The unpredictable election

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The election prediction as of April 16th available over at

Four weeks.

Four weeks until this poor benighted province dumps one of the worst governments in recent memory.

Four weeks until sanity is restored.

At least that’s what I believe.  While it’s not a slam-dunk, take it for granted election it is the closest thing to it since 2001.

That is, unless you’re Gary Mason who concludes his ‘welcome to the campaign’ column this morning by predicting “we could be in store for one of the most compelling and surprising elections BC has witnessed I some time.”

Now I’ve just got back in town, but as far as I can remember I didn’t spend the last four years on Mars.  Most of that time I spent in British Columbia, where we are holding the election of which Mr. Mason speaks.

And here’s how I recall that period, politically speaking.

The BC Liberals won a close election in 2009 and immediately blew the mandate, announcing they kind of didn’t tell the truth about the deficit by about $2 billion.  ‘And BTW’, they added, ‘we’re imposing a $2 billion tax shift from business onto average people, contrary to what we said in the election’.

Throat cut, the government continued to govern calmly playing ‘see no evil, hear no evil, speak a bunch of drivel’ in the face of a campaign to hold a referendum on the HST.

Surprising to only the government and the media, the public said ‘yes please we’d like to have a referendum on this **!!?*# tax.’

The BC Liberal Premier tossed his cookies and left, but not before a) securing a plum patronage position from his ideological buddy in Ottawa and b) using 6 million taxpayer generated dollars to plea bargain his way out of an incriminating corruption trial.  That BC Liberal Premier went out the door trailing an 8% approval rating, about average for a gang leader.

In came the new BC Premier, a former talk show host – only in BC and Toronto – who promised not to campaign in favour of the HST but respect voters’ wishes in a referendum.

She immediately kicked off her two year term campaigning for the HST, in the process spending millions on stupid little ads that had stupid little stick people representing the stupid people of BC who didn’t understand how good and wise it is to pay business’ share of taxes on top of their own – even if it does drive down demand in the middle of the worst recession since the 1930s.

The Premier and her party got creamed.

So she started campaigning anew for the election, which left little time for running stuff.

The Premier campaigned so hard she didn’t bother calling legislature sessions. Very little legislation got passed and a lot of it was rushed and full of errors, the HST took 2 years to go away, backlogs developed, class sizes got bigger, strikes occurred, waiting lists grew, the deficit grew, the debt grew, BC Hydro was raided, ICBC was raided, we spent half a billion on a stadium roof, filled the stadium with Bollywood celebrities and cut child services.  In fact everyone and everything got cut except government executives who got big bonuses for cutting services.

But we did get ads, tons and tons of ads, ten ads a period during hockey games, ads in the Grey Cup, the Super Bowl and the Academy Awards, ads that meant nothing and hid the truth and made government members happy and everybody else sad.

We got ads.

Writing this I think I’ve landed on one small truth.  The BC Liberal government’s pre-election ad campaign is their signature moment in government.  While Clark’s Liberals may not do anything useful in government they sure market the heck out of that failure.

And with that single achievement Clark enters the “unpredictable” 2013 election with a 17 point deficit, the biggest gap since 2001.

Quelle suprise!

This entry was posted in BC Liberals, BC Politics, BC Rail, Christy Clark. Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to The unpredictable election

  1. G. Barry Stewart says:

    Great smack-down, Ian!

    35 seats, though… That seems extremely generous. I sure hope AGT unleashes an A-bomb before the voting starts. The BC Christies need to be cleaned out.

  2. Joanne says:

    Just dreaming here – and I don’t want to get all greedy – but how sweet would it be to win a majority government with an actual majority of the vote?

  3. luigi says:

    I hope everyone will remember this when Clark’s campaign bus rolls into your town: She is not smiling in genuine friendship…..she is looking at every one of you and thinking SUCKER.
    Her fabricated, false campaign speeches will reflect this in the untruths she tells. She has no respect for your intelligence, she thinks you are all fools. The past 12 years are proof.

  4. Scotty on Denman says:

    The political priorities are plain: get rid of the BC Liberals and start cleaning up their mess. The preoccupying sideshow is the sloshing political seascape as the swirling hole in the water that is the BC Liberal party slams shut for good, the fate of hapless survivors clinging to bits of flotsam and whether their captain’s wave-tossed arm, entangled in rope and broken harpoons is really bidding good bye from the breaching Moby Dix…or just looking for attention.

    Many tight wins in the last election resulted from the usual Green vote-splitting. Obviously things are gonna be different this time, not only because of the dominant theme of BC Liberal perfidy but because many erstwhile Greens have finally recognized how Green votes effectively hand power to professedly un-environmental parties (not running a full slate is symptomatic of flagging Green support). The entry of the BC Conservatives presents another stripe of spoiler; now that Christy’s platform looks to be more of the same prancing majorette routine that has hitherto precluded her government’s re-election chances, many BC Liberal hangers-on may at the last extremity jump to this right-wing alternative–although it is probably not out of the question for some disaffected BC Liberals to park with the Greens. The high percentage of undecideds illustrates the fluidity remaining even at this stage of regime change.

