Surrey vote reflects bigger federal picture

City's support for Liberals slips but remains strong; New Democrats fail to regain strength of 2011 election

As Surrey goes, so does the Canadian government.

British Columbia’s second largest city handed two of its five Liberal seats back to the Conservatives as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s wings were clipped Monday — his Liberal government winning only a plurality of seats in the 43rd Canadian federal election, leaving him with the prospect of forming a minority government.

The Liberals lost about 30 seats from their 2015 majority victory, while the opposition Conservatives gained about 20 seats.

Surrey accounted for two seats flipping from the Liberals to the Conservatives.

Former Conservative cabinet minister (Minister of National Revenue) Kerry Lynne-Findlay unseated Liberal incumbent Gordie Hogg in South Surrey-White Rock, while newcomer Conservative Tamara Jansen narrowly unseated Hogg’s colleague John Aldag, a rookie MP from 2015 in Cloverdale-Langley City.

Liberal incumbents Sukh Dhaliwal, Randeep Sarai and Ken Hardie won in Surrey-Newton, Surrey Centre and Fleetwood-Port Kells.

Meanwhile, the NDP, under leadership of Jagmeet Singh, failed to gain more support in Surrey, not unlike the party’s results across the country. In the predominantly South Asian ridings of Surrey-Newton and Surrey Centre New Democrats placed second, despite an early campaign scandal that revealed Trudeau wore blackface multiple times in his pre-politics career.

In 2011 Surrey elected two Conservatives and two New Democrats to Ottawa, reflecting an NDP surge to official opposition status behind a Conservative majority government led by Stephen Harper. But in 2015, when Canada collectively voted out Harper and propelled Trudeau under a “red wave” of support, Surrey’s five new, realigned ridings all went to the Liberals. Aldag won in the conservative rural area of east Surrey and Langley and Hogg, in a 2017 byelection, positioned himself in the typically conservative wealthy suburb of South Surrey and the municipality of White Rock. Hogg, a former BC Liberal MLA, spent just under two years as an MP.

Specific federal issues facing Surrey include needed funding for a SkyTrain extension to Langley; federal support to transition from the RCMP to a municipal police force; climate change mitigation, such as raising dykes; immigration; and housing affordability despite being one of the lesser expensive places to live in the Lower Mainland.


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