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Cannings returns to Ottawa by the narrowest of margin

Dick Cannings gives his victory speech in Penticton after narrowly edging Helena Konanz of the Conservative Party by less than 800 votes to retain the seat he won four years ago. — Facebook photo

Dick Cannings is heading back to Ottawa for a second term as MP for South Okanagan-West Kootenay.

Cannings narrowly edged Helena Konanz of the Conservative Party by less than 800 votes to retain the seat he won four years ago.

Cannings, who thanked volunteers and workers during a victory speech in Penticton Monday night, took home 36.4 per cent of the vote with 24,204 ballots cast in his favour. Konanz  finished second at 35.2 per cent with 23,508 votes.

Third was Connie Denesiuk of the Liberal Party at 17.2 per cent and 11,481 votes.

Tara Howse of the Green Party finished fourth at 8.3 per cent with 5,520 votes.

Sean Taylor of the People’s Party of Canada and Independent Carolina Hopkins finished fifth and sixth, respectively.

The New Democrats continued their slide from a high of 95 seats in 2011 to 44 in 2015, dipping to only 24 in 2019.

One loss was Canning’s BC Interior colleague Wayne Stetski, who was defeated by Conservative candidate Rob Morrison by a wide margin.

However, NDP leader Jagmeet Singh held onto his riding of Burnaby South and is anticipating playing a key role in shaping the direction taken by Justin Trudeau’s Liberal minority government when it begins its second term in Ottawa.