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Author Topic: British Columbian Elections Thread  (Read 2431 times)
Foucaulf
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« on: February 26, 2011, 09:45:31 pm »
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The British Columbia Liberal Party is a neoliberal right-wing party, first entering government thanks to ex-premier Gordon Campbell. Campbell, however, hurtled into oblivion after deciding to install the Harmonized Sales Tax, a flat 12% VAT. The party, having had the same leader for ten years, is electing a new leader who will become the premier of British Columbia, having to deal with angry taxpayers and a meandering left-wing opposition in the New Democrat Party.

Four candidates were in the race. An evidently biased summary of the four candidates is provided here:

George Abbott: Welfare state protector, good with rurals that depend on primary industries.
Mike de Jong: Party pest. "Deficit-slayer, champion of open government"
Kevin Falcon: Hardcore neoliberal.
Christy Clark: Politician-turned-radio-host. Populist, outsider and reviled by caucus.


The voting system is weighted: each BC riding has 100 possible votes, and each candidate gains in each riding points propotional to their percentage of the vote. With 8500 possible votes, 4251 votes are needed for victory. The tally is as follows:


  • Christy Clark         3209      3575       4420    
  • Kevin Falcon           2411      2564       4080
  • George Abbott       2091      2361
  • Mike de Jong          789

TURNOUT: 62.4%, decisively average.



This was a very rushed post, but I'll analyze things in the next one.
« Last Edit: April 18, 2011, 02:18:07 am by Foucaulf »Logged

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Foucaulf
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« Reply #1 on: February 26, 2011, 10:46:04 pm »
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British Columbia is a strange place, particularly in terms of politics. The westernmost Canadian province,  Forest, mountain, desert, and the urban jungle lie within BC's borders. Its economy relies mainly on primary industries (forestry, fishing, mining) as well as services concentrated in its largest city, Vancouver. Like most Canadian provinces, British Columbia's largest metropolitan area contains more than half of the province's population. There is a distinct divide between the urban liberals of the Lower Mainland compared to the conservative interior.

Of course, this divide is a modern creation. British Columbia has been mostly conservative throughout its history, and its governments have reflected that--from the Social Credit governments of the 50s to the 80s, to the latest ten-year stint of the Liberal Party. The New Democratic Party of British Columbia, the predominent left-wing party, has taken over government two times in its history: from 1972 to 1975 (Barrett), and from 1991 to 2001 (Harcourt/Clark). The former term ended with the NDP losing half its seats. The latter ended with the NDP going from 39 to 2.

BC's modern era of marked change was presided over by Gordon Campbell's Liberal government, ruling throughout the 2000's. Some of those changes included:

  • Massive influx of immigration, first from India (overwhelmingly Punjabi), then from Mainland China. The Cantonese has established themselves in the province since the early 20th century as migrant workers, but the recent wave of Chinese are nouveau riche who want to escape to a calmer nation.
  • Vancouver's being selected as the host city for the 2010 Winter Olympics. The debate over the cost of hosting the Games is an ubiquitous issue.
  • A period of growth for the primary industry, thanks to demand from newly industralised powers. This was offset by supply shifts, namely the meltdown in the salmon population and the pine wood beatle destroying ravaging forests.

British Columbia voters, however, retained a populist streak, best shown in their response to the HST. While voters in Ontario bided their time when the tax was installed in that province, British Columbians rallied behind a petition calling for the tax's repeal. Its unpopularity would lead to Campbell's resignation as premier in 2010.


With that said, this leadership election is a defining moment. It is not hyperbole to say a fifth of British Columbians have never witnessed a change in government. It is unfortunate for the Liberals that these people were politically awakened by the HST. Campbell, a man who has survived drinking and driving to selling BC's most valued crown corporations, fell. A caucus subordinate to the premier suddenly finds it necessary to organize an election, devising a new voting process along the way. Today's vote ended in confusion, as a computer glitch meant many voters did not receive PINs, meaning they could not vote by phone or internet. The necessity of such an option in a jurisdiction as large as British Columbia could have contributed to the low turnout.

Christy Clark, premier-designate, has an upward hill ahead. She has attracted a massive following from traditional British Columbians, selling herself as the "families first" candidate. Coupled with her decision to send the HST question to a referendum, Clark gained the support of those who rebelled against the establishment in the first place. In this sense she can be seen as a continuation of the agrarian tradition that kept the Social Credit party in power and accepted the Reform Party on the federal level. Having captured this bloc, she needs to entertain the new British Columbians, immigrants nonchalant about politics but preserving a conservative bent. If she can distance herself from Campbell enough, she can rule the province due to passivity alone.

