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Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Elected as a Member of the British Columbia Legislative Assembly for the Constituency of Saanich South on May 12, 2009. New Democratic Opposition Critic for the Ministry of Agriculture and Lands. Raised on Quadra Island and has an undergraduate degree from the University of British Columbia. Extensive track record as a community leader, advocate and environmental activist.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Saanich News: Election Wrap SAANICH SOUTH

Saanich News
Election Wrap SAANICH SOUTH: Popham pledges push for light rail

By Keith Vass - Saanich News

Published: May 14, 2009 2:00 PM
Updated: May 14, 2009 2:18 PM

Lana Popham wasn’t quite ready to believe the result until the last poll was counted.

“I needed to see my name with that check mark beside it and that didn’t happen until 11:30,” said the newly-elected Saanich South MLA, the morning after voters chose her to represent the riding by a narrow margin of 413 votes over her nearest challenger, Liberal candidate Robin Adair.

The close result, in which Popham claimed 47 per cent of ballots cast, made a point she says she’ll take with her to the legislature.

“For me, the message was I’d better work hard for these guys because they put their faith in me last night and I’m not going to let them down.”

Over at McMorran’s Beach house in Cordova Bay, a crowd of more than 200 Adair supporters felt the highs and lows of watching their candidate’s numbers flirt with the lead. During one 30-minute stretch, the running tally went from showing Popham leading by 400 votes, to Adair pulling ahead by 200 and then back to Popham in the lead.

“Everybody said this was going to be a very close race and they were right,” Adair told the crowd when he appeared onstage to concede defeat and thank his team just after 11 p.m.

Adair told reporters his plan now is to return to his communications consulting business.

But he added the community may have had a better shot at winning government infrastructure investments if they’d elected a government member.

“I don’t know how effective (Popham) will be in getting the kind of infrastructure money to Saanich South that (it) needs for overpasses or roadways or buildings or other things it needs,” he said.

Popham countered by saying she will go the legislature as part of a chorus of voices, including community groups and South Island municipalities, calling on the province to invest in light rail transit for the region.

“We may have gotten an overpass if (Adair) was elected ... but I don’t think that’s one of the projects we need,” she said.

Popham will wait to learn if she will be selected for an official critic’s role in the NDP opposition. But the organic vineyard and winery owner said she would like to be considered for the agricultural critic’s job left open by retiring NDP MLA Corky Evans.

She has leased her land and winery to other producers, enabling her to focus on her new job as an MLA, she said.

“But I’m a farmer at heart so I hope I’m able to spend some of my time with that. I also have a 10-year-old son who I need to spend time with,” Popham said.

“It’ll be a challenge, finding the right balance, but I can do it, I’m sure. I’ve got endless energy.”

Saanich South results

X Lana Popham, NDP - 11,141 47.11%

Robin Adair, Lib - 10,728 45.37%

Brian Gordon, Green - 1,551 6.56%

Doug Christie, WCC - 228 0.96%

Results aren’t considered official until Elections B.C. conducts a final count May 25.

Saanich South electoral history

2009 - Lana Popham (NDP)

2005 - David Cubberley (NDP)

2001 - Susan Brice (Lib)

1996 - Andrew Petter (NDP)

1991 - Andrew Petter (NDP)

The riding was created in 1990 after the previous two-member riding of Saanich and the Islands was divided in two.

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