3 under-reported stories from the B.C. election

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      MLAs will return to the legislature on June 22 for what promises to be exciting times in B.C. politics.

      But some politicians narrowly missed crossing the finish line first in their constituencies. And had the parties approached this campaign slightly differently, perhaps British Columbians would have elected a majority government.

      Here are three apects of the campaign that haven't received much attention.

      1. NDP candidate Aman Singh barely losing to B.C. Liberal Jas Johal in Richmond-Queensborough

      The B.C. New Democrats didn't throw all of their resources at this constituency, believing that former Global BC broadcaster Jas Johal was a star candidate and unlikely to lose. Besides, the B.C. Liberals always win in Richmond, or so the narrative goes.

      In fact, Singh fell just 134 votes short and was far ahead in Queensborough, which is part of New Westminster.

      This occurred despite Singh, a multilingual lawyer, having once defended Inderjit Singh Reyat, who made the bombs placed on two Air India jets in 1985. This didn't endear Singh to the leadership of the influential Ross Street Sikh Temple across the Fraser River in South Vancouver.

      Partly as a result of this, Johal was able to squeek out a narrow win.

      With a little more effort from the party's head office, perhaps Aman Singh (right) would be joining John Horgan's caucus in Victoria.
      Charlie Smith

      2. B.C. Liberal candidate Naomi Yamamoto's surprising loss to the NDP's Bowinn Ma in North Vancouver–Lonsdale

      Much was made of B.C. Liberal Leader Christy Clark's brief encounter with a woman named Linda in a North Vancouver grocery store. However, Yamamoto's downfall was really caused by the political mobilization of Iranian Canadians in the constituency. They were thrilled by the nomination of one of their own as the NDP candidate in nearby West Vancouver–Capilano. And Ma and Horgan assiduously courted Iranian Canadians for a long time in advance of voting day.

      It didn't help Yamamoto that Clark has been an ardent and uniquivocal supporter of the state of Israel. That's because North Vancouver–Lonsdale is home to many Muslims of Persian ancestry, and Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has slammed efforts by western countries to create a lasting peace with Iran. 

      On election night, Ma won by nearly 2,000 votes against a candidate who wasn't disliked in her constituency.

      Two-term B.C. Liberal MLA Naomi Yamamoto's loss can be partially attributed to the impact of voters of Persian ancestry.

      3. Christy Clark's failure to connect with voters of South Asian ancestry

      The B.C. Liberals lost many consituencies with a large number of voters of South Asian heritage. The primary reason—the B.C. Liberals' promise to allow ride-sharing services like Uber—has received media coverage. But the premier failed in other areas.

      She tried to make the case that Gurminder Singh Parihar would make history by being the first turbaned Sikh elected to the legislature. He lost badly to the NDP's Harry Bains in Surrey-Newton.

      Clark also proclaimed April as Sikh Heritage Month and recognized South Asian historic places. That proved to be a political bust.

      And perhaps worst of all, she relied on a former senior RCMP officer, Amrik Virk, to act as her primary liaison to the South Asian community. Virk was thumped by more than 2,000 votes in Surrey-Guildford by a white candidate, the NDP's Garry Begg, who is also a former senior Mountie.