Comox Valley NDP candidate Kassandra Dycke may have lost the election to Liberal Don McRae but she vows to keep fighting to improve the lives of Comox Valley citizens.
“Whether it’s as an employee of a non-profit organization or if it’s as a private citizen who’s engaged in efforts in the community to make life better for people, that’s where you’ll find me,” Dycke said Wednesday morning after calling McRae to congratulate him on his win.
Her first step will be returning to her job at the Comox Military Family Resource Centre, which is a non-profit organization.
While she said it’s too soon to say if she’ll run in another election, Dycke stressed she will always strive to provide service to the community.
“That’s a value that I hold very deeply — that’s why I was participating in our democratic process, because I believe so deeply in service to community,” she said.
“I’ve been involved in politics since I was a young teenager, so this is not going to change the fact that I feel deeply driven to serve my community, not only in practical ways by engaging in community service, but by working for positive change through our political process as well, and whether I wear one hat or another I think my engagement will always be there.”
Tuesday evening, the K’ómoks Band Hall was filled with anxious faces of Dycke’s supporters as they watched TV screens looking for election results locally and provincially.
Dycke entered to cheers from the crowd before the advance polls came in. Though McRae led the polls at the time, Dycke urged her supporters to keep their spirits up, noting she was waiting for a decisive result for the Comox Valley.
Past NDP Comox Valley MLA Evelyn Gillespie and past Vancouver Island North NDP MP Catherine Bell congratulated Dycke on her hard work campaigning in the Comox Valley.
“We have one fantastic candidate in Kassandra Dycke,” Bell said when the decision was still uncertain. “She has been out knocking on doors for a year and a half. She has been representing our party and bringing the message to door, after door, after door, to rallies, to meetings, to coffee parties — she’s just been everywhere and she’s really done a great job.
“I think that’s what we’re celebrating tonight — somebody who’s committed and dedicated, and just a real trooper.”
After it was clear the Liberal party would form the provincial government again, Courtenay Coun. Doug Hillian was one of the many surprised NDP supporters in the room.
“I do have to say I’m surprised,” he said. “I’m also disappointed. I certainly thought that we needed a change in direction from the provincial government that we’ve had. But it didn’t happen and obviously a lot of us didn’t get what was going on.”
However, Hillian added McRae has done a “good job for the riding” in the past and he is happy to work with him, just as he would be happy to work with Dycke.
The North Island Students’ Union’s Savannah McKenzie also expressed disappointment over the Liberal win for B.C.
“It shows a really dire situation for the upcoming four years for students. The Liberals have proposed a $48-million cut, whereas the NDP dedicated $100 million in grants — that’s such a huge difference,” said McKenzie, adding “the NDP are a student dream.”
Meanwhile, after she conceded Wednesday morning, Dycke called the Comox Valley race “hard-fought,” noting all four campaigns worked very hard.
She respects the decision Comox Valley voters made.
“This is what democracy is about,” she said. “Elections are about people making choices and people have made a choice.
“I respect the decision that has been made, and now it’s time to move forward as a community.”