That is, if the caucus does not get to her first. Only one Liberal Assemblyman supported Clark, compared to the credentials of Abbott and Falcon. Reports say that her victory at the party convention was greeted with silence, save her few establishment supporters. If an establishment figure won, Campbell's cabinet would have likely remained intact and Clark shut out of government. An election would be delayed until 2013, when public furore would ideally subside. Clark's leadership means everything is at stake. Though she is unlikely to deviate too much in fiscal policy (perhaps less than Abbott would have), the power struggle would likely be intense. No cabinet member is too experienced to be thrown out. Clark needs to make sure she does not suffer a coup d'etat from caucus, like what happened with NDP leader Carole James a few months ago.

Finally, there is the political opposition. The NDP is in its leadership campaign, hoping to regain power after many close calls. Though the NDP lacks the broad support base of the Liberals, they have a tight hold on left-leaning Vancouver Island, Vancouver's poorer neighbourhoods and financial support from major unions. As the Liberal Party's privatization policies have polarized the electorate, the NDP too must seek support from the passives. Finally, there is the Green Party of BC--which retains relevance because of their promised legalization of marijuana--and the BC Conservative Party, a reactionary party that regained relevance after the HST debacle and is still in search of a party leader a year later.

It would be unwise for the Liberals to call an election this year, because the recent political events are still fresh in the minds of all British Columbians. Clark might want to do so in an attempt to gain legitimacy, but it is a huge risk. Wait two years, and perhaps enough immigrants will arrive that votes to retain the status quo. One can make few accurate predictions in the post-Campbell British Columbia.
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« Reply #2 on: February 26, 2011, 11:08:32 pm »
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What is it with Canadians and their massive opposition to tax reform?
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« Reply #3 on: February 27, 2011, 12:45:51 am »
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Finally starting to see some female premiers. Alberta is next, if the their teabagger lady wins.
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« Reply #4 on: February 27, 2011, 10:14:25 am »
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Finally starting to see some female premiers. Alberta is next, if the their teabagger lady wins.

Danielle Smith is basically Palin, but she can actually form a sentence, right?
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« Reply #5 on: February 28, 2011, 08:28:16 am »
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Finally starting to see some female premiers. Alberta is next, if the their teabagger lady wins.

Danielle Smith is basically Palin, but she can actually form a sentence, right?

mmmhmm
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« Reply #6 on: March 15, 2011, 10:34:58 pm »
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Christy Clark was a good choice....she was distant enough from the party to allow most voters to not automatically vote NDP in the next election.  NDP is scary and the province will be in ruins if they are elected.
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« Reply #7 on: March 19, 2011, 11:24:59 am »
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NDP is scary and the province will be in ruins if they are elected.

Because the Liberals have been soooo good. Get real, you're not going to convince anyone of your BS here.
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« Reply #8 on: March 19, 2011, 03:13:59 pm »
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How come there isn't a state branch of the Liberal and Conservative parties, but rather a "Conservative" Liberal Party, and "Liberal" NDP as the major parties in BC?
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« Reply #9 on: March 19, 2011, 03:49:29 pm »
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How come there isn't a state branch of the Liberal and Conservative parties, but rather a "Conservative" Liberal Party, and "Liberal" NDP as the major parties in BC?

Provincial parties in Canada are generally unaffiliated with federal parties, although all provincial NDP branches are linked to the federal NDP.

The BC NDP has nothing to do with the federal Liberal Party.
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« Reply #10 on: March 19, 2011, 04:30:54 pm »
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How come there isn't a state branch of the Liberal and Conservative parties, but rather a "Conservative" Liberal Party, and "Liberal" NDP as the major parties in BC?

Provincial parties in Canada are generally unaffiliated with federal parties, although all provincial NDP branches are linked to the federal NDP.

The BC NDP has nothing to do with the federal Liberal Party.

Though there's plenty of more left-leaning Liberal voters that vote NDP in provincial elections.
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Foucaulf
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« Reply #11 on: March 19, 2011, 06:25:00 pm »
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This is a cute article: tgam.ca/BmpW


I always believed that the Liberals have kept in power due to their building a broad supporter base. If you look at the results of the 2008 federal elections, you will see that the federal Liberals control Vancouver proper while the Conservatives sweep the interior. The BC Liberals, however, hold control over both parts of the province in the 2009 election. The provincial NDP can increase their grip on the Island, the coast and the Burnaby-North Surrey corridor all they want, but they cannot break out of the stereotypes cast onto them: "Union suckups" and the like.

