Last September, while swimming against a tidal wave of negative public opinion, I predicted the BC Liberal Party led by Premier Christy Clark would win the May 2013 election. Understandably, most readers scoffed. I can assure you that I am no Nostradamus. Don't bother asking me which stock to pick or what the 649 Lottery numbers will be. Rather, I relish being a contrarian. It is my nature to question the prevailing view on a range of topics - politics in particular - and to hopefully stir intelligent debate.
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 BC Liberals and particularly Premier Christy Clark deserve the praise they're receiving for their surprise electoral victory. After all, the Liberals reversed a double-digit deficit in the polls and ended up securing a majority government. This moment of jubilation for the Liberals and their supporters will be short-lived however, as the reality of governing in difficult times takes hold. The litmus test for the success of this government, which they themselves established, is the success of the economy and in particular, jobs.
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.
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.
This Wednesday, one day after B.C.'s provincial election, Vancouver city council, led by Mayor Gregor Robertson and his Vision majority, will approve the development of four city-owned sites, including a riverfront property on Southwest Marine Drive, as part of the mayor's grand plan for "affordable housing" in Vancouver. Distracted by the post-election din, the mainstream media will barely notice. But it may be the biggest deal of Robertson's second term. And perhaps his most controversial.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I must confess to being entirely unsure what Gordon Wilson's endorsement of the Liberals actually does for leader Christy Clark or her party, who have been having the campaign of their dreams to this point. Seriously, with endorsements like Wilson's, who needs Dave Babych? There have been musings Wilson can help shore up centre-left votes. But that will be very hard to do while the party runs endless TV spots of Clark sounding like a fiscal hawk. Note to Clark and the BC Liberals: You don't need Gordon Wilson. You're doing just fine.
Over the past three decades, the percentage of British Columbians who actually vote has steadily fallen, from more than 70 per cent to a little over half last time out, when nearly one out of every two voters seemingly slept the day away and never bothered to cast a ballot. In fact, B.C. has the dubious distinction of having some of the lowest voter turnouts in the country, which says a lot when you consider that some of those other provinces don't have much to boast about either.