Wednesday, May 10, 2017

British Columbia Provincial Election serves up Minority Government

Woman walks to polling Station yesterday
during the BC Provincial Election

Everybody is asking me, as a British Columbian, what I think of the stunning results of yesterday's election.  Well, actually, NOBODY is asking me that question [Yawn] but I'll provide my observations anyway.

Here's the report from the radio news channel 1130.  I will have more reactions in comments to follow:


VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – It could be several weeks before British Columbians know for sure which party — or parties — will hold the reins of power.
Recounts and a tally of absentee ballots will be needed before the outcome of the provincial election is clear, but if the current results stand, BC will have its first minority government in more than 60 years.
Currently the Liberals hold 43 seats, the New Democrats have 41 and the Green party took three seats on Vancouver Island, giving that party and Leader Andrew Weaver the balance of power.
The official count of votes won’t be held for almost two weeks, and that’s when thousands of absentee ballots will be added to the totals, while at least one recount, and possibly more, will be required to decide very close races.
“We’re going to ask you to wait a little bit longer,” said BC NDP Leader John Horgan. “Until all the votes are counted and the final results of this election are known.”
The NDP took the riding of Courtenay-Comox by just 9 votes. The Orange also won Maple Ridge-Mission by 120 ballots while the Liberals took Coquitlam-Burke Mountain by 170 votes.
“We have not finished.” added Horgan. “There are absentee ballots to come and many more votes to count before this election is over.”
Green victories in three Vancouver Island ridings won’t be enough to give the party official standing in the legislature — at least four seats are required for that — but if last night’s results don’t change, the Greens will still wield plenty of power.
Leader Andrew Weaver could throw his support to either the Liberals or New Democrats, giving either party the numbers they need to form government.
Weaver — who was re-elected in his Oak Bay-Gordon Head riding — has spoken with both Liberal Leader Christy Clark and the N-D-P’s John Horgan, but isn’t tipping his hand about strategy.
He says the party offered change to British Columbians and voters responded, also electing Adam Olsen, in Saanich North and the Islands, and Sonia Furstenau in Cowichan Valley.
Liberal Leader Christy Clark says she intends to form government, but she may have to hold that thought for a bit, until official counts confirm her party won the most seats — with the count currently standing at 43.
“We have been presented with an opportunity by British Columbians to open a whole new dialogue in our province, in our legislature. A dialogue about how we do things what we should do, how we want to shape the future of our province.”
Speaking to supporters last night in Vancouver, Clark said she was confident that thousands of absentee ballots will shore up the Liberal’s razor-thin victory.
“Tonight is the beginning of something very different. And something I think could be very exciting for the future of our province, and for our kids.”
That count won’t take place until later this month, and New Democrat Leader John Horgan is equally confident that the uncounted votes will push his party to power — and he says he won’t concede the election until those counts are complete.
With 41 seats, New Democrats gained eight MLAs, compared to 2013, and made inroads in Metro Vancouver, while the Liberals lost seven seats and a handful of cabinet ministers, but captured a couple of key Interior ridings previously held by the NDP."

I did vote in yesterday's provincial election here in BC.  Then I planned to stay up late to catch the results on TV.  When I finally turned in, the vote was tied and the talking heads said it was going to be a "long night".

This morning, I discovered British Columbians currently have a "minority government" which means that no party has enough seats to pass legislation in our Provincial Legislature...without the co-operation of another party.  This usually means that nothing gets done.  In BC, it could be worse than usual because of the extreme polarization in this province.

Historically, BC voters are divided between the UNION NDP types and the CORPORATE Liberal types.  In this election there is an unusual third party rump--the Green party, who elected three candidates.  The Greens (all candidates from the hippy Vancouver Island communities) will not likely align themselves with the Liberals (who have the most--43 seats--just one short of a majority).  The Greens and the Liberals are on the farthest side of the political spectrum from one another on hot button environmental issues--such as gas pipelines being twinned and run through Vancouver suburbs.  The Liberal Party is historically representative of developers--who want to sell off BC's land and resources to the highest bidder (or, to their bestest friends in the corporate world).  The NDP, on the other hand has traditionally been the home of the Unions and social activists.  Historically, they've been accused of blowing the budget on social programs.  Nowadays, with the Union Movement virtually gutted by past Liberal Provincial legislation...the union movement has lost the NDP have their share of developers and corporatists too...In fact they usually behave the same way as Liberals in the legislature once elected.  The Greens would more likely vote alongside the NDP, which would give that party a majority if that happened, although the leader of the Greens has not indicated any preference thus far.

