Christy Clark has been sworn in as the new premier of British Columbia. She has already shuffled the cabinet to put her stamp on the government. As I have previously mentioned, she is the second woman, (after Rita Johnston), to be Premier. She ought to be a little bit to the left of Gordon Campbell, and in the short term I am willing to give her a chance to govern. It’s not like there’s a realistic chance of a motion of non–confidence passing. Some part of me would kind of want her to win the next election, as it would end British Columbia’s ridiculous “tradition” of putting women in charge of political parties in ruins.
Meanwhile, Gordon Campbell has resigned his seat of Vancouver–Point Grey. This means that there will be a by–election soon. Although Liberal–leaning, it is not exactly the safest Liberal seat in the legislature. If all the students at UBC actually bothered to vote in reasonable numbers, the seat might actually be considered competitive. Nevertheless, if Clark runs in the by–election she’ll be the favourite to win. That would be the first time since 1981 that the governing party of British Columbia has won a by–election.
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.