NDP break Liberals in NWT
by Chris Woodall, Mike W.
Bryant and Dorothy Westerman
The New Democratic Party and candidate Dennis Bevington broke the 16-year Liberal Party grip that incumbent Ethel Blondin-Andrew had on the Western Arctic riding, with his election win Monday night.
For Bevington, it's a win that is finally his to savour. In the 2004 election, he came within 53 votes of winning. This time around Yellowknife proved to be the battleground, although it wasn't until polls from Inuvik were reported that the NDP knew they had the riding won.
"I think the last time was really the key," a jubilant Bevington said.
"We had to show people that we could win. I think we did that last time, and then people responded to the opportunity for a change."
At the close of the vote, Bevington had 6,801 votes. Blondin-Andrew had 5,643 votes.
Conservative Candidate Richard Edjericon was a distant third with 2,901 votes. Green Party's Alexandre Beaudin and independent Jan van der Veen were far behind.
Just after 11 p.m., Ethel Blondin-Andrew conceded to NDP candidate elect Dennis Bevington.
"He has enormous challenges," Blondin-Andrew said during her speech.
After congratulating Bevington, Blondin-Andrew promised she wouldn't be an "armchair critic."
Bevington said the next parliament coming up will be a challenging one. Now that a conservative minority has been elected, the federal government no longer holds the Western Arctic.
Nonetheless, he insists the Territories will still be on the government's radar, he said.
"We have so much going on here, we have so much development that's occurring here, we have so many demands in terms of land claims," said Bevington.
"We're going to start on a new slate in terms of a minority Conservative government that's going to have to respect New Democrats in the house of Commons."