B.C. ag minister, ag critic hang on in election

B.C. Agriculture Minister Norm Letnick, shown here last October promoting the province’s income tax credit for farmers donating agricultural products to registered charities, held his Kelowna riding in the provincial election Tuesday night. (Gov.bc.ca)

British Columbia’s incumbent agriculture minister and opposition agriculture critic have both held onto their seats in the legislature so far through the province’s harrowing election Tuesday.

Complete results aren’t expected to be available until after the final count starting May 22, but preliminary results put the province’s governing Liberals in minority status with 43 of 87 seats, just ahead of the New Democrats with 41 and the Green Party holding the balance of power with three.

Agriculture Minister Norm Letnick easily held his riding of Kelowna-Lake Country, scoring 13,834 votes, well ahead of the NDP’s Erik Olesen and Green Party’s Alison Shaw with 4,753 and 4,416 votes respectively.

Lana Popham, the agriculture critic for the opposition NDP, has so far held her riding of Saanich South, earning 10.904 votes against Liberal challenger David Calder with 8,113 and the Greens’ Mark Neufeld with 6,497, with four of 78 ballot boxes still to be counted as of Wednesday morning.

Among other previous handlers of the ag file, former ag minister Steve Thomson easily held his riding of Kelowna-Mission for the Liberals. Former NDP ag critic Nick Simons also held his riding of Powell River-Sunshine Coast.

The Liberals and NDP gathered 40.8 and 39.9 per cent of the popular vote respectively, with 734,018 votes and 716,474 votes as of Wednesday morning, ahead of the Greens with 300,980 (16.75 per cent). — AGCanada.com Network

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