British Columbia Battlegrounds: A two-horse race gets heated in Delta

The suburban district will be key for the Conservative Party on October 21.

Carla Qualtrough is hoping to recapture Delta for the Liberals 

The suburban district will be key for the Conservative Party on October 21

We’re not sure if you’ve heard, but there’s a federal election in October. In the coming weeks, BCBusiness will profile the ridings in the province that are most vulnerable, according to Today’s edition focuses on Delta.

There are some ridings that, depending on how they go, might tell the whole story of the upcoming federal election. Delta falls into that category.

It remains to be seen if the history books will portray 2015 as a complete anomaly for the fact that the Liberal Party gobbled up a sizable portion of Vancouver’s suburbs. It’s an odd outlier already, and if the past is any indicator, the cities and towns bordering B.C.’s biggest city are ready to show their true colours. 

For Delta, that’s blue.

The riding, created from Newton–North Delta and Delta–Richmond East before the 2015 election, gave 49 percent of the vote to the Liberals and Carla Qualtrough, now minister of public services and procurement and accessibility.

Votes will be much harder to come by for Qualtrough and the Liberals this time around.

What happened previously?

As we mentioned, Qualtrough ran away with the vote in 2015, plastering former Delta–Richmond East MP Kerry-Lynne Findlay.

But the redistributed results from the 2011 election (that is, how things would have fared if the current boundary was in place then) show that the Conservatives would have triumphed handily. That goes with the historic roots of this riding, too, which was at one point a safe haven for the now-defunct Reform Party.

Former MP John Cummins has long roots representing the area. He later became the founder of the uber-right-wing British Columbia Conservative Party.

Tanya Corbet is hoping to win over a key riding for the Conservative Party

Who’s running?

Qualtrough is back, and this time her main rival is a feisty former Tsawwassen First Nation councillor named Tanya Corbet.

A member of numerous boards in the region, Corbet racked up several endorsements on the way to her nomination, from a former mayor, an MLA and two former MPs.

She’s also aggressively advocated for a Massey Tunnel replacement (even though that’s not under federal jurisdiction) and will do her best to rally a riding that had the fifth-highest voter turnout in B.C. last time out. She’ll get a prime chance to do that at three all-candidates meetings, including one this week.  

Former Delta school trustee candidate and electrician by trade Randy Anderson-Fennell will be representing the NDP, while 2018 civic election contender Craig DeCraene, who works in auto glass repair, carries the Green Party banner. Accountant Angelina Ireland will be running for the People’s Party of Canada.

What are the key issues?

Housing and the economy will be at the forefront of this race, like in most parts of the province. But the Massey Tunnel issue is a big one.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stopped in the area this week to make an announcement about climate change (his government will help people make their homes more environment-friendly), but he also promised to fund the Massey project when the provincial government decides on a direction.

The question is whether voters get impatient and respond to Corbet’s immediate calls to action, even if the federal government isn’t to blame on the issue.

What do the polls say?

The Liberals started out with a big lead, but that has since evaporated. Right now, 338Canada has the Conservatives at 37 percent of the popular vote, a hair behind the Liberals, who are seeing 39-percent support. 

The NDP is polling at just over 11 percent, with the Greens just under 9 percent and the People’s Party hovering around 2.5.


As we mentioned earlier, this is one of those take-the-pulse-of-the-country ridings. The Conservatives are leading in B.C., and though they aren’t ahead in the polls here, we think Delta is ripe for the taking.

Qualtrough has major cred as a two-time cabinet minister, but Corbet’s reputation with local businesses and the Indigenous powers that be will be tough to combat. Factor in the region’s right-wing past, and it’s hard to see Delta painted in anything but blue come October 21.