Jackie Tegart watches a TV in Ashcroft on Tuesday night, as polls trickle in. (Lori Pilon photo)

Jackie Tegart watches a TV in Ashcroft on Tuesday night, as polls trickle in. (Lori Pilon photo)

Tegart wins; Lali blames Greens

Fraser-Nicola has given four more years to BC Liberal Party’s Jackie Tegart.

BC Liberal Party candidate Jackie Tegart has been re-elected as the MLA of Fraser-Nicola.

According to Elections BC, Tegart has a 706-vote lead as compared to the BC NDP’s Harry Lali. She got 42.4 per cent of the vote with 6,181 votes while Lali got 37.6 per cent of the vote with 5,475 votes.

About 36 supporters turned up at a gathering with Tegart in Ashcroft, as loud cheers continued throughout Tuesday night as favourable polls trickle in from Cache Creek, Walhacjhin, and Ashcroft. Supporters shouted cheers and chants of “Jackie! Jackie! Jackie!” when the final Ashcroft poll comes in and that Tegart has taken them all handily.

Then came a phone call from their riding president at 9:55 p.m. on Tuesday, declaring Tegart the winner. Supporters cheered and hugged, followed by the popping of champagne corks.

“We’re certainly celebrating a victory tonight,” said Tegart. “It means four more years of moving projects forward for Fraser-Nicola. I’m excited to have Hope be part of the new riding, and looking forward to working with the community of Hope and we’ve got some projects on the go.

“We’ve certainly heard concerns on the doorstep and we know there’s lots of work to be done.”

Tegart highlighted areas such as tourism, jobs and health care as areas of focus.

Tegart said her support came down to her image as a person who listens.

“I am someone who doesn’t come into communities and tells them how to fix things but will sit down and work with them on how we can look for solutions,” said Tegart. “I think that resonated.”

In her first few weeks, Tegart said she wants to see the final results for the province, and what that means for governance. Asked how she would bridge the divides between NDP supporters and Green supporters in Fraser-Nicola, Tegart said during elections, people have different political persuasions, but the successful candidate must represent everybody.

“So I want people to know that and to know that our door is open and we’re interested in working with everyone,” said Tegart.

For Lali, it’s back to his day job. He said he would not do anything differently because “we fought a good fight.”

“I feel good because we did the best that we could,” said Lali. “At the end of the day people chose Christy Clark and the Liberals over the NDP.”

Lali blames the Greens for taking votes from him. BC Green Party’s Arthur Green took 16 per cent of the votes, or 2,336 votes.

“Those votes came out of the NDP and they came out of mine, so basically, the Greens were a big factor in terms of us not winning this riding,” said Lali. “The provincial scene, with the Greens going up, they went up basically almost everywhere and the NDP picked up some seats in urban B.C., but we lost a couple of seats in rural B.C.

“It’s reflected here in Fraser Nicola as well. This is a winnable seat, we could have won it and we didn’t, and it’s a commentary on the kind of campaign that the BC NDP ran.”

Hope stood out as one of the bigger supporters for Lali, with many polls voting for Lali. To his supporters, Lali said, “Keep your chin up.”

“There will be another day. Next election, and we got four years to rebuild the party. I’m not leaving Merritt, and I will help to rebuild Fraser-Nicola NDP.”