Conservative MP-elect for South Surrey-White Rock Kerry-Lynne Findlay exchanges a fist-bump with Leader Erin O’Toole during O’Toole’s campaign visit to Surrey. (Kerry-Lynne Findlay Facebook photo)

Conservative MP-elect for South Surrey-White Rock Kerry-Lynne Findlay exchanges a fist-bump with Leader Erin O’Toole during O’Toole’s campaign visit to Surrey. (Kerry-Lynne Findlay Facebook photo)

Conservative Findlay maintains hold of South Surrey-White Rock seat

Liberal challenger Gordie Hogg ‘knew there were significant challenges’

It appears Conservative Kerry-Lynne Findlay will hold onto her seat as MP for South Surrey-White Rock.

With nearly all of the riding’s polling-station results in as of Tuesday – and a voter turnout of almost 60 per cent – Findlay had a solid lead over her main challenger, Liberal Gordie Hogg, with 22,528 votes (42.7 per cent) to Hogg’s 20,299 (38.5 per cent), and said she is “just thrilled” to be re-elected.

“It looks like we bucked some political trends here,” she told Peace Arch News late Monday.

“I think it’s due to the fact that people understand that I work hard, they know how much I care and my team has been wonderful at connecting with voters along with me and doing what needs to be done to get our message out.”

NDP candidate June Liu finished with a strong hold on third place in the polls, with 7,811 votes, well ahead of fourth-place People’s Party of Canada candidate Gary Jensen (2,101 votes).

The final tallies will change, as counting of mail-in ballots only got underway Tuesday (Sept. 21). It was expected to take a number of days to complete.

Findlay’s projected victory, meanwhile, marks her second in the riding. She first took the seat in 2019, defeating Hogg after a two-year term that resulted from a byelection called in 2017 after Dianne Watts stepped down for a run at the provincial Liberal leadership.

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The area has long been considered a conservative stronghold – blips in the run since 1949 include Hogg’s 2017 win and that of the NDP’s Barry Mather, whose political career included two years as Surrey-White Rock MP (1972-‘74) and four as Surrey MP (1968-‘72).

Hogg said Tuesday that that “breakthrough” was an opportunity to provide a different perspective for a time, and that he went into the latest election “knowing that there were significant challenges, particularly the issue of why there was an election.”

“We faced that, and some negativity towards the leader as well,” he said.

Findlay said earlier this month that she initially felt the decision to call a federal election this year was an opportunistic move by Liberal leader Justin Trudeau, but that “after a few days of getting upset about it, I decided to embrace it as an opportunity to make a change in Ottawa.”

Following Monday’s results, she said she’s “looking forward to getting back to Ottawa, representing the needs and wishes of the citizens of South Surrey-White Rock.”

The Conservatives’ plan for post-pandemic economic recovery includes an emphasis on things like housing affordability by using government resources to increase housing stock, supporting small and independent businesses, and an ambitious employment plan to use wage subsidies to recover one million jobs lost during the pandemic.

Hogg said his team “ran as good a campaign as we could and could have,” with a focus on local issues including the pier, coal trains and the Semiahmoo First Nation.

Asked if he felt that calling the election was a good idea, he said “I think across Canada, people spoke and put it right back roughly where it was before.”

“People said they basically were OK the way we were,” he continued. “I’m not sure what that says, but certainly I heard lots of that on the doorsteps, people expressing concerns about that.”

While Hogg said he is feeling positive moving forward, and that he’ll “always” be involved politically at some level, for now, he plans to “rest a little bit and refocus,” including taking a fresh look at pre-election requests to sit on “two or three” more non-profit boards.

– with files from Alex Browne

(* This story has been adjusted from the original version to correct historical information regarding political parties that have held the riding.)

Canada Election 2021federal electionSurreyWhite Rock