Beech was able to overcome skepticism in his position on the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion and an attempted comeback from former Burnaby MP Svend Robinson, who ran for the NDP and finished in second place.
“Tonight, the people of Burnaby North-Seymour have spoken, and they said we’re voting Liberal!” Beech told a roaring crowd at his campaign headquarters.
The riding is home to the Kinder Morgan terminal on Burnaby Mountain, which serves as the end point for the controversial oil pipeline and its planned expansion, which Robinson has vocally opposed.
Svend Robinson says NDP should push Liberals to stop Trans Mountain
Beech had been critical of the pipeline before he was elected to the newly-created riding in 2015. He later became more ambiguous about his support as he attempted to win approval from both advocates and opponents of the project.
Robinson has raised safety concerns for the thousands of residents who live close to the terminal, and has vowed to do everything it takes to stop the expansion for good.
“I’m going to continue to speak out about the issues of climate change and particularly Trans Mountain,” he said after conceding the race.
The NDP candidate was once the dominant face of federal politics in Burnaby, representing various ridings in the city from 1979 until 2004.
He withdrew his candidacy in the 2004 election after admitting to the theft of an expensive ring from a public auction site. His return was initially seen as a test of whether the incident would be forgotten by voters.
He also faced a new challenge this time around: winning over constituents in the section of North Vancouver that makes up part of Burnaby North-Seymour, which was newly created for the 2015 election.
Analysts at 338 Canada put the two candidates neck-and-neck heading into election day, but Beech was apparently able to mobilize more voters to the polls.
Beech was ultimately able to bridge that divide between the North Shore and Burnaby for a second time.
The riding also saw drama for its Conservative candidate Heather Leung, who was dropped by the party after controversial comments against the LGBTQ2 community came to light.
READ MORE: Ex-Conservative B.C. candidate won’t apologize for anti-LGBTQ2 comments caught on video
Leung, who still appeared as the Conservative candidate on the ballot, finished third in the election. If she had won, she would have sat as an independent in Parliament, though she promised to vote with the Tories on legislation.
Green candidate Amita Kuttner and People’s Party of Canada candidate Rocky Dong finished fourth and fifth in the race, respectively.
The Liberal held on to the seat he first won in 2015, thwarting an attempted political comeback by the NDP's Svend Robinson.
Beech was one of only two MPs who voted against the project in the House of Commons, but he also represented the government that bought the 1,150-kilometre pipeline in order to save a proposal to twin it, in order to facilitate the flow of diluted bitumen from Alberta to Burrard Inlet.
The endpoint of the project — Westridge Marine Terminal — sits in the middle of the Burnaby North-Seymour riding, which includes parts of both Burnaby and North Vancouver.
Despite the pipeline controversy, Beech won a handy victory over Robinson, the former NDP MP who re-entered the political fray in order to fight against the pipeline.
Beech argued that the pipeline purchase would guarantee the kind of strong economy that will give Canada the "social licence" to invest in climate change.
Nationwide, the Liberals under Justin Trudeau held onto just enough seats in Atlantic Canada, Quebec and Ontario to secure a minority government.
Robinson, who was Canada's first openly gay MP, spent 25 years in the House of Commons before retiring in 2004 after admitting to stealing a diamond ring while attending a public jewellery auction.
Robinson, who opposes the Trans Mountain expansion, had hoped to benefit from voters who felt betrayed by the Liberals' position on the pipeline.
Beyond the issue of the pipeline, the fight for Burnaby North-Seymour was also rocked mid-contest by the discovery of past homophobic statements by Conservative candidate Heather Leung.
The controversy led the Conservatives to turf Leung, who had also expressed public support for conversion therapy. She went on to run as an Independent but was still registered as a Conservative.
Leung was in full support of the pipeline, as was Rocky Dong, the candidate for the People's Party of Canada.
Green candidate Amita Kuttner said she is opposed to both the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion and fracking.
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