    Nothing illustrates this fluidity more than the fact three of the four main party leaders stand to lose their own seats, including the Premier herself, a sub-plot that strangely steals some of the main spotlight. How the right will regroup depends less on the number of BC Liberal survivors than it does upon the fates of Christy Clark and John Cummins: if either or both fail to win a seat, somebody like Kevin Falcon could seize the opportunity to lead the right. A lot of “ifs” here but if Cummins loses while his party wins a few seats, and if Christy loses and leaves an orphaned, rump caucus, the opportunity to merge the two parties (and a few Independents, too) and, importantly, dump the now permanently toxic BC Liberal brand, will entice the politically ambitious. If Christy wins her seat, the process of reforming the right will be annoyingly delayed; again the big “if” is whether the BC Conservatives can gain any traction in parliament, by election or floor-crossing.

    While this fascinating sideshow plays out, the NDP will be buckling down to the ominous task of forensic accounting of the previous regime’s books and remediation of its many transgressions…granted, not as sexy, but the real story nonetheless.

  5. G. Barry Stewart says:

    Dang these sites that don’t allow an edit! My comment about the 35 BC Libs seats was the “possible” high suggested in Ian’s chart. I guess that could happen, if all the Tim Rices of the province get their votes in and the soft NDPers forget to vote or assume it’s a shoe-in.

    I much-prefer the possible low of 6 (or less).

    People who want Christy and her bunch gone: VOTE! Better yet, put in some volunteer time or at least post a sign — and try to bring other like-minded people to the polling station.

  6. Gary L. says:

    I’ll be brief.

    This is one of the best Threads I have ever read on the Net!


  7. anybody but crusty says:

    this is going to be the longest month of the year..already we’re hearing the garbage that only the Liberals can spew with a straight face. I can’t fathom how intelligent people can fall for the such rot. I wouldn’t believe that bunch if their tongues came notarized.

  8. Stephen Rees says:

    Scotty on Denman’s verbal assault on the Green Party is entirely unwarranted. Indeed, attacking other parties is always the sign that you have nothing positive to say about your own policies. So far from “flagging Green support” the most recent polls show voter intentions at 10% – versus an actual 8% at the previous election. Not running a full slate was the chosen path of the Green Party of Canada – which saw the election of the first Green MP. We need the first Green MLA and therefore are concentrating our efforts this time rather than pursuing the “right to vote Green” approach, which spread us too thinly last time. The resources the Green Party commands, both financial and in personnel, are tiny compared to the NDP and BC Liberals. But we sure do seem to be getting some attention this time.

  9. Scotty on Denman says:

    I’ll admit to being an NDPer who, like my comrades, has lots of positive things to say about our platform and the many environmental policies that remain important legacies of previous NDP governments, including doubling the number of parks, the establishment of ecological reserves and the Forest Practices Code (despite BC Liberal sabotage, the Code still provides fish and wildlife protection where there was none previously); looking forward there are plenty of NDP policies to further protect the environment, important among which are the prohibition of bitumen tanker traffic and pipelines on our coast and solid contingencies for converting the fish farm industry into one which doesn’t threaten wild salmon stocks.

    As Stephen Rees points out, the Green party is financially tiny compared to the big parties, such is its level of popularity. My assessment of its flagging support is based only partly on its inability to run a full slate (okay, okay, they meant to do that…); a not-inconsiderable factor is the amount of anecdotal evidence I hear, especially in my own riding, that since it is paramount to oust the worst government we’ve ever had, many erstwhile Green supporters will be voting NDP this time. Such a shift is quite warranted: the Greens have split the non-neo-right vote in the last four elections in BC in a row (a pair each of federal and provincial contests); in 2009 the Greens split (i.e., their number of votes exceeded the margin of victory between first and second place finishers) in each of 13 ridings, in effect handing power to the BC Liberals. These are just facts; I’d hardly call them an attack on the Greens. In fact, I would welcome a Green presence in our Legislature and I understand why, in their straits, Greens must focus on a few of the most promising prospects.

    I don’t have issues with Green ethos or strategic focus on one or two seats but I do about their tactics: if they’re really intentionally focussing on a couple of ridings to ensure “quality” candidacy (as leader Jane Sterk describes it), why are they running a candidate in my riding where they’ve never had a hope in hell of winning and which would have gone NDP in the last four elections but for Green vote splitting? Yes, I understand the party needs the money local candidates collect and each of those token contestants may be quite honest with their constituents about exactly where and for what reason their donations leave the riding but, given the paramountcy of turfing the BC Liberals and the indisputable fact of vote-splitting (especially in perennially tight ridings like mine), I would prefer the Greens just ask people to support candidates in the targeted ridings by sending money and instruct supporters in the remainder to vote for the party most likely to beat the BC Liberals.

    It’s not an attack, honest…but it is warranted.

  10. Norm Farrell says:

    When the ruling party is as thoroughly corrupt as the BC Liberals, the focus should be on removal and extermination. That result will send a lasting message to future governments. Pay sole attention to special interests and you will be thrown out by the common people.

