Jane Shin takes Burnaby-Lougheed
While the New Democrats lost the provincial election, it did add a seat to its Burnaby base of support with Dr. Jane Shin's victory in Burnaby-Lougheed.
The riding was vacated when BC Liberal MLA Harry Bloy was forced to resign after leaking an email to a company under investigation.
However, early in Shin's campaign she came under attack by the BC Liberals who questioned inconsistencies in her resume and medical credentials.
Shin has a medical degree and teaches at Vancouver Community College, the West Coast College of Massage Therapy in New Westminster and until last year, B.C. Institute of Technology.
Until recently, her biographical information found online did not list where she completed her medical degree but it now states she graduated in 2007 from the Spartan Health Sciences University in St. Lucia in the Caribbean.
Shin herself has said she never practised medicine and when she completed her medical training decided to focus on academic medicine instead.
After the Liberal attacks, she kept a low profile for the rest of the campaign, with numerous media outlets noting they could not reach her for interviews.
The vitriol from the Liberal side continued even on election day, when Bloy himself tweeted, "@drjaneshin. Did you come out of hiding to vote??"
Bloy followed that after the results were in with: "This is so disgusting that a FAKE dr who has never lived full time in Burnaby. I know many NDP's are as disgusted as I am."
While her campaign team joined their counterparts with Kathy Corrigan's (Burnaby-Deer Lake) and Raj Chouhan's (Burnaby-Edmonds) campaigns for a post-election gathering at Chouhan's campaign office, Shin herself was nowhere to be seen.
In the end, Shin won by 523 votes and her Liberal opponent, lawyer Ken Kramer, called the campaign, his first, an "amazing experience."
Kramer said in an interview Wednesday that he entered the race late and had limited time to set up his campaign office and team, but still put in 18-hour days trying to get the Liberal message out.
As for the negative campaign against Shin, which drew the focus away from policies and issues, Kramer said, "I took the high road for a lot of that and I did not do a lot around that element."
He did say that Shin's absence became a challenge as she wasn't available to respond to questions. The riding was the only one in Burnaby that didn't hold a single all-candidates debate, he noted.
With his loss, Kramer took consolation in his party winning the election overall.
"We overcame all the pundits out there who told us at the beginning of the election that it couldn't be done, we were going to be wiped out, we would be replacing our leader," he said.
Kramer will now return to his law practice and community work and admits he's caught the political bug.
"I'll be back in four years. In Burnaby they're going to get to know me really well over the next four years and I'm going to ensure that in 2017 we're ready to move forward stronger than ever."
Shin was unavailable for comment before the NewsLeader's deadline.