Well, the election is over and there is a result no one expected. Christy Clark and the BC Liberals were re–elected to another majority government. The NDP will be the official opposition, and Green Andrew Weaver and independent Vicki Huntington will round out the legislature. In what might end up being BC’s version of Don Getty, Clark might lose her own seat (Vancouver Point Grey); she was trailing by a few hundred votes as of this writing. Nevertheless, she still qualifies as the first female to be elected Premier of British Columbia. Update (2013–05–15): Clark did lose her own seat, narrowly. This will be no barrier to her keeping her job. Some liberal in a safe seat will resign to let her come in in a by–election.
Everyone who looked at the polls would have easily predicted an NDP win. The Liberal win is therefore truly an upset. I myself said that “it seems likely that NDP flags will fly in enough ridings tomorrow to give them a narrow majority government.” I made that prediction, and unlike American political operatives who melt down on live television, I admit that I got it wrong and accept responsibility for my error. Let this be seen as an opportunity to improve polling methods and voting projections so that there will be no more surprises in the future.
As I indicated, British Columbians had a chance to end our perverse “tradition” of putting women in charge of political parties in ruins. From Rita Johnston losing her seat in 1991, to Kim Campbell taking charge only to lose in the PC wipeout, to Joy MacPhail becoming Leader of the Opposition with only two seats, to Carole James taking over that position, for far too long a British Columbian woman leading a major political party has meant that her party is (about to be) in ruins. But with Clark winning, that streak is finally over. That ought to be one good thing everyone can agree on.
And voter turnout was dismal yet again. Folks, I know you can do better.
About a month ago, I reported that the premier of my province was going to resign. I also predicted that the leader of the opposition, Carole James, would be staying on as NDP leader for the time being. Turns out, I was wrong, as James announced her resignation as NDP leader today.
James’ resignation was likely an inevitability after Jenny Kwan’s open letter, and yesterday’s cancelled caucus meeting. It was a necessity given the dissent within caucus.
The new leader will have to unify the party so that it can be a viable alternative government. The dissent is ruining a golden opportunity to do so that was handed to them by troubles in the government.
Another chapter in the twisted and bizarre history of politics will come to a close as Premier Gordon Campbell announced his resignation as premier and leader of the BC Liberal Party. He will remain in office until a successor is chosen at a leadership convention.
This is surprising and unexpected news. Although Campbell’s future had been up in the air, especially regarding the HST fiasco and the recent guilty plea in the BC Rail trial, I didn’t think he would resign this early. To speculate, it was probably due to internal pressure caused his and his party’s massive unpopularity recently.
As for what happens next, well people will get on with life. The BC Liberals are still in power with a majority government. Although far from a sparkling leader, Carole James is likely cemented in as NDP leader for the foreseeable future. The new leader and premier will likely improve the BC Liberal’s fortunes a bit, as new party leaders almost always get a “honeymoon” in opinion polls. He or she will also stop bleeding towards the BC Tories. Any honeymoon will have no impact on the next election, as snap elections are no longer allowed in BC since the adoption of fixed election dates. It’s too early to predict how this will impact the next election (due to take place in 2013) as two and a half years might as well be a century when it comes to politics. However, if the election was held tomorrow, the polls are clear: it would be Carole James and the NDP in a walkover.
And who will be the next Premier of British Columbia? The only certainty is that he or she is already in the legislature. Choosing a non–MLA would be a foolish move, as it would necessitate a by–election, and no governing party in British Columbia has won a by–election in over two decades.
Tody is election day in British Columbia. If you haven’t done so already, make sure you vote.