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Opinion: Six Metro Vancouver battleground ridings to watch this federal election

The results of these six Metro Vancouver battleground ridings in the 2021 Canadian federal election could be symbolic of how the 44th Canadian Parliament is formed.
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Columnist Mo Amir takes a look at six ridings around Metro Vancouver that could have a significant impact on the results for the whole country

Historically, British Columbia has been an afterthought in how the federal government is formed. However, in this year’s Canadian federal election, B.C. could determine the difference between a majority and minority government, if not the governing party altogether.

B.C.’s largest city, Vancouver, is dominated by prominent incumbents, such as Harjit Sajjan, Hedy Fry, Joyce Murray, Don Davies, and Jenny Kwan, who are favoured to remain in office. However, outside of the City of Vancouver, Metro Vancouver has some ultra-competitive races that could be symbolic of how the 44th Canadian Parliament is formed. 

With many ballots expected to be mailed, these six ridings might not even be settled on election night, Monday September 20.

Register to vote at Elections Canada now.

Port Moody-Coquitlam

  • Incumbent: Nelly Shin (Conservative)
  • 2019 Margin of Victory: 153 votes (0.28%)

Port Moody-Coquitlam was the closest race in the entire country in the 2019 election. Conservative Nelly Shin won this riding against the NDP’s Bonita Zarrillo (by 153 votes) and the Liberals’ Sara Badiei (by 1160 votes). Zarrillo, a Coquitlam City Councillor, returns to rematch for the NDP, while the Liberals are hoping Will Davis, a small business owner and former news broadcaster, will leverage his extensive community presence to win the seat for them.
 

Coquitlam-Port Coquitlam

  • Incumbent: Ron McKinnon (Liberal)
  • 2019 Margin of Victory: 390 votes (0.72%)

Coquitlam-Port Coquitlam was the sixth closest riding in the 2019 election. MP Ron McKinnon won this riding for the Liberals in a stunning upset in 2015 and staved off the Conservatives in 2019 with a razor-thin margin of victory. 

He faces a tough challenge in Conservative candidate Katerina Anastasiadis, who boasts an impressive resume of volunteerism and business advocacy. Historically, Conservatives have outspent their competition in this riding, as this will be a priority target seat.

Port Coquitlam City Councillor Laura Dupont is running for the NDP. Her name recognition in the community might tighten this riding into a three-way race.

South Surrey-White Rock

  • Incumbent: Kerry-Lynne Findlay (Conservative)
  • 2019 Margin of Victory: 2618 votes (4.5%)

The former seat of onetime Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts, South Surrey-White Rock will be battled for the third time between incumbent Conservative MP Kerry-Lynne Findlay — a former cabinet minister — and former Liberal MP Gordie Hogg. In 2017, Hogg won the riding in a by-election with 1617 votes over Findlay before being unseated by Findlay in 2019.

Fleetwood-Port Kells

  • Incumbent: Ken Hardie (Liberal)
  • 2019 Marin of Victory: 1899 votes (3.8%)

From its creation in 2004 to 2015, Fleetwood-Port Kells was held by Conservative MP Nina Grewal. In 2015, Liberal Ken Hardie won the riding in a landslide. In 2019, Hardie was re-elected in a very close race.

This year, former BC Liberal MLA Dave Hayer will hope his extensive political history in Surrey will help flip back the riding for the Conservatives. Notably, the NDP has always had a strong presence — usually above 20% of the popular vote — here, too. 

Burnaby North-Seymour

  • Incumbent: Terry Beech (Liberal)
  • 2019 Margin of Victory: 1585 votes (3.1%)

The end terminal for the TransMountain Pipeline, Burnaby North-Seymour is a tale of two cities: The Burnaby side of the riding leans NDP, while the North Vancouver side is historically split between Liberal and Conservative voters.

In 2015, this riding was a competitive three-way race. In 2019, it was an even closer race between high-profile NDP candidate Svend Robinson and incumbent MP Terry Beech.

This year, the NDP have nominated District of North Vancouver Councillor Jim Hanson, in hopes to shore up votes on the North Vancouver side. Meanwhile, the Conservatives are deploying experienced campaigner and local businesswoman Kelsey Shein as part of their strategy to reclaim a presence on the North Shore. 

West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky Country

  • Incumbent: Patrick Weiler (Liberal)
  • 2019 Margin of Victory: 5314 votes (8%)

On the surface, West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky Country comfortably leans Liberal. However, incumbent Liberal MP Patrick Weiler faces stiff competition.

Former two-time Conservative MP John Weston returns to the riding to reclaim the office that he lost in 2015.

The NDP is being represented by Avi Lewis, a popular documentarian and broadcaster. He recently produced and co-wrote the Emmy-nominated animated short film Message from the Future with U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

The Green Party also had a strong presence in this riding in 2019 with nearly 14% of the vote that put them in third over the NDP.

Mo Amir is the host of This is VANCOLOUR, a politics and culture podcast available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, and www.thisisvancolour.com