    Every movement to segment Liberal opponents into ineffective fractions works in favour of the incumbent government. I don’t have any policy complaint with the Greens and I believe that protection of our environment is the single most important issue because, while I’ve got only 10 or 20 years left, my grandchildren have 70 or 80 years. (As I write this my 6yr old grandson is at my feet, in thrall, watching BBC’s Blue Planet, again.)

    But, the NDP generally shares the objective of protecting our natural world.

    I agree with Scotty on Denman that, in general, actions of the Greens work to the benefit of people they claim to oppose most vigorously. Our ‘first past the post’ electoral system dictates that we should not waste votes on no-chance candidates, even good ones, to avoid election of people who aim to serve special big-business interests. Polling at 10% or so, most every Green candidate has little chance of victory. However, the percentage they take away from the strongest opponents of environmental buccaneers, increases the chance of a bad result. A result that will devestate the future of today’s six year olds.

  11. Paul says:

    I agree with Scotty on Denman

    (from this weeks G&M)

    ‘Jane Sterk, the B.C. Green Leader, has an approval rating of 29 per cent, according to the poll, while Premier Christy Clark is at 27 per cent.’

    So why in the hell is Jane Sterk running in the riding of Victoria-Beacon Hill for the first time ever?

    Does she even want to be the first Green party candidate in BC history to win a provincial seat, or does she actually want to give it to the Liberals?

    Carole James is the current MLA for Victoria-Beacon Hill.

    Carole James won the Victoria-Beacon Hill riding in the 2005 BC general election (57.21%) – Green (10.57%)

    Carole James won the Victoria-Beacon Hill riding once again in the 2009 BC general election (55.37%) – Green (16.97%)

    Explain that.

    I helped out NDP candidate Tim Stevenson in the riding of Vancouver-Burrard in the 2005 BC provincial election campaign.

    NDP Tim Stevenson lost to BC Liberal Lorne Mayencourt by only 11 votes.

    Liberal: 42.16%
    NDP: 42.12%
    Green: 12.98%

    The Green party candidate’s name was Janek Kuchmistrz.

    During the campaign he used to parade in front of Tim Stevenson’s campaign office on Davie St. drumming up publicity and generally making a nuisance out of himself.

    I thought that it was quite rude of him to do that so I did some research on this guy.

    and guess what?

    This same Green party candidate worked for Gordon Campbell during the 1996 election.

    And here’s the Tyee article I just dug up talking about this person and his past BC Liberal connections.

    The Tyee
    BC Greens Shifting Right?
    By Jared Ferrie, 14 Oct 2005
    Carr points out that while the party has, in past elections, lured NDP supporters, this year it found support among disenchanted former Liberals.

    “They’re stronger in our party now,” she said.

    One of these ex-BC Liberals is Janek Kuchmistrz. He worked for Gordon Campbell during the 1996 election, but ran as a Green candidate this year. He thinks the party has an image problem.

    Here’s the link:

    We should all be checking the history of some of these Green party candidates this year.

    I intend to.

  12. islandcynic says:

    Jane Sterk chose her riding because at the time it appeared that Carole James would not return to politics after her leadership failure. It as plain opportunism and nothing else. Carole has loads of integrity and chose to follow her personal commitment to the party and their ideals and stay in politics. This woman is amazing.

    I agree with Scotty on Denman about the Greens. I see them as Libs that haven’t had their environmental voice heard in BC. Their tax policies align with the Fraser Institute and will hurt the poor. I hope people finally see them as the right wing party that they really are. You may just see the Greens as the new right wing party in BC in the next few election cycles.

    I also need to point out that I am sick and tired of Elizabeth May. She spends so much time supporting Green candidates in this BC election instead of being the MP for Saanich North & the Islands. I resent paying for her airfare to come home every weekend to shill for Adam Olsen, a lightweight candidate compared to the NDP’s Gary Holman. Again, her interference shows that nothing matters more than gaining political ground, yet she claims to be the crusader for the environment. Also there is massive confusion on the doorstep about the Greens, as many believe that the NDP are running against Lizzie May herself. This confusion will not be cleared up by her party as they know they can capitalize on her branding, while at the same time they throw Jane Sterk under the bus. This party and their dirty politics is sick.
    Elizabeth May should stay out of provincial politics.

  13. islandcynic says:

    To Paul:

    Andrew Weaver supported Campbell in ’09. Even recorded a robo-call for them.

  14. RS says:

    Honour amongst thieves???
    Adrian Dix is right – politics has become profane, and the electorate, and after a decade or more of arrogance, corruption, nepotism (for starters) have become very sceptical of the political process – and might I add politicians, and the media sources that shill for them.

  15. Robert says:

    Just heard blathering Bill of NotWise fame talking about BC ferries. Obviously a fan of the BC ferry format now as he heckled Maureen from the NDP and polished Mary Polaks Butt. Smythe with Macombe has really started his anti Dix and the NDP tirades. Just think how interesting this election would be if the Mainstream babblers did their jobs and asked the lieberals about the problems the have created over the last 12 years. Please someone campaign on a second route where we don’t have to go through the lower mainland. If they could build the Coquihalla they can build one from Powell River to Lillooett and look at the gas savings.

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