Here I sit in the armchair by the window, hair in a bun, eyelids low as I battle to keep them open after staying up past 1 am on an emotional see-saw watching BC’s historic election results roll in.
Watching people walk by on the street, I think about how ironic it is that my new riding of Courtenay-Comox could end up being so critical to the future of BC… The NDP and Liberals are separated here by a mere 9 votes.
9 votes. Remember that when someone tells you one vote doesn’t make a difference because yes my friends it does. The BC Liberals ended last night with 43 seats, the NDP 41 and the Greens 3.
We won’t know for two weeks if the NDP can hold this riding or not, as a judicial recount will be done and absentee ballots have yet to be counted. Because we have 19 Wing here, CFB Comox, many of those absentee votes will be base votes from people on missions, but included in absentee votes will be many snowbirds who spend fall winter and spring here, then take off back east for the summer.
It’s assumed that the Liberal candidate, Jim Beninger could turn it around if those absentee ballots are in his favour, because he was the former base commander. What may surprise some is that quite a few military personnel voted NDP or Green – when it comes to voting, personal values or issues can and do override military loyalty. Everyone here knows how important the base is to the valleys economy.
Either way, despite Clark continuing to serve as premier for the time being, the next two weeks will be spent in limbo while recounts and those absentee ballots are counted, all 176,104 of them!
One thing is clear with this result. The voters who turned out wanted change… but what kind of change they ultimately want remains to be seen. Right now we have a bit of chaos as many are still absorbing the reality of the situation. We haven’t seen a minority government here for 65 years.
Even before the writ drop and start of campaign I sensed the very real possibility of a minority government. I did an interview with CBC on that, as after 16 years of waiting for the NDP to get it together, I heard a lot of readers saying they wanted something new and Greens were gaining steam.
Yet when Trump layed softwood tariffs down and Clark swiftly switched gears in her campaign to capitalize on that fear, I thought perhaps we were likely to see a slim Liberal majority. And we may. But not yet.
The Greens have 3 seats now and that puts them in a power position with votes. I have tremendous faith in Adam Olsen and Sonia Furstenau who are strong people with a lot of integrity. The Greens presence in the legislature will be a good thing for democracy I think…unless some kind of agreement is reached where Weaver supports a Liberal government, which would be at odds with their overall ideology but has come up in discussion because of his past comments.
One thing also needs to be said that the NDP should heed. Voters sent a strong message to Clark who lost several ministers including Amrik ‘smirky’ Virk, Peter Fassbender and Suzanne Anton. But the voters also showed the NDP that they can no longer rely on simply being the only choice, or the ‘better choice’, because the Greens are not going away and I think they will only continue to grow and thrive in BC.
I learned a lot from my readers over the last few months and during the election. A lot of people knock twitter, but my following steadily grows and the people who follow me are incredibly diverse and cut across the political spectrum from left to right. The fastest growing group are between 25 and 45, and guess what? They share their feelings, their ideas, their concerns. It’s incredibly enlightening and gives me such important insight which clearly is point on.
A large majority of them don’t belong to any party, never have, and feel like I do. Stuck in the middle of these long-established parties that have little attraction to them. Centrist.
Some of those people chose the Greens to support this time and many were completely turned off by the tired Clark rhetoric of the nineties. As one young woman told me ” I was a kid in the nineties, that line doesn’t work on me.”
Clark supporters like Brad Bennett, BC Hydro chairman who accompanied Clark on her campaign in an obvious conflict, (* but hey that’s how they do it here in the Wild West*) looked clearly dazed in interviews last night, spewing out spin, trying to recoup but not doing well at either. And Clark? Her late night speech, Hamish at her side, was riddled with lines of working across party lines in an obvious attempt to regroup and make the best, but she looked stunned. At one point her facial expression changes briefly and you can see reality smacking her hard. It was painful to watch. ( not one word please about Hamish, he is a good young man supporting his mom)
Like Norm, I said before this election started that depending on what happened I may move away from blogging about politics. If the people elected Clark again, there seemed to be little sense in continuing. But there is still work to be done. And a lot of it.
All of these amazing people I talk with, all the people sharing their hopes and fears, their desires for simply wanting a commonsense way forward, they made me realize change is possible.
We saw more indies running, sadly none elected. We had some excellent candidates in YPP, Your Political Party. Two more Greens elected? That’s amazing. Inspiring. They all restored my faith.
The biggest issue however, remains voter turnout.
Instead of getting mad over people choosing Green over NDP, get mad at the half of eligible voters who stay home! Don’t get mad at people who are actually voting…get motivated to find out why over a million people in BC never vote.
Keeping that in mind, when only half of BC actually votes it gives Clark even less of a mandate when her seats are based on so few of the provinces inhabitants.
My readers, you, the people who follow on twitter, say time and time again you feel disenfranchised and removed from process. Government announces the project of the day…then does community consultations after the fact. Referendums for transit, but 9 billion dollar dam goes ahead without electorate approval. Integrity has taken a back seat, power has steamrolled principles. Politicians act as though they are above the law.
You get the idea. We need to change the process. We need to hold all these politicians accountable. Some learned the hard way this election that voters will only take so much. They key word is ‘we’. No one is going to do it for us. We need to do this ourselves, together.
Yes,change is not only possible my friends, it is coming. We just saw change happen overnight. More meaningful change takes time and involves engaging a lot of people. It’s not without work. We still may end up with a slim Liberal majority. But maybe not. But are you going to sit and do nothing? No. People are already asking me “What next?”.
You can argue, you can complain and you can fight it all you want with those entrenched institutions that no longer fit the way our world works… but it is coming…You can get on board and make it work..or get out of the way.