The BC election results flew in the face of pollsters and pundits alike, with Christy Clark pulling off the win many said was all but a pipe dream. But should federal Liberals pause to ponder before breaking out the bubbly?
Instead of hammering Clark and the Liberals with attack ads, reminding the voters why they were sick and tired of the Clark Liberals, due to their myriad of scandals, blunders, HST tax, costly government programs and arrogance, Dix tried to be Mr. Nice Guy.
Obviously, the face of B.C., quite literally, is changing. Immigrants account for 45 per cent of the population in Vancouver, 52 per cent in Surrey, 59 per cent in Burnaby and 70 per cent in Richmond. Immigrant populations are rising everywhere, even in the whitest regions of the province. And they aren't buying what the NDP is selling. Big government. Vast social programs. Union allegiance.
This was an election defined by fear and apathy. The lesson here is that negative advertising does work and voters still see B.C. as a two party province. I was appalled at my own numbers when they appeared after 8 p.m
The complacency for most of the B.C. NDP campaign was stunning.Dix backed himself into a corner with this entire positive, nice-nice, err on the side of caution theme. When he did begin to fight back against the attacks, it was just too late. The NDP began to look extremely hypocritical.
I think both the NDP and the Greens owe it to the public to make a peace treaty and find a way to show everyone that we can work together for solutions that are good for people and the planet. This is an important lesson for us to learn before the upcoming federal election, while we still have time to find ways to work together. Big Oil won a battle this week but they haven't won the war.
The Liberal Party of B.C. is not a brilliant outfit by any means. Much of its agenda is faddish and unscientific, and, if past performance is any indication, simply doesn't work. Yet it's also the party associated with business, capitalism, status, success, and wealth -- and now a four-term majority government to boot. What does make many squeamish, however, is the idea of a party run by hippies and radicals who dogmatically cling to the 20th century's most discredited economic theory simply for reasons of pride or denial. It comes off as a little pathetic.
Did you know that political strategists are counting on you not to vote? Senior BC Liberal strategists say this to reassure their nervous supporters: "Our base leans to older voters, whereas the NDP base leans to the 18-34 age group (older voters vote)." Now technically, there's nothing untrue about that statement. But whether you're voting Liberal, NDP, Green or Conservative, merely casting your ballot is putting your thumb in the eye of decrepit politicos who have already dismissed you.
Proclamations and election mania aside, families may have to hold their breath long after the party hats are put away, the platforms are dusted off, and campaign offensives are silenced into temporary stalemate before any genuine childcare programs are implemented.
Natural gas, being sold as a huge job creator is actually an employment deadbeat. While natural gas contributes fully 3.2% of our total GDP, its work force is tiny, just 3,500 souls, or .15% of provincial employment. Electrical equipment manufacturers employ more people in B.C. than oil and gas. Natural gas is shipped east through pipelines, so there are no trucking or ports benefits. And most of the $6 billion in natural gas earnings don't stay in B.C., but take a direct flight across the Rockies to Calgary. Which might explain why some B.C. politicians organize fundraisers there.
It's been exasperating to see the BC Liberals try to court the Filipino vote through superficial events designed to be nothing but photo-ops and not engage the community by talking about specific issues. They don't seem to be concerned with providing anything substantive because they don't seem to have anything in their platform they can point to as evidence of being engaged with the community.
By this time tomorrow, British Columbians will have begun casting ballots in their province's 40th general election. Despite the historic milestone, the prevailing mood has been resignation, not celebration. Savvy readers will probably have some vague sense that BC is a lovely place in the midst of a perilous decline, though appreciating the province's exact dysfunctions can be a bit tricky amid the barnacles of cliches and half-truths that tend to encrust political reporting about the province. Here are five particularly unhelpful tropes just begging to be tossed in the nearest gluten-free organic compost heap.
The Green Party receives a C-, the best grade of bad overall grades in Report Card on British Columbia Parties' Democratic Good Government Platforms -- Conservatives receive a D-, NDP a D-, and Liberals an F. A Dishonesty Downgrade of one full grade is also shown in the Report Card results -- usually only half of all promises are kept because of the lack of an honesty-in-politics law which is needed to effectively penalize promise-breakers and those who deliberately mislead.
B.C.'s election has featured a string of high-profile firings and disqualifications, and they've all left the attackers looking like irrelevant old-timers, relics of an era when it might have been possible to complain about forum posts and retain some shred of dignity. The Internet has given us the mudslinging equivalent of a nuclear standoff and mutually assured destruction has brought a continued ceasefire, perhaps then we can dispense with the winging and get on with the business of government.
If we connect the dots between all the natural gas, coal and tar sands proposals in B.C., a big picture emerges and the choice we face becomes both stark and clear: B.C. needs a government with leadership and vision to make the hard decisions. The province needs courage to stop building pipelines that would put at risk thousands of jobs and lock us into global warming. We need stewards to protect our collective future wisely, by investing in green jobs and saying yes to a clean energy future.
While the effect of Election BC's ad on next week's election remains debatable, one thing's clear. Its message echoes NDP and/or Green Party rhetoric, and therefore, counters the candidacy of many BC Liberal and/or Conservative candidates, particularly in ridings outside Vancouver. Anyone interested in democracy should be concerned about that.