The NDP’s Jagrup Brar has won in Surrey-Fleetwood, defeating the BC Liberals’ Peter Fassbender.
Deafening cheers greeted the news at Surrey NDP headquarters Wednesday night.
“I’m very excited to see this moment that the people of Surrey have very clearly spoken, they’ve spoken for a change,” he told the Now-Leader.
“For the past 16 years BCL have neglected the needs of this fast-growing community. So that’s why people have very clearly spoken in Surrey…. I will stand up for the issues in the legislature.”
With 74 of 86 polls reporting, Brar received 7,141 votes, compared to Fassbender’s 5,164. The Green’s Tim Binnema had 1,458.
Fassbender said education was clearly important to voters.
“Having been education minister, education was a big issue in Surrey,” he said. “We need to build more schools. At the end of the day, you have to accept what people say. I’m very proud of the team I worked with, proud of the position we took on the issues.
“I make no apologies for that.”
Tolls were also a polarizing issue, Fassbender added.
Brar and Fassbender are old rivals.
This was Brar’s fifth provincial election campaign, and Fassbender’s second. Before running for provincial office, Fassbender served as a city councillor in Langley from 2002 to 2005 and as mayor of the City of Langley from 2005 to 2013.
Brar started as the NDP MLA for Surrey-Panorama Ridge but migrated from that to run for office in Surrey-Fleetwood in 2009, when he became the riding’s first-ever MLA with 49.29 per cent of the vote.
As Liberal MLA for Surrey-Fleetwood, Fassbender served as minister of education, and minister of community, sport, cultural development and minister responsible for TransLink.
In the 2013 election he took 45.65 per cent of the popular vote, defeating runner-up Brar by 265 votes.
This riding is unique in that the three candidates who ran in the 2013 election also ran this time around. Longtime Fleetwood resident Tim Binnema of the BC Green Party also sought office in Surrey-Fleetwood.
Surrey-Fleetwood is a suburban riding that was established under the Electoral Districts Act in 2008. It has a population of 60,477 and its average age is 37.7 years old. It is 17 square kilometres in size and for 55.24 per cent of its residents, English is a second language.