One of the polling stations in the Burns Lake area was set up in the gymnasium of Island Gospel Fellowship Church for the Oct. 21 election.

Rattée most popular candidate in Burns Lake

Conservative Party candidate Claire Rattée would have won the Skeena-Bulkley Valley riding in the Oct. 21 federal election if it consisted only of polls in the Burns Lake region.

Rattee received 1,195 votes from the 17 polling stations in the Burns Lake area, making her the most popular candidate for local voters, according to the voting results from Elections Canada.

New Democratic Party candidate Taylor Bachrach, who won the riding and will head to Ottawa to represent Skeena-Bulkley Valley, received 759 votes in the Burns Lake region.

LOOK BACK: Skeena-Bulkley Valley once again goes NDP

The 17 stations in the region include eight in and around Burns Lake, two in Topley, two in Francois Lake and one in Granisle, Wistaria, Endako, Southbank and Grassy Plains.

The third most popular candidate in the area was Dave Birdi of the Liberal Party, who garnered 260 votes.

Trailing behind Birdi was Green Party candidate Mike Sawyer who secured 134 votes.

In fifth place was Rod Taylor of the Christian Heritage Party who won 74 votes, followed by Jody Craven of the People’s Party of Canada who got 63 votes, and Independents Danny Nunes and Merv Ritchie who received five and four votes respectively.

The 2019 election showed that voters in the Burns Lake area are turning away from the NDP compared to the last federal election.

In the 2015 polls, Nathan Cullen of the NDP won 1,143 votes and the Conservative candidate Tyler Nesbitt secured 1,077. Liberal candidate Brad Layton got 488 votes.

This year in neighbouring Houston the vote patterns were similar to Burns Lake. Rattée received 1,028 votes, Bachrach 305, Birdi 178, Taylor 90, Sawyer 70, Craven 46, Nunes five and Ritchie two.

Across the riding Bachrach received 16,944 votes or 40.9 per cent of the turnout, with Rattée collecting 13,756 votes for 33.2 per cent of the turnout. Birdi came third with 4,793 votes or 11.6 per cent of the turnout with Sawyer coming in fourth with 3,280 votes or 7.9 per cent of the turnout.

Taylor was next with 1,350 votes or 3.3 per cent while Craven gathered 940 votes or 2.3 per cent. Nunes collected 164 votes for 0.4 per cent while Ritchie had 157 votes for 0.4 per cent.

There was a total of 41,384 votes cast with 267 being rejected. With 66,421 electors on the voters list, the turn out was 62.7 per cent, a drop from the 68.26 per cent turn out in 2015.

Cullen announced on March 1 of this year that he wouldn’t run again, paving the way for Smithers mayor Taylor Bachrach to contest the seat, which he secured in the Oct. 21 poll.

LOOK BACK: Nathan Cullen not seeking re-election

Bachrach resigned his mayoral post on Nov. 3 and a new mayor will be elected in a byelection in 2020 now that he is on his way to Ottawa.

READ MORE: Bachrach officially resigns as Smithers mayor

READ MORE: Town waiting until 2020 for mayoral byelection

Rattée, a tattoo parlour business owner from Kitimat and former municipal councillor in that community, won the Conservative nomination in the spring by defeating Craven who then joined the People’s Party of Canada.

Skeena-Bulkley Valley is the largest federal riding in British Columbia by geographical size and comprises the entire northwest corner of the province. Its population is 88,920, according to Statistics Canada data from 2016.

with files from Rod Link

Blair McBride
Multimedia reporter
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