Jody Wilson-Raybould’s profile has meant that the massive constituency has been one of the most talked-about areas in Canada
We're not sure if you’ve heard, but there’s a federal election coming up. BCBusiness profiles the ridings in the province that are most vulnerable, according to 338Canada.com. Today’s edition focuses on Vancouver Granville.
We’re less than a week away from the federal election. And that feels like the right time to talk about Vancouver Granville.
One of the most interesting ridings across the country, the current incumbent has made headlines across Canada this year.
You’re probably familiar enough with the story already, so here are the CliffsNotes.
Jody Wilson-Raybould, the attorney general, was shifted out of that post and into veterans affairs. Soon after, it was revealed that the prime minister’s office exerted inappropriate pressure on her over a case involving Quebec conglomerate SNC-Lavalin. Oh, and she was kicked out of caucus, pledging to run as an independent.
Now the real fun begins.
What happened previously?
As a Liberal, Wilson-Raybould rode the red wave to an easy victory, capturing close to 44 percent of the votes cast. The NDP and Conservative Party both came in at just above 26 percent of the vote.
Vancouver Granville was created in 2013, but redistributed results from 2011 suggest that the Conservative Party would have won 35 percent of the vote and the seat in that contest.
All that is to say that the riding dynamics are much different now.
Wilson-Raybould is running again and is hoping to become the first Independent to win a B.C. seat in a federal election since Chuck Cadman took Surrey in 2004.
Of course, few Canadian political figures have ever achieved the celebrity of Wilson-Raybould.
Trying to keep the riding red against JWR’s powerful presence is not an enviable task, and Taleeb Noormohamed has his work cut out for him.
Taleeb Noormohamed on Twitter
The tech entrepreneur is a good talker and seems well versed on the issues at hand. He’s run for the Liberals before, when he lost to Conservative Andrew Saxton in North Vancouver.
He also planned to run for Vision Vancouver in the recent mayoral election before bowing out due to a health problem. He’s back now, though, and has looked capable in all-candidates meetings in the lead-up to the election.
It might be the best shot he ever gets to be an MP.
Zach Segal will be representing the Conservative Party. The fourth-generation Vancouverite has a BA from UBC and a master’s in international relations from the University of London's School of Oriental and African Studies.
He’s also worked for Andrew Scheer’s party in Ottawa, and more recently for the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. in Vancouver.
The NDP candidate is Yvonne Hanson, who has shown a keen knowledge of the issues (particularly environmental ones) in all-candidates’ meetings.
Yvonne Hanson on Twitter
The 24-year-old SFU grad is in tough here but is identifying herself as someone to watch for in the future.
The Green Party candidate is realtor Louise Boutin, while Naomi Chocyk is running under the People’s Party of Canada banner.
What are the key issues?
It’s Vancouver, so housing is going to be first and foremost. But there’s also the opioid crisis and challenges around public infrastructure, including transit.
Of course, Wilson-Raybould is making this campaign about something else entirely. That would be the role of parliamentarians in Canada’s government. JWR believes that elected MPs shouldn’t be held to the wills of their party.
It’s easy for her to say that in her current position, but it’s also easy to see that message resonating with Vancouver Granville residents—even if the riding itself is massive and as diverse as any in the country.
What do the polls say?
Wilson-Raybould and Noormohamed have been back and forth during the campaign. Right now, the incumbent holds a slight lead (she’s polling at 31.2 percent compared to his 28.4).
Segal isn’t too far behind, though. Latest estimates had the Conservative candidate at 19.8 percent. The NDP is at 11 percent (it’s increased substantially in the past couple weeks), while the Greens are seeing just over 7 percent.
It’s among the toughest ridings to call in Canada.
Wilson-Raybould has a chance to appeal directly to her constituency. She hasn’t made direct promises, really, because who knows what kind of power she’ll be able to wield?
But her message of sticking up for what’s right, and for fighting for a distinct region of people is hard to ignore.
And who better to bring that call to than the residents of Vancouver’s west side? We’re not saying Vancouverites tend to be narcissistic or self-righteous, but we also aren’t not saying it.
Count on JWR making history on Monday night.