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Election 2019: Key ridings south of the Fraser could make the difference on Oct. 21

Highways 1 and 152 in Surrey, B.C. are seen from the air in the summer of 2019. (Source: Riley Phillips/NEWS 1130)

Several key ridings south of the Fraser in B.C. could have a big impact on the outcome of the federal election

4 of 5 federal Surrey ridings flipped to the Liberals in 2015, but there's no guarantee they can keep them, blogger says

Frank Bucholtz expects a close finish in South Surrey-White Rock, where both the Liberals, Tories have strong bases

SURREY (NEWS 1130) – With B.C poised to be the battleground of the federal election, several key ridings south of the Fraser could make all the difference.

With booming development and a growing population, voters in Surrey will have a major say in the outcome of the federal election.

In the last federal election, four out of the five federal Surrey ridings flipped to the Liberals, but there’s no guarantee they can keep them, according to former journalist and blogger Frank Bucholtz.

He says when it comes to what voters want, the answer is simple.

“Surrey is far in a way the most underserved area by transit in the entire region,” Bucholtz explains. It’s growing very fast, faster than most other municipalities, but transit has been very slow to come. There is funding now available, which is partly federal, to build SkyTrain to Fleetwood, but that still is not going to service the eastern portion of Surrey. In fact, there’s been no SkyTrain link built in Surrey since 1994. That’s an enormous length of time considering the growth that’s taken place here.”

One of the most disputed ridings is South Surrey-White Rock, which was once held by Conservative Dianne Watts, a former mayor of Surrey.

It was a huge victory for Justin Trudeau and the Liberals when Gordie Hogg was able to win the riding over in a 2017 by-election — a first for the party.

“It’s going to be one of the most competitive ones. Liberal MP Gordie Hogg is extremely well known and well liked in the community. He’s the former mayor of White Rock, long-time B.C. Liberal MLA. Popular personally and I think his win of the by-election was due to his own personal popularity,” he says. “Historically, it’s been a more Conservative riding. Dianne Watts didn’t win by a huge margin in 2015, but she did win. She was the only Conservative to win in Surrey.”

Bucholtz is expecting a nail biting finish, as both the Liberals and Conservatives have strong bases in the riding.

“I think the Conservatives have a decent chance at taking back that riding. On the flip side, Gordie Hogg has been very popular. I think he’s been seen by residents there as doing a good job as MP. So he can retain a lot of votes that otherwise they could lose. I feel the same about Cloverdale-Langley City. It’s an area that’s historically been Conservative.”

He adds with younger voters engaging in politics and concerned over environmental issues, we could also see stronger support for the NDP and the Greens.