The Conservatives are facing a real threat from the NDP in British Columbia, according to a politics expert who says the New Democrats could double their seat presence in the province this election.

University of British Columbia political science professor Richard Johnston told CTV’s Power Play on Thursday that the Conservatives could lose some seats on B.C.’s coast when Canadians head to the polls on Oct. 19.

“They’re (the Conservatives) kind of retreating to their strongholds in the interior and the north, away from the coast,” said Johnston.

And he says the NDP stands to gain from that loss.

“Historically, this has been one of the strongest NDP provinces in the country. They had a majority of the seats as recently as the ‘80s. And it looks like they’re going to do that again. They could come close to doubling their seat total.”

Johnston said there are two main problems for the Conservatives in B.C. First off, he said Vancouver is “at war” with Ottawa over criminal justice issues such as the Insite supervised injections locations in Vancouver. He also pointed to environmental concerns, such as tanker traffic, cutbacks to the Coast Guard and the concerns posed by Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.

And with Harper’s popularity “at a low” in B.C. compared to the rest of the country, Johnston says the Duffy trial isn’t helping the Conservative leader’s brand either.

“It’s not good news for the prime minister.”

The Tories currently hold the majority of federal seats in B.C., with 20 Conservative Party seats. The NDP holds 12, while the Liberals have two and the Green Party has one.

While there has been lots of chatter about the challenge the Green Party may pose to the NDP in B.C., Johnston says he’s skeptical the Greens will see a breakthrough this election.

“Personally, I’m skeptical. I think that in B.C., as in Quebec, the emphasis is on polarization and doing what is necessary to defeat Mr. Harper,” said Johnston. “He is as unpopular here as in Quebec.”