Ian Paton projected to win in Delta South

It looks like Ian Paton will be heading back to Victoria.

With 92 of 92 polls reporting, the Liberal incumbent had 52.42 per cent of the vote (8,644 votes) compared to the NDPs Bruce Reid who had 32.49 per cent of the vote (5,358 votes) and the Green Party’s Peter van der Velden with 15.00 per cent of the vote (2,487).

Global News, at 9:28 p.m. Saturday night, projected an NDP majority government.

As of 11 p.m. the NDP were elected or leading in 55 ridings, the Liberals 29 and the Greens 3.

Elections BC says nearly half a million mail-in ballots have been returned as people tried to avoid going to the polls to vote in B.C.'s election during the pandemic.

It says 724,279 vote-by-mail packages were requested, with nearly 498,000 returned as of Friday night.

At least half a million mail-in ballots have to be counted by hand.

That process won’t start until Nov. 6, 13 days after elections day, which is required under the Elections Act to prevent voter fraud.

Almost 8,700 South Delta voters had requested mail-in ballot packages, Elections B.C., noting the riding has 37,039 eligible voters.

In a phone interview with the Optimist around 10:30 p.m. Saturday night, Paton, thanked the community for its continued support.

He said he was disappointed how things unfolded for his party in an election engineered by an unscrupulous NDP.

“People know how I've represented this riding as an MLA the past few years and before that, how I spent quite a few years involved in the community, being on a lot of different committees and my time on Delta council,” said Paton. “I also owe a lot of it to my mum and dad for everything before and I'm very proud to continue representing Delta South again.

“But I'm very sad that a lot of brilliant, smart people have lost in this election and a lot of it can also be blamed on the Conservatives for running candidates, basically making sure they take enough votes away to hand the election over to the NDP. John Horgan is a snake, calling a snap election, but knowing for months that he'd be calling an election during COVID-19.”

Paton also promised he and the other elected Liberals would form a strong opposition. He warned British Columbians are in for a bumpy roller coaster ride with NDP policies in the upcoming term.

As far as Delta South, the Liberals held the riding for 18 years, from the time it was created in 1991 until 2009, before former city councillor Vicki Huntington was victorious as an independent, narrowly beating Liberal Wally Oppal.

Huntington was re-elected in 2013, beating Liberal candidate Bruce McDonald, a longtime city councillor still on Delta council, by wider margin.

Following her retirement, Paton, also a former city councillor, won the riding back for the Liberals in 2017.

He won handily in that election, more than 4,600 votes clear of the second place finisher, independent Nicholas Wong, who had over 6,400 votes.

Reid also ran for Delta South in that election, finishing with 5,228 votes, while Green candidate Larry Colero had 2,349 votes and the B.C. Action Party's Errol Sherley finished with 88 votes.

The initial voter turnout in Delta South was 68 per cent three years ago, the same as it was four years earlier when it was the third highest in the province.

Paton found himself on the opposition benches as the NDP got to form government thanks to the backing of the Green Party.

Paton has been one of the more outspoken members of the opposition, particularly when it comes to the George Massey Tunnel Replacement Project.

It was a big election issue for Paton this year, but Reid joined Delta North NDP incumbent Ravi Kahlon in the days leading up to Election Day this week promising their government would take quick action to ensure a new eight-lane immersed tunnel was built.

-with files from Sandor Gyarmati

© Delta Optimist