I admit that I don't follow British Columbia politics very closely. What I do hear often disturbs me. British Columbia, for those who may not have heard, is in the midst of a provincial election. The final vote is scheduled for May 9th.
Christie Clark is a defending a Liberal government that has been in power since 2001. Clark became premier after her predecessor, Gordon Campbell, was shown the door in 2011 after a controversy regarding the introduction of a harmonized sales tax. Clark looked poised to lose in 2013. She was deeply unpopular and polls said the Liberals were marching to defeat. Then in a massive upset the polls were wrong and Clark led her party to a majority.
A good primer for the election is a recent episode of Canadaland Short Cuts. In the past year or so there has been a great deal of criticism of the BC Liberals' fundraising practices. British Columbia has no limits to the amount that can be donated, nor any restrictions on corporate donations. Subsequently there has been significant criticism that the Liberals are little more than shills for the fossil fuel industry. There seems to be a significant revolving door between industry, government and media.
Polling at moment shows that the NDP have lost their lead over the Liberals. Eric Grenier's poll analysis suggests that the NDP and Liberals will win a similar number of seats, a virtual tie. The real surprise at the moment is the strength of the Green Party. At points they have polled above 20%. Green support is concentrated on Vancouver Island, which may eat into the NDP seat totals.
I think it is important here to restate that polling should be taken with a grain a salt. I obviously have my sympathies for the BC NDP, especially given the long-in-the-tooth Clark government with their questionable ethics. That said, I'd like to see the Green Party make some gains as well. Perhaps we will end up in an interesting position where we will have a minority government with the Greens holding the balance of power.
British Columbia has faced a number of concerning issues over the last few years: housing affordability, resource development, First Nations' rights, and sustainable development. These issues do not have simple solutions, but I hope that their leaders are at least speaking to this problems. Best of luck to the voters of British Columbia next week, make good choices!