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Mail-in ballots seal NDP candidate Bonita Zarrillo's Port Moody-Coquitlam flip

Veteran city councillor says she will speak to her Coquitlam colleagues in the coming days about her resignation so she can do her job as a federal politician.
Bonita Zarrillo MP
The NDP's Bonita Zarrillo is officially the MP for Port Moody-Coquitlam after mail-in ballots were counted today, Sept. 22.

Port Moody-Coquitlam MP-elect Bonita Zarrillo spent the last two days since Monday's (Sept. 20) federal election collecting signs and wrapping up her campaign.

Now, with Elections Canada confirming her win with 37.2 per cent of the vote and 19,367 ballots from electors, the veteran Coquitlam city councillor and NDP candidate can turn her eyes toward Ottawa and her job representing local constituents.

“I’m happy to serve this community,” said Zarrillo to the Tri-City News after final results were posted to Elections Canada's website this afternoon (Sept. 22).

The 4,986 mail-in ballots counted since Monday's election not only solidified her win, but Zarrillo gained half a percentage point against her rivals.

She ended her bid with 19,367 votes (37.2 per cent) from the 206 polls across the Port Moody-Coquitlam riding.

Nelly Shin, the Conservative candidate who previously held the riding, earned 16,605 (31.9 per cent) and the Liberals’ Will Davis notched 14,231 (27.2 per cent) in the final count.

Desta McPherson (People’s Party) collected 1,762 votes (3.4 per cent) while Marxist Leninist candidate Roland Verrier got 122 votes (0.2 per cent).

Voter turnout, meanwhile, was 62.22 per cent.

With the vote count in and Zarrillo’s job as MP assured, the three-term Coquitlam councillor will now consider her next steps, noting she'll speak to council in the next few days about her resignation and will attend the next regular council meeting on Sept. 27.

Zarrillo’s resignation will likely spark a discussion about a by-election because the next municipal election is not until Oct. 15, 2022.

“The wheels will be in motion to get serving this community,” said Zarrillo, adding issues such as climate change and housing she has dealt with at the municipal level will also be important on parliament hill.

She said she intends to work to ensure the federal government partners with municipalities on these important issues.

As to how Zarrillo will handle cross-country travel, especially now as Canada is in the midst of a fourth COVID-19 wave, the newly-elected MP said she expects federal government business will mostly be conducted virtually for now.

Zarrillo said she expects to participate in orientation meetings for new MPs in the coming days to weeks.

Crediting her volunteers and voters for her win, Zarrillo said she enjoyed campaigning and meeting people on their doorsteps and “hearing their stories.”

On the same night, Liberal Ron McKinnon won a third term as member of parliament of the neighbouring Coquitlam-Port Coquitlam riding.