The NDP has failed to capitalize on the "rich immigrant" demographic that has exploded in BC during the past decade, but also because they think it is difficult to do so. Personally, I think all they have to do is keep the anti-HST drum going and raise the spectre of healthcare and education, but...

The NDP certainly could have became a big-tent party if they had tried to discard their label of "the opposition" when the Liberals were in crisis. The ousting of their leader when the opportunity showed did not help.
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« Reply #12 on: March 23, 2011, 12:36:34 pm »
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Because the Liberals have been soooo good. Get real, you're not going to convince anyone of your BS here.
[/quote]

Have you lived in BC when NDP were in power?  They within a year devastated the mining industry as well as business in general ... I cannot speak to NDP in Ontario but having lived it here I can. You should speak to what you know....if you lived in BC during their reign you would not be so quick to spout what you do not know.
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« Reply #13 on: March 24, 2011, 10:34:45 am »
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Christy Clark's star status is paying off as the BC Liberals surge ahead in a new AR poll, which shows them leading the NDP 43 to 38. That's up a LOT from another AR poll last October, which had the government trailing 24-49. Let's hope that's just a temporary honeymoon effect.
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« Reply #14 on: April 17, 2011, 08:51:37 pm »
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The NDP have elected Adrian Dix as their leader, basically the more left-wing of the serious candidates.
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« Reply #15 on: April 17, 2011, 09:35:32 pm »
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Both Clark and Dix represent a move to the left for their parties.

Will the BC Conservatives have a chance to become a real party?
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« Reply #16 on: April 17, 2011, 09:48:54 pm »
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Both Clark and Dix represent a move to the left for their parties.

Will the BC Conservatives have a chance to become a real party?

Yes. With the anger over HST, where will right wing BCers turn?
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Foucaulf
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« Reply #17 on: April 18, 2011, 02:32:52 am »
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Both Clark and Dix represent a move to the left for their parties.

Will the BC Conservatives have a chance to become a real party?

Yes. With the anger over HST, where will right wing BCers turn?

Nowhere for some, back to the Liberals for others. Clark had already issued a mail-in referendum on the HST in mid-June, and any fallout will come after that. The BC Conservatives are a non-entity until they have their leadership election at the end of May.
Keep in mind Clark did not shift to the left as she did shift to populism. This is why she raised the minimum wage to $10 but no more, in case she upsets the corporate sponsors. The Liberals are a broad party, and Clark won't even be elected until May! All she can do and had done is look pretty.


Don't expect any big political developments in BC until the Canucks' postseason is over.
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« Reply #18 on: April 18, 2011, 07:26:35 am »
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Don't expect any big political developments in BC until the Canucks' postseason is over.

Good point. And hopefully, that's not til June!
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« Reply #19 on: May 01, 2011, 02:18:05 am »
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One wonders if the uptick in federal NDP support will help the provincial party.
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« Reply #20 on: May 01, 2011, 02:21:34 am »
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I got into a big argument with bgwah if the BC Liberals were actually centrist or if they were just a right wing party like the Australian Liberals. (I argued for the latter by the way.)
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« Reply #21 on: May 01, 2011, 02:41:47 am »
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They are both.

They are the Anti-NDP
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Foucaulf
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« Reply #22 on: May 01, 2011, 02:59:28 am »
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One wonders if the uptick in federal NDP support will help the provincial party.

Problem with that reasoning is that the BC NDP has too much baggage. The reasons why someone dislikes the BC NDP is because of Fast Ferries, union cahoots and general inexperience. The Barrett government's institutions are ubiquitous (like ICBC, the public car insurer), meaning the real association voters have with the provincial party is the Harcourt-Clark's government's scandals.

Of course, the BC NDP's support is substantially higher than the federal NDP's. But ridings that can swing to the federal NDP are already BC NDP seats, and vice versa.

I got into a big argument with bgwah if the BC Liberals were actually centrist or if they were just a right wing party like the Australian Liberals. (I argued for the latter by the way.)

Neoliberal. Since it's a big-tent party, one can characterize it as "centre-right", but that's a reflection of the party's electorate.
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« Reply #23 on: May 11, 2011, 11:08:20 pm »
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BC By-Election:


Clark, LIB  3415
Eby, NDP 3414


87/134 Polls
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« Reply #24 on: May 11, 2011, 11:43:29 pm »
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BC By-Election:


Clark, LIB  3415
Eby, NDP 3414


87/134 Polls


waitwhat? what?
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