Fresh voices in BC Legislature would be a good thing

Discuss the upcoming provincial election. Keep it civil in here, people. It's not the Political Arena.
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Glacier
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Fresh voices in BC Legislature would be a good thing

Post by Glacier »

It seems like only yesterday that the smart money was on a slam-dunk win for Adrian Dix’s New Democrats at the May 14 polls. Now, with every passing day, it looks like it’s going to be a horse race with Christy Clark’s Liberals. With so many electable Greens and Independents in the running, New Democrats are starting to go all hoarse-voiced about the spectre of a vote-splitting debacle that lets the Liberals to slip back into office.

There are a couple of things to keep in mind here. For one, we’ve heard these scare stories before. For another, what would be so bad about waking up May 15 to find that we’ve elected a few high-calibre MLAs not beholden to either Dix or Clark? We’re not electing an emir or a khan here. We’re electing a legislature.

The last time a vote-splitting bogeyman stampeded voters in B.C. was in last November’s Victoria byelection to replace popular NDP MP Denise Savoie. The decent but hapless Conservative candidate Dale Gann loped along in the low teens from the campaign’s start to its finish. But that didn’t stop NDP campaigners from browbeating Green voters about how they were foolishly guarantying a Conservative victory.

Eight days before the Nov. 26 vote, Robin Stuebel, New Democrat Murray Rankin’s campaign manager, called the campaign “a close race between the NDP and the Conservatives.” The NDP knew this was rubbish.

Four days before the vote, NDP national director Nathan Rotman issued this dire warning: “Stephen Harper could take Victoria.” Ditto, total rubbish, and when the votes were finally counted the Conservatives’ Gann trailed in with 14.49 per cent, well behind Green candidate Donald Galloway at 34.30 per cent, and Rankin squeaked past Galloway, with 37.17 per cent.

Now the scare stories are aimed at University of Victoria’s Andrew Weaver, a Nobel laureate by way of his leadership with the UN International Panel on Climate Change. Weaver is running for the Greens in a tight three-way race against the NDP’s Jessica Van der Veen and Liberal incumbent Ida Chong in Oak Bay-Gordon Head.

Widely respected for his intellectual integrity, Weaver would make a splendid addition to the B.C. legislature. Defying knee-jerk eco-reflexes about “pollution,” for instance, Weaver has called for a cautious and thorough rethinking of the absurdly expensive and largely unnecessary $783-million sewage treatment plan Victoria residents are being saddled with by both the provincial and federal governments.

And then there’s Independent MLA Bob Simpson (Cariboo North), who may go down in British Columbia history as the greatest forest minister or environment minister we never had.

One of the brightest lights in the NDP ranks following the May 2009 provincial election, Simpson was cast out of the Official Opposition in October 2010 for having openly acknowledged what every New Democrat already knew — that NDP leader Carole James’ days as leaders were numbered. Since his ouster, Simpson has served as a crackerjack critic and a tireless fighter for his constituents.

It wasn’t the NDP that led the charge against the crackpot economics and water-resources lunacy involved in the Liberals’ northern liquid natural gas obsessions. It was Simpson, along with the legislature’s only elected Independent, Delta South’s Vicki Huntington.

It was also Simpson who almost single-handedly forced the Liberals to back away from a highly contentious Tree Farm Licence scheme that would have handed de facto private-property rights in B.C.’s public forestlands to a handful of big forest companies, Liberal party contributors all.

On these and other issues, Simpson’s former NDP colleagues haven’t been exactly torch carriers. And what about Adrian Dix’s surprise Earth Day announcement opposing the proposed expansion of the Kinder-Morgan pipeline? Was that out of a sincere commitment to environmental protection, or was it just crass politics?

Weaver stands a fighting chance. Simpson’s got a clear shot at re-election. So does Huntington in Delta South and John van Dongen in Abbotsford South. Things could get interesting.

In the former Social Credit stronghold of Peace River North, incumbent Liberal Pat Pimm faces a fierce challenge from Independent Arthur Hadland. Hadland, a former chairman of the local credit union and regional government rep, polled 30 per cent in the last election, and he appears to be rapidly closing the gap.

There could be other surprises.

Would it be so bad if neither Dix nor Clark commanded a majority in the next legislature?

It wouldn’t be such a bad thing at all.


~ Terry Glavin
The worst part about a 7 day lockdown is the first 4 months.
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steven lloyd
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Re: Some fresh voices in the B.C. Legislature would be a goo

Post by steven lloyd »

... , what would be so bad about waking up May 15 to find that we’ve elected a few high-calibre MLAs not beholden to either Dix or Clark? We’re not electing an emir or a khan here. We’re electing a legislature.

Would it be so bad if neither Dix nor Clark commanded a majority in the next legislature?

It would be the best possible outcome!

It is depressing that we still have people who would vote for candidates
based simply (very simply) on nothing other than their partisanship
(although they do try to obfuscate that with rhetoric and dribble).
hobbyguy
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Re: Some fresh voices in the B.C. Legislature would be a goo

Post by hobbyguy »

I agree that the polarized, essentially two party system doesn't serve us well. I would like to see the kind of thing that prevails in New Zealand, or Norway, or even Germany. Problem is most people want to vote for a party that has a chance, so unless we go proportional like New Zealand, we're almost doomed to this unbalanced dance.

That's actually one thing that WAC got wrong - he killed the proportional system.
The middle path - everything in moderation, and everything in its time and order.
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Glacier
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Re: Fresh voices in BC Legislature would be a good thing

Post by Glacier »

I used to be in favour of proportional representation, but then this STV referendum thing came around. This forced me to do some research, and as a result I reversed my position. In that respect, I now agree with Wacky Bennett.

viewtopic.php?f=26&t=18242



Under the name 'preferential' or 'elimination ballot', IRV was used in the British Columbia's general elections of 1952 and 1953. IRV was initially brought in by the governing coalition consisting of the Liberal and Conservative Parties to try to prevent a left-wing government under the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation as voters could then choose one of the governing parties as their first choice and the other as their second choice. However, IRV backfired on the Liberals and Conservatives when many CCF supporters chose the relatively unknown Social Credit Party, a minor party that had never held any seats in the British Columbia legislature, as their second choice. The Social Credit Party achieved a spectacular upset victory in the 1952 election, winning a plurality of 19 seats in the 48-member legislature to 18 for the CCF, 6 for the Liberals and 4 for the Conservatives. The Socreds formed a short-lived minority government until the 1953 election, in which they won a majority of seats (28 of 48). After the 1953 election, the Liberal and renamed Progressive Conservative Parties were reduced to third parties in the province, and first-past-the-post was reinstated by the government.
The worst part about a 7 day lockdown is the first 4 months.

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