Polls have just closed, but I think Gordon Campbell’s Liberals will soon be re-elected for a third term in government. This has less to do with the anything Campbell did (his most notable moment of the campaign was a series of patronizing, misogynistic comments during the debate, hardly inspiring to voters) and everything to do with Carole James’s campaign for the NDP.
Last year, Campbell introduced a carbon tax in B.C., and it predictably went over like a very wet balloon. Uproar against it was so strong that the Graham government here in N.B. discreetly shelved its plans for a carbon tax. James, sensing a chance to earn some easy votes, quickly declared that the NDP would abolish the tax. This pissed off the environmental wing of the party, but support from the mostly rural carbon tax opponents seemed to counteract that in the polls.
Then, the economic shitshow happened and gas prices fell.
Suddenly, the carbon tax wasn’t such a big deal for voters, and its opponents mainly deserted the NDP. The environmental vote, however, stayed with the Green Party and the Liberals. As a result, far from forming government, the NDP will form a smaller opposition. My projection, based on examination of polls and the swing, has the Liberals at 53 seats and the NDP at 32. In spite of growing popular support, the Greens won’t be able to collect enough support in any one riding to win a seat.
More important for the rest of the country will be the referendum on the Single Transferable Vote (STV). To be honest, I don’t have the best grasp on STV, but it would create 20 large districts which would elect a certain number of MLA’s. Voters would rank their preference, and if no candidate wins majority support, the lowest polling candidate would be removed and their support would be redistributed to the other candidates. .This process would repeat until all the candidates in the district are elected.
While I admittedly don’t like the district proposal, mainly because not every district will have an equal number of ridings, I’d love to see some real electoral reform in this country. I think it should engage people more in democracy, and make individual votes count more. I also think this will be the last chance for electoral reform in Canada for awhile if it’s defeated tonight. STV was defeated in BC in 2005 and mixed-member proportional representation was defeated in PEI in 2005 and Ontario in 2007. I don’t think it could stand a fourth nail in the coffin.
UPDATE, 1:26 ADT: The CBC has just declared that there will be another Liberal majority in BC. They are currently leading or elected in 48 ridings, the NDP leading or elected in 37.