Fraser-Nicola BC Liberal Party candidate Jackie Tegart with supporters on the Ashcroft bridge, Oct. 21, 2020. Tegart gained the MLA seat for her third term, after B.C.’s snap election Oct. 24. Photo credit: Barbara Roden

Fraser-Nicola BC Liberal Party candidate Jackie Tegart with supporters on the Ashcroft bridge, Oct. 21, 2020. Tegart gained the MLA seat for her third term, after B.C.’s snap election Oct. 24. Photo credit: Barbara Roden

Jackie Tegart wins Fraser-Nicola seat

Incumbent BC Liberal Party candidate re-takes the seat after Oct. 24 snap provincial election

BC Liberal Party candidate Jackie Tegart won the Fraser-Nicola race in B.C.’s snap election, after mail-in ballot counting in the riding was finalized this weekend.

Tegart re-took the seat 282 votes ahead of BC NDP candidate Aaron Sumexheltza. It will be her third term as MLA for the swing riding, which has in the last two elections been won with narrow margins yet none as narrow as the under 300 votes that separate Tegart from Sumexheltza.

The riding, created in 2009, was first won by the NDP’s Harry Lali. In 2013, the riding switched to the Liberals, when first-time provincial candidate Tegart defeated Lali (by 614 votes). It was a feat she would repeat in 2017, once again defeating Lali (this time by 524 votes). The 2017 margin of victory was one of the six lowest in the province.

The results for the riding are as follows:

Dennis Adamson (Independent): 438 votes (3.2 per cent)

Mike Bhangu (Independent): 343 votes (2.51 per cent)

Aaron Sumexheltza (BC NDP): 5,414 votes (39.58 per cent)

Jackie Tegart (BC Liberal Party): 5,696 votes (41.64 per cent)

Jonah Timms (BC Green Party): 1,788 votes (13.07 per cent)

Tegart said she is excited to go back to the legislature as a member of a “strong opposition.”

“This is a critical time for British Columbia. We only have to look at the impacts of COVID to know that we need a strong voice for the Interior of British Columbia and also for small business.” Tegart is looking ahead at the February budget – one of the most important budgets the province will deliver – and what programs will be included for small businesses and others impacted by the pandemic. The other focus is “programs that are actually accessible,” she said, making sure that the stated aims of the programs live up to what they actually deliver and don’t involve multiple hoops to jump through.

Another focus is ensuring communities in the riding have projects shovel-ready to take advantage of government funding. “We’re going to see deficit budgeting for quite some time…What I want to do is make sure that the priority projects in the riding are on the top of the list, that we’re given serious consideration and that we see some success in receiving dollars from the provincial government.” This includes Tegart’s promise to continue lobbying to fund the rehabilitation of Othello Road.

About her narrow margin of victory, Tegart said the riding has always been a close one and elections have shown the importance of casting a ballot. “It again reinforces that, for people who sometimes think that their vote doesn’t count, every vote counts and how important it is on voting day or advanced voting or mail-in. That you take the time,” she said.

Tegart thanked the other candidates who ran, adding she will be working with them as they showed a great deal of interest in the riding. “We were very fortunate to have a good slate of candidates, it was a very respectful campaign,” she said.

Runner up Sumexheltza congratulated Tegart and the other candidates in the race on Twitter.

“Congrats to Jackie Tegart and all those who put their names forward as candidates for the Fraser Nicola riding,” he said. “Thank you to all the voters.”

A first-time provincial candidate, runner up Sumexheltza challenged Lali for the NDP nomination in the riding in 2016 (at which time he was using the surname Sam). Lali was asked by NDP leader John Horgan to step aside in favour of Sumexheltza, but declined, and won the nomination before going on to defeat at the polls.

This year, Sumexheltza won the nomination by acclamation; a decision that caused the entire Fraser-Nicola NDP riding association executive to resign in protest.

One of those executive members — former vice president Dennis Adamson — ran as an Independent candidate in the riding and garnered 438 votes, higher than the margin of victory separating Tegart from Sumexheltza. Adamson is well-known in the lower portion of the riding, having been an Electoral Area director for the Fraser Valley Regional District since 2008.

Another person with local government experience that ran as an Independent in the riding was Bhangu, a first-term councillor for the City of Merritt.

