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VIDEO: Lori Iannidinardo endures wild roller coaster ride on election night

From taking the lead to seeing it slip away, plus being honoured by Cowichan Tribes: what a night.
Cowichan Valley NDP candidate Lori Iannidinardo is honoured by Cowichan Tribes with a dance and blanketing ceremony in recognition of her hard work for the area’s First Nations people. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen)

Cowichan Valley NDP candidate Lori Iannidardo endured a wild rollercoaster ride Tuesday night as the B.C. election ground on into the early morning hours.

Headquartered at Duncan’s Ramada Hotel, she and her supporters had to wait a long time before any results started to filter in from the riding, and then she took the lead. So assured did her win appear at one point that both CTV and CHEK-TV news teams arrived, with sound trucks at the ready for what seemed likely to be a victory celebration.

Her campaign team, working with a big contingent from Cowichan Tribes, then announced that, whether Iannidinardo won or lost, they were honouring Iannidinardo’s years of hard work helping the Cowichan people with a special blanketing ceremony, music, and dancing.

The big ballroom resounded to the drums and singing of the Paddle Song as two of the Tzinquaw Dancers escorted her to the front of the hall while a large group of Spirit Drummers, including former Nanaimo-Cowichan MP Jean Crowder, took their places on the stage behind her, drumming and singing.

After this colourful event, Iannidinardo retired to her private room again as the crowd watched the air escape from the NDP balloon as Cowichan Valley voters decided to make history and elect a Green representative, Sonia Furstenau.

Later in the evening, when the trend of the voting became more distinct, Iannidinardo returned to the ballroom, greeting supporters and exchanging hugs before taking to the podium for a final address to her team.

She thanked everyone: “those who walked door-to-door in order to inspire voters, and those who brought their laughter and resilience to our work.”

Her family, she said, was “absolutely crucial to me.”

Iannidinardo also took time to acknowledge “all my formidable opponents. Though we have different visions of our province, I commend them for putting their names forward to represent the community.”

Even though midnight was approaching quickly, she was able to say, “We still don’t know what the Legislature is going to look like as there are many close races yet to be decided. But, we still have much to celebrate. No matter what the result is, we can be proud of what we achieved together.”