This election results indicate that most people wanted a change.  The Liberals were tired and unmotivated...having held power for 16 years.  Had the Greens not had a record breaking (for them) surge in popularity...the NDP would have won.  This makes me rather skeptical, as I usually am, about the real purpose of "third parties".  Are they genuine?  Or, like they recently were in the US...are they just an artificial attempt to deny the leftist party the vote?  In other words, are they funded, aided and abetted behind the scenes by the "usual suspects"?

So, in summary, BC voters likely will not find out until the end of May, when the advance and absentee vote is counted, who actually won the election or, whether it will remain a minority government--that means we'll have another election soon.  Last time I checked...the Liberal candidate in my own riding was winning by a measly 29 that might flip to NDP soon.

Interestingly, when I went to the polling station yesterday, I had to sign my name twice.  Once on a big voter registration list of names (this is normal) but, then, I also had to sign the brown envelope that my ballot was put in after I selected my choice on it.  Then the scrutineer handed the envelope back to me and I dropped it into the ballot box.  Now, wouldn't the eventual vote counter know what way I voted by seeing the signature on the bottom of that envelope?  What was the point of my having to check my ballot behind a "privacy" cardboard screen....if I had to sign my name on the envelope it was sealed into?  In all my years of voting I've never had to do this.  I found it slightly ominous and disturbing.

Well, the "exercise in democracy" is (almost) all over now.  But if they ever introduce electronic voting machines...I'm outta here.


Anonymous said...

Good summary of the big theatrical show.
We must live in a democracy, look at all the signs, so many colors and choices! Now a long drawn out recount to ensure democracy prevails.
Agreed on third parties, they just split up the moderate anti war vote and allow the most fascist party to slide up the middle.

As for the NDP, this is old news, but it shows their FULL cooperation with the criminals, keeping quiet and even booting people out who dare to talk about 'it.'

We all know the 2010 Olympics failed to deliver on the housing promises, big time.
But we ALL say, 'at least we got much needed improvements to the Sea to Sky highway' and we are thankful........
But we do not own it. It was sold to an Australian multi national in secret, with the NDP aware and staying quiet. To rub salt in our wounds, we pay tolls on every car that goes up or down that road, rich Europeans, Americans and Chinese tourists drive for free, and the BC taxpayer pays the tolls. Shadow tolls, with secretive cameras recording vehicle traffic. After the Aussie firm made millions on our highway, they flipped it to Cerebus Management (can you find a more evil hedge fund company on Wall Street?) who now makes millions off struggling BC taxpayers.
BC learned from Ontario with their hwy 407 toll road fiasco and the sale of it to a Brazilian firm. Best to do all of this in SECRET, and without NDP playing along, it could not have worked. Bet you a million dollars the Greens will never raise this issue either.
I had my doubts about that story when I read it years ago, so I verified the facts in the only way possible. I read about them in the financial statements of both companies who freely brag about the money they are making on this for their stockholders.

greencrow said...

Hi Anonymous

Thanks for this valuable contribution to my post about "democracy in BC". I did not know about the sale of the "Sea to Sky" highway--and where the tolls go. There are so many scandals in BC it is hard to keep up. Remember the "Fast Ferries"? Built on taxpayer money in BC and then sold at a fraction of their value off shore just a year or so later because their wake was too much for pristine BC coastlines? Hello...the engineers couldn't have figured that out before? And the BC rail scandal. BC had one of the loveliest little railways from north to south which could have been a great tourist draw...but it was secretly sold and then dismantled. So many scandals and so little time. Again, thanks.