Parmar is the new MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca after winning Saturday’s byelection, holding onto former premier John Horgan’s seat for the NDP.

Parmar secured what is considered a safe NDP seat, held by Horgan for 18 years after he was elected in 2005. Horgan stepped down in March.

Before the election campaign, Parmar was chair of the Sooke School District and chief of staff in the B.C. Ministry of Jobs, Economic Development and Innovation.

Parmar was elected with 53.35% of the vote in a five-candidate field. Conservative Mike Harris, a real estate agent, was second with 19.86%; followed by the BC Green Party’s Camille Currie, who runs a personal training business, with 17.62%; BC United’s Elena Lawson, who works for the B.C. public service, with 8.63%; and Communist Party of BC’s Tyson Riel Strandlund, who works for a non-profit organization, with 0.55%.

Horgan won in 2020 with 67.8% of the vote during the general election.

The NDP also won the night’s other provincial byelection, in Vancouver-Mount Pleasant, with Joan Phillip, an Indigenous leader, taking 67.86% of the vote.

Huge cheers rung out in Parmar’s headquarters as the first results showed him leading.

Out on the campaign trail, “I heard very quickly throughout the constituency, whether it was here in Langford, the Highlands, Sooke, all the way up to Port Renfrew, that people have been appreciative of the tradition of service they expect from the NDP,” Parmar told the crowd at his campaign headquarters.

He said the NDP record in the riding along with his work on the Sooke school district all helped bolster his campaign.

Parmar said he hopes to address health care challenges, making sure the province is building more infrastructure and addressing cost of living issues.

He said he also wants to address seniors housing and see more homes for young people and Indigenous families and those most in need.

He described Horgan as his hero and mentor.

“It’s been a very good campaign,” said Horgan, who was at Parmar’s gathering.

“Ravi’s been door to door. He’s been in every corner of the community. He’s sought endorsements from community leaders from all political persuasions. And that’s why I think he is going to be an outstanding MLA.

“He’s spent two years chairing the school board here in the fastest growing region on the Island and did an outstanding job there.

“He’s going to do an outstanding job in the legislature.”

Asked how he felt about not being a candidate this time, Horgan said with a smile, “It was weird to not vote for myself.”

“I’ve worked hard to make a big impact in the community for the NDP and I’m confident that Ravi will pick that up and carry it forward.”

“The people in this community are diverse and the NDP best reflects the diversity of this community and that’s why I’m confident Ravi will be successful.”

Parmar is 28 years old, turning 29 in November.

“I first met Ravi when he was in Grade 5 at Millstream Elementary School. He phoned me up a couple of days after I was elected in 2005.”

The youngster asked Horgan to speak to his class, “earning him an A plus.”

“Later he led a walkout of students at Belmont to get a new school and he has never stopped since then. He’s just been constantly looking to make the community better.”

Parmar is future cabinet material, Horgan said.”

“I don’t know if that is going to happen next week but absolutely. He’s diligent, he does his research, he is thoughtful.”

Now that Parmar has been elected, he will have the opportunity to campaign again in just over one year’s time when the next provincial election is scheduled to take place, on Oct. 19, 2024.

In Vancouver-Mount Pleasant, Joan Phillip won by a wide margin, replacing cabinet minister Melanie Mark.

Phillip is an Indigenous rights leader and climate activist. She works as land manager for the Penticton Indian Band, and said she also has an apartment in Vancouver-Mount Pleasant with her husband, Stewart Phillip, grand chief with the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs.

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Langford-Juan de Fuca byelection results

Ravi Parmar BC NDP: 7,224 (53.35% of vote)

Mike Harris Conservative Party: 2,689 (19.86%)

Camille Currie BC Green Party: 2,386 (17.62%)

Elena Lawson BC United: 1,169: (8.63%)

Tyson Riel Strandlund Communist Party of BC: 74 (0.55%)

(All ballot boxes counted; 13,542 valid votes, 51,588 registered voters as of June 14.)

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Vancouver-Mount Pleasant byelection results

Joan Phillip BC NDP: 5,404 (67.86% of vote)

Jackie Lee BC United: 1,097 (13.77%)

Wendy Hayko BC Green Party: 909 (11.41%)

Karin Litzcke Conservative Party: 389 (4.88%)

Kimball Cariou Communist Party of BC: 165 (2.07%)

(All ballot boxs counted; 7,964 valid votes; 45,265 registered voters as of June 14.)

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