The BC Green Party was represented by Timms, a first-time provincial candidate, who ran in a riding which has seen support for the Greens rise since 2009 when the party received 6.53 per cent of the votes cast. In 2013, the party gained 9.66 per cent of the vote and 15.96 per cent (2,519 votes) in 2017. Despite coming in under the 2017 percentage, the Greens still managed this fall election to garner 13.07 per cent of the votes cast (1,788 votes).

Across B.C., the counting of 660,000 mail-in ballots was finalized over the weekend.

The BC NDP, which it was clear had won a majority even on election night Oct. 24, clarified the number of seats they will have in the legislature – 57 of 87 seats. This includes Abbotsford-Mission and Chilliwack-Kent. The BC Liberals won 28 seats, one of which – West Vancouver-Sea-to Sky – is pending a judicial recount following a very close race. The BC Green Party will hold two seats.

– Files from Canadian Press, Barbara Roden

BC Votes 2020hope

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

RCMP don’t want to see you having your vehicle towed away after an aggressive driving infraction. (RCMP photo)
Chilliwack RCMP hand out more than 500 tickets in aggressive driving crackdown

Police say they’ll continue to focus on speeding, aggressive and distracted driving

Home sales for November in the Chilliwack and District Real Estate Board were profitable for sellers because of historically low supply. (Paul Henderson/ The Progress)
Historically low supply leads to higher prices in Chilliwack real estate market

City dwellers want to relocate to the eastern Fraser Valley and are willing to pay a high price

Riders will need to don face coverings to ski and snowboard at Manning this winter. (Manning Park Resort photo)
Manning Park slopes open early

Early season snowfall allowed for opening this weekend, 56 centimetre snow base recorded Nov. 30

Mr. Bergen, a statue of a working man, was stolen from a porch in Popkum on Nov. 18, along with a marble statue. (Submitted photo)
Heavy statue and fountain thieved off porch in Popkum

Rightful owner has had statue for 27 years and wants it returned

The winning home of the 2019 Hope Christmas Lights contest was on Cypress Street. Residents have until Dec. 5 to sign their street up for this year’s contest. (Submitted photo)
Holiday cheer, even in a pandemic year

Here’s what is happening in Hope and area as the holiday season kicks off

Motorists wait to enter a Fraser Health COVID-19 testing facility, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, Nov. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Another 694 diagnosed with COVID-19 in B.C. Thursday

Three more health care outbreaks, 12 deaths

Cops converge in a Marshall Road parking lot on Thursday afternoon following a reported police incident. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)
Federal offender escapes, gets shot at and is taken back into custody in Abbotsford

Several branches of law enforcement find escapee a short distance from where he fled

A demonstrator wears representations of sea lice outside the Fisheries and Oceans Canada offices in downtown Vancouver Sept. 24, demanding more action on the Cohen Commission recommendations to protect wild Fraser River sockeye. (Quinn Bender photo)
First Nations renew call to revoke salmon farm licences

Leadership council implores use of precautionary principle in Discovery Islands

Ten-month-old Aidan Deschamps poses for a photo with his parents Amanda Sully and Adam Deschamps in this undated handout photo. Ten-month-old Aidan Deschamps was the first baby in Canada to be diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy through Ontario’s newborn screening program. The test was added to the program six days before he was born. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Children’s Hospital Eastern Ontario *MANDATORY CREDIT*
First newborn tested for spinal muscular atrophy in Canada hits new milestones

‘If Aidan had been born any earlier or anywhere else our story would be quite different’

(Pixabay)
Canadians’ mental health has deteriorated with the second wave, study finds

Increased substance use one of the ways people are coping

Lefeuvre Road, near Myrtle Avenue, was blocked to traffic on Thursday (Dec. 3) after an abandoned pickup truck was found on fire. Police are investigating to determine if there are any links to a killing an hour earlier in Surrey. (Shane MacKichan photo)
Torched truck found in Abbotsford an hour after killing in Surrey

Police still investigating to determine if incidents are linked

Surrey Pretrial centre in Newton. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Surrey Pretrial hit with human rights complaint over mattress

The inmate who lodged the complaint said he needed a second mattress to help him manage his arthritis

A coal-fired power plant seen through dense smog from the window of an electric bullet train south of Beijing, December 2016. China has continued to increase thermal coal production and power generation, adding to greenhouse gas emissions that are already the world’s largest. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
LNG featured at B.C. energy industry, climate change conference

Hydrogen, nuclear, carbon capture needed for Canada’s net-zero goal

Most Read