Lali not ready to hang up his political hat

By on May 17, 2017

Despite losing a second consecutive election, longtime BC NDP member and Merrittonian Harry Lali isn’t ruling out a political comeback.

“I never say never,” he said. “We’ll just have to wait and see.” He added that he still intends to be involved with the BC NDP, as he is part of the party’s executive as the regional representative from the southern Interior.

Lali came up short of incumbent Liberal candidate Jackie Tegart who has now won the traditionally NDP stronghold of Fraser-Nicola twice in a row.

He lost to Tegart by 707 votes this year —a slightly larger margin than the 614-vote difference in 2013.

The former MLA said he blamed his election night loss on the Green Party candidate Arthur Green splitting the vote.

“Still a couple thousand votes left to be counted [but] I don’t expect any miracles out of that,” said Lali, referring to absentee votes that still need to be counted.

Green party candidate Arthur Green, from Hope received 2,336 votes in this election — 1,022 more than Ashcroft’s John Kidder, who amassed 1,314 votes when he ran for the Greens in 2013.

Green earned about 16 per cent of the vote to Kidder’s 9.6 per cent.

“If you look at the Liberal candidate, she got exactly the same amount, give or take 100, as the election before [this one],” said Lali.

Tegart received 180 more votes in this election than she did in 2013, but received 42.4 per cent of the popular vote compared to about 44 per cent in the last election.

In a letter, Green said he takes exception to Lali blaming him for stealing votes from his campaign.

“This of course, makes no sense, as it’s my electoral duty to do exactly that. It could easily be said that all three other candidates did the same to me,” stated Green. “I suspect [that in] the next provincial election, the Green vote will continue to grow, at both the expense of the NDP, and Liberals. We are not going away.”

The Green Party won three ridings for the first time in the 2017 provincial election and currently hold the balance of power in a minority government situation. The BC Liberals won 43 ridings and the NDP won 41, but 44 are required to form a majority government.

Lali said he believes most of Green’s votes would have gone to him, adding that the Green Party made inroads in Hope, which is an area he traditionally does well in.

Green said he believes that Lali ran a negative campaign that cost him support.

In all six debates, and even in his advertising, a clear picture of his party moving forward was second, compared to bashing our Liberal counterpart,” stated Green.

The Fraser-Nicola riding was altered from its 2013 make-up; axing Princeton and adding Hope, which was once part of the riding when it was called Yale-Lilloet.

“I’m a 51-year Merrittonian. You’re not going to find me leaving this valley anytime soon,” said Lali.

“I’ll continue to be part of my party — win, lose or draw,” he said.

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