By Roy L Hales
In one of the stunning upsets of British Columbian politics, the Green Party has been leading the polls from Vancouver Island. There was a time when it looked like the party that no one thought could form the government might be a major contender in the coming election. This has changed. The latest poll from Mainstreet Research shows the NDP surging ahead on Vancouver Island.
NDP Surging Ahead On Vancouver Island
Living on Cortes Island, where I have yet to see a lawn sign endorsing the BC Liberals, the sudden shift seems almost inexplicable.
Driving through two central Vancouver Island ridings yesterday, I saw a very different scenario.
With one exception, all of the signs I saw along my route on Quadra and Cortes Islands were Orange, but there were a great many Liberal placards in the city of Campbell River. Considering that this is where most people live, it would seem there is a real battle going on in North Island riding.
The Green party does not appear to be a contender in either riding.
This reinforces my impression that most of the Green party’s supporters are in the southern part of Vancouver Island, where Andrew Weaver (provincial) and Elizabeth May (federal) were elected.
This also confronts me with a problem that many North Islanders are facing. My political views align most closely with the Greens, but are not that far from those embraced by many NDP supporters. However Christy Clark’s regime has been an economic1 and environmental disaster.2 Added to which, which I cannot trust most of what they say without first seeing independent verification. I do not want to see British Columbia subjected to another four years of BC Liberal rule. So, given the apparent lack of support for Greens in North Island, are the NDP the only alternate we have?
I suspect this may explain the Green’s slip from a high of 38% to 32% on Vancouver Island. Some respondents may have decided to vote “strategically.”
The Wild Card
Andrew Weaver is urging British Columbians not to succumb to fear tactics. Vote for the party you think would form the best government.
There may be a wild card in play.
Some Green candidates talk of the unexpected support they encounter through their door-to-door canvassing.
Early last April, David Hines told me there before they started canvassing in Kamloops, he though the Green party might pick up another seat or two. His expectations are now much greater.
Kim Darwin, the candidate for Powell River-Sunshine Coast, told me it is essentially a two-party race in her riding: Green or NDP.
She added that Andrew Weaver’s Green bus would be arriving shortly and they were heading for Powell River.3
This is the second time I’ve crossed that Green bus’ path during this election. I saw it on the BC ferry crossing from Tsawwassen to Schwatrz Bay.
The Balance Of Power
The NDP are still leading by 5%. The BC Liberals have been trailing them since February, but could still stage an upset.
One of the biggest questions in this election is the Green party, who still appear to have 21% of the decided and leaning voter. How many MLAs will they send to Victoria? If neither of the front runners can obtain a majority, the Greens may end up holding the balance of power.