When Dick Cannings takes his seat in Parliament next session, he should say a quiet ‘thank you’ to the West Kootenay.
Poll-by-poll voting results released by Elections Canada show the region was instrumental to the NDP MP’s close win over Conservative candidate Helena Konanz.
While most regions in the vast South Okanagan-West Kootenay riding went Tory blue, or were closely split with the NDP, a swath between Trail and the Slocan Valley voted overwhelmingly orange in this month’s election.
Only Penticton and Naramata supported Cannings as strongly. (The results below reflect the election-day polls for those areas, and doesn’t break down the advance polls).
Central to Cannings’ victory was his dominance in Penticton, the largest city in the riding, where he was born and raised. He won all but 11 of the 70-odd polls in that city.
But the West Kootenay was where he was able to pull away from his main rival, Conservative candidate Konanz.
Cannings handily won every poll in Trail, Warfield, Fruitvale, and two of three in Montrose, which otherwise went narrowly to the Conservatives. Cannings gathered the most votes by far in Rossland, with a plurality of at least 50 votes in all but one polling station in that city.
The Liberals didn’t win any of the nearly 300 polls in the region.
In Castlegar, Cannings picked up all but one polling station, and split neighbouring Ootischenia with the Conservatives with two polls each.
The communities along Highway 3 between Castlegar and Nelson were overwhelmingly orange. Robson, Raspberry, Thrums, Tarrys, and Shoreacres all voted strongly for Cannings.
Cannings lost all four polls in Nakusp narrowly to the Conservatives, while winning one in nearby Brouse, by one vote.
The entire Slocan Valley went overwhelmingly to the NDP candidate, however, with large pluralities for Cannings in Hills, New Denver, Silverton, Vallican, Appledale, Winlaw, Slocan Park, Crescent Valley and Pass Creek.
Deer Park favoured the Conservative candidate.
Moving west, Conservative Helena Konanz won six of ten polls in Grand Forks, and handily swept the south Okanagan communities of OK Falls, Oliver and Osoyoos. Christina Lake, Greenwood, Rock Creek, Bridesville and Westbridge also went strongly Tory.
The Green candidate didn’t do so well in her home town of Rossland. While Tara Howse did out-poll the Conservatives in all but two of the polls, she came in a distant second behind Cannings. The party’s strongest support was in the Slocan Valley towns of Hills, New Denver, Vallican and Winlaw, where they came in a distant second behind Cannings, and just above the Conservatives.
The newly-founded People’s Party struggled for traction in the riding. It gathered about 80 votes from the Trail and Highway 22 communities in the eastern part of the riding, but was mostly single-digit elsewhere in the Kootenays. The party outdid the Liberals at polls in Appledale and Vallican.
Since the election Oct. 21, Elections Canada had listed two polls as unreported in the area. There’s no word on which polls they were or why they were unreported on election night, though they have since reported in. Those polls show both the NDP and Conservatives gained 505 votes each; the liberals were up 225 votes, Greens 152 and People’s Party 50.
The final tally for the election for the South Okanagan West Kootenay riding was: NDP 24,809; Conservative 24,013; Liberal 11,705; Green 5,672; People’s Party 1,638; Independent 359.
Cannings won the riding by 796 votes.