B.C.’s political landscape is still being constructed even though election day has come and gone.
Each party and each leader waits with bated breath. Christy Clark is still the premier and will want to continue. If in the counting of 176,000 absentee ballots she gains one seat she will have a razor-thin majority, but nothing will be easy.
Judicial recounts could add or take away from her 43 seats too, and John Horgan’s NDP could conceivably wind up with the most seats, but it is Christy Clark that has the toughest task to manage.
The Green’s Andrew Weaver is going to have to be very careful about what he does. Ms. Clark will try hard to accommodate him, and may even offer him a place in her government.
In my mind that would be the worst thing Mr. Weaver could do. It could spell the end of the Greens, which have just made the biggest splash any Green Party in Canada has made. With three seats Weaver would be wise to listen to whatever Ms. Clark or Mr. Horgan offers and decide what his Green voters would want. His voters chose not to vote for Liberals or New Democrats this time, but the Greens are more in agreement on key issues with the New Democrats. Mr. Weaver has to not look opportunistic or in search of personal gain. He may choose to support either party in some key votes in order to spare us another election too soon, but any close alliance with either party could spell the end of his!
His long game should be to grow the Green Party. Many of those who chose Green this time want an alternative to the Liberals and the NDP, and would like to see a truly new kind of politics in B.C.
For the Liberal team, there’s a lot to answer for. This province is very divided at the moment, both ideologically and geographically. In my mind, the Liberals took Metro Vancouver far too much for granted. Their ridiculous insistence on a referendum on transit two years ago wasted time and failed to approve solutions nearly all mayors supported.
Their punishing policy on tolls angered thousands of Surrey residents who were forced to pay far too much in tolls when the rest of us got off toll free.
Then the premier insisted on getting shovels in the ground for a new $3.5-billion 10-lane bridge to replace the Massey Tunnel. Only Delta Mayor Lois Jackson agrees with that. Every other mayor opposed it. The premier never explained why a much-needed overall transit plan needed a referendum vote and a massive bridge project didn’t.
It seemed arrogant.
Now looking defeat in the eye the premier suddenly speaks of conciliation and working together with the other parties. No one who knows this premier believes for one minute that she’s suddenly going to become conciliatory. It’s not in her DNA.
So what the Greens have to do to survive and grow is look out for the interests of those who voted for them. They would be much safer to work with Mr. Horgan and the NDP than the Liberals. They will have to win on the Island and in Metro Vancouver to grow.
Their supporters will expect them to insist on taking the big money from business and labour out of politics, something the NDP has promised and something that in my mind hurt the Liberals who have been far too willing to accept cash and favours.
Mr. Horgan has promised a binding referendum on election reform, which is critical to Green success.
That issue is problematic for the NDP. The very reason the Greens want proportional representation is it favours the Greens even more than the NDP and that has to worry New Democrats.
It’s too late for this election, but if the Liberals do cling to power they have to reach out to the urban voter who deserted them this election. Transit planning with fair road pricing and regional mayor support would be a good place to start.
Bill Good is a veteran broadcaster currently heard daily on News 1130. Reach him via Twitter @billgood_news
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