MLA Katrine Conroy and her staff were back in the office and hard at work on Monday: Debbi Austin, casual constituency assistant, Conroy and Elaine Whitehead, constituency assistant. (Chelsea Novak/Castlegar News)

MLA Katrine Conroy back to work, waiting on final election results

The final count for the election isn’t in yet, but MLA Katrine Conroy is already back at work.

The final count for the provincial election isn’t in yet, but local MLA Katrine Conroy and her staff are already back at work.

Conroy returned to the MLA office at 2-1006 3rd St. in Castlegar last Thursday, participated in the Silver City Parade in Trail over the weekend and has been sorting through invitations that came in while she was campaigning.

“Grad’s coming up. I send out a personalized congratulatory notice to every grad in my constituency; I’ve been doing it for years,” she said.

She also personally gives out a bursary to a student at each of the eight high schools in Kootenay West.

On top of personal appearances, Conroy has a list of issues that need to be addressed.

“Even when I was on the campaign trail, people were coming up to me and asking me for help around certain issues — health issues, different issues — so I had said because I wasn’t the MLA, I couldn’t help at the time, did what I could, but we have said to people … ‘If I win, please come to the office and we’ll definitely take care of your issues right away,’” she explains.

The office is now open again — Monday to Thursday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

How things stand

Based on the preliminary results, the BC Liberals have a minority government with 43 seats, the BC NDP are the official opposition with 41 seats and the BC Green Party holds the balance of power with three seats.

But Elections BC has approved recounts in two ridings and there are still 179,380 absentee ballots that need to be counted.

Saturday Elections BC announced that district electoral recounts will take place in the Courtenay-Comox and Vancouver-False Creek ridings. In Courtenay-Comox, NDP candidate Ronna-Rae Leonard beat out Liberal candidate Jim Benninger by a mere nine votes, and in Vancouver-False Creek, Liberal candidate Sam Sullivan beat out NDP candidate Morgane Oger by 560 votes.

According to Elections BC, the “request for a recount in Vancouver-False Creek was accepted because an advance voting ballot account records 403 votes for one candidate, and the tally sheet and parcel envelope containing ballots for that candidate lists 399.”

Asked what she thinks the BC Legislature will look like over the next four years, Conroy said, “I have no idea. I think one thing, there’ll be a lot more cooperation, let’s hope. So that could be a good thing.”

While many ridings saw a tight race, Kootenay West and Kootenay East did not.

Conroy won with 59.62 per cent of the vote and Liberal candidate Tom Glenn Shypitka won Kootenay East with 56.64 per cent of the vote, which means some of that cooperation will need to happen at the regional level.

“I think we have to [work together]. I think that it’s really important especially with the Columbia Basin Trust,” said Conroy. “Regardless of who forms government, we have to work together. Bill Bennett and I had our difference, but that was the one thing we did work together on was the Columbia Basin Trust and the Columbia Power Corporation and issues around the Columbia River Treaty, for the most part.”

The final count will take place between May 22 and 24.

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