News / Vancouver

'If you’re not prepared to get down and wrestle, you shouldn’t be in the game': Wilkinson

Politicos at both campaign celebrations of tight late-night race have no regrets about negativity of election race.

B.C. Liberal supporters celebrate as results come in on screen at their party's election celebration in downtown Vancouver Tuesday night.

David P. Ball / Metro

B.C. Liberal supporters celebrate as results come in on screen at their party's election celebration in downtown Vancouver Tuesday night.

Although the 2017 election was the nastiest in recent years, few were complaining at either campaign celebrations on Tuesday night as the results came in to cheers and jeers.

"If you’re not prepared to get down and wrestle, you shouldn’t be in the game," said Andrew Wilkinson, who until the campaign started was Minister of Advanced Education. “B.C. has a long history of fairly chippy politics.

"This time both parties decided to get pretty aggressive. And you have to rise to the occasion and take on the battle that’s put in front of you."

He was re-elected handily in Vancouver-Quilchena and was one of the first B.C. Liberal candidates to arrive at his party’s celebrations downtown at the Fairmont Waterfront Hotel, where roughly 100 supports pumped their fists in the air as results were announced, many wearing blue "Keep Calm and Christy On" t-shirts.

More election night stories:

“But across the province, to have it go back and forth between the two parties is very tense,” he told Metro. “There may be some recounts and absentee ballots mailed in won’t be counted for a couple weeks — an interesting scenario could play out over the next weeks.”
 
As for the negativity of the campaign — which saw the B.C. NDP targeted for union donations and its 1990s economic record, and the B.C. Liberals targeted on transparency, affordability, and political donations — Wilkinson had no regrets and praised his party leader, Christy Clark, for her campaign.

At the B.C. New Democrat campaign party in the Vancouver Convention Centre, tensions were high but boisterous every time an NDP candidate appeared to advance in the polls displayed as they flipped between network television channels. The atmosphere was raucous, although campaign staffers remarked that the nail-bitingly close results were overwhelmingly unnerving.

Shane Simpson, who was re-elected for Vancouver-Hastings, told Metro he too was confident his riding was secure, but was watching the rest of the province cautiously.

"Mostly, I've been interested in what would happen provincially," he said. "It looks this time like the pollsters were right in saying it would be tight right up to the end."

As to whether his party leader succeeded, after the 2013 campaign saw Adrian Dix lose the election after going into election day with a commanding lead, Simpson said in hindsight "you can always tweak things, but you'll always find challenges.

"I think John (Horgan) did a fabulous job of delivering our platform and campaign," he said.

More on Metronews.ca