Thursday, October 30, 2008

NDP sends BC Liberals a strong message.

This is from the Province.
Since a governing party has not won a byelection in BC in thirty years, I guess this should not be too surprising. However, Campbell's carbon tax is obviously not popular at all in spite of the fact that environmental protection seems to be a motherhood issue among many in BC. When mummy picks the pocketbook though or is thought to do so many contemplate matricide.

Thursday » October 30 » 2008

NDP sends Liberals strong message
Campbell gov't has battle ahead in May provincewide election

John Bermingham and Frank Luba, with a file from Jack Keating
The Province
Thursday, October 30, 2008
The NDP said they wanted to send a message to Victoria, and it appeared they did it in grand style last night.
Vancouver Parks Board commissioner Spencer Herbert was cruising to crush the Liberals' Arthur Griffiths, the former Canucks owner, in Vancouver-Burrard at press time.
Herbert was on track to take the seat that was held previously by the Liberals' Lorne Mayencourt, who resigned to run federally for the Conservatives.
Elections B.C. said that, after all polls reported, Herbert led by 5,136 to Griffith's 3,836 votes.
In Vancouver-Fairview, the margin was tighter, but social activist Jenn McGinn was beating former B.C. Medical Association president Dr. Margaret MacDiarmid.
By press time, McGinn had garnered 4,408 votes compared to 3,762 for MacDiarmid, Elections B.C. said. Their website crashed last night and results were slow in coming.
"There's no doubt," we sent a message to Victoria, said Geff Fox, president of the B.C. NDP.
"Mr. Campbell needs to start listening to B.C. voters, to what Carole James and our caucus is saying or he'll find himself unemployed in May," he said.
A governing party has not won a byelection in B.C. in nearly 30 years.
Government house leader Mike de Jong said: "In coming elections, this is going to be a battle. We cannot and we will not take anything for granted. It is a reminder and a wake-up call to everyone that elections are a contest. We will be ready."
Before the byelection, there were 45 Liberals and 32 New Democrats in the legislature.
Simon Fraser University political scientist Kennedy Stewart was surprised by the results and said it means a "shift in public sentiment" from the B.C. Liberals to the NDP.
"I was expecting both of [the NDP candidates] to lose," Stewart said.
"But now this is quite a result for the NDP. It maintains their momentum."
The B.C. Liberals and NDP were each looking for a byelection double, to give them momentum for the campaign.
But voter fatigue was likely a factor in the byelection, coming just after a federal election, and just before a civic election.
Both Vancouver byelections were fought on big-city, rather than provincial, concerns.
The main issues in Vancouver-Burrard were homelessness, rent hikes and evictions in the West End, and how to treat the area's mentally ill and drug addicted population.
Griffiths came into the campaign with a high public recognition, compared to Herbert.
Griffiths' campaign really started six months ago, when he began outreach to community groups and individuals in the riding.
He got the renter's office reopened in the riding and set up a meeting last week between renters group Renters at Risk and Housing Minister Rich Coleman.
Two weeks ago, Griffiths saved 60 jobs at the Odyssey gay nightclub by getting its lease extended till next year with B.C. Housing and a non-profit housing society.
Herbert ran on his connection to West End's gay and renter population.
He pitched his campaign as a "David and Goliath" struggle against a celebrity-candidate.
Also running in Vancouver-Burrard were Marc Emery, leader of the B.C. Marijuana Party, Drina Read of the Green Party of B.C. and Ian McLeod of the B.C. Conservatives.
In Vancouver-Fairview, homelessness was also the key issue, along with transit, and construction headaches along the Cambie corridor.
The Liberals recruited MacDiarmid, who was running against NDP candidate Jenn McGinn, a constituency association president, and unsuccessful parks board candidate in 2005.
MacDiarmid's office made 20,000 phone calls, sent 10,000 pieces of direct mail and knocked on thousands of doors.
Her team ran an on-the-ground campaign, and last night sent out dozens of volunteers to knock on doors and get the vote out.
Earlier in the day, scrutineers were at all the polling locations, checking off voters against lists of supporters, and phoning those who hadn't yet voted.
Two provincial party leaders also parachuted into the contest, Jane Sterk, leader of the B.C. Green Party, and Wilf Hanni, who heads the B.C. Conservatives.
The other candidate was Jodie Emery of the B.C. Marijuana Party, who campaigned on legalization of pot.
The seat was vacated after NDP MLA Gregor Robertson jumped into the Vancouver mayoral race, and before that had been held for nine years by former Liberal finance minister Gary Collins.
In the 2005 election, Robertson won over the Liberal candidate by about 900 votes.
Both of the main parties were looking for momentum, going into the campaign for the provincial election next May.
The Liberals and NDP have been mustering support for their competing economic plans for B.C. to ride out the global economic turmoil.
Premier Gordon Campbell announced a 10-point plan for the economy, including personal and small business income-tax cuts of $300 million and a major capital spending program.
Last Monday, NDP Leader Carole James proposed axing the carbon tax, which would put back $570 million into the economy, and raising the minimum wage.
The new MLAs will get their first chance to sit in the B.C. legislature on Nov. 20, when the house resumes for a brief fall session.
But both candidates will be sitting MLAs for the next seven months, until the provincial election in May 2009.
© The Vancouver Province 2008

Copyright © 2008 CanWest Interactive, a division of CanWest MediaWorks Publications, Inc.. .

No comments: