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Greens doubly disappointed on election night

VANCOUVER - The Green Party suffered a double disappointment tonight with their failure to win a single seat in the legislature and the defeat of BC-STV.

For many at the party headquarters in Metro Vancouver, electoral reform was the more important ballot this election, especially for candidates who heard time and again from voters who liked the Green platform, but wanted to vote strategically for one of the two main parties.

"It can be frustrating," said Vancouver-Fairview candidate Vanessa Violini. "People can't get away from the two parties. It's tough to convince people to vote for someone whose party has never been elected before."

Vote splitting was clearly an issue this campaign. Vancouver-Point Grey candidate Stephen Kronstein said he received emails and phone calls from across the province telling him not to run this election. Liberal incumbent Gordon Campbell won his seat in that riding with 49 per cent of the vote, NDP candidate Mel Lehan was not far behind with 40 per cent. Kronstein took nearly 10 per cent.

At the Tinseltown restaurant where approximately 60 Green candidates and supporters gathered, results flashed onscreen while candidates took turn speaking at the mic between sets by jazz trio sets.

Even as Damian Kettlewell's results came up – showing there was no way he would catch up to Liberal candidate Mary McNeil’s 40 per cent vote share – emcee Violini shouted words of encouragement: "We're expected big things from you, Damian."

In the end, McNeil won the riding by 54 per cent of the vote, Kettlewell took 13 per cent.

Kettlewell, who was pegged as a real contender in this race, said he didn't feel as though he let anyone down, and didn't feel as though his potential for a win was miscalculated.

"We did get poll results today that showed the Liberals had a lead," he said. "But our campaign doubled. We're more organized than any other election."

Such is the eternal optimism of the B.C. Green Party. The conviction that they will win seats and maybe even form government one day was summed up by federal deputy leader Adriane Carr, who told supporters that "we have the principles of the 21st century. We are going to be elected and your work is paving the way to our success."

But it will be harder without BC-STV on their side, something even Kettlewell admitted.

"I don't think David Suzuki could have run for the Greens and won," said Kettlewell. "It's too much a party system."

Colleen Kimmett reports for The Hook.

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