Christy Clark speaks at wood pellet shipping facility in North Vancouver during the election campaign. North Vancouver-Lonsdale was one one of the seats the B.C. Liberals lost on May 9. (Black Press)

Yes, Christy Clark won the election

Even without Greens’ support, B.C. Liberals will attempt to govern

Some of the news outlets that breathlessly covered the recent B.C. election as if it was a sporting event had trouble digesting the final score.

It’s 43-41-3. The B.C. Liberals got the most votes and the most seats. They won. Christy Clark is still premier, until the B.C. Liberal government is defeated in a confidence vote in the legislature, or she decides to resign as party leader.

We will see results of this in the days ahead. Even without the support of three B.C. Green Party MLAs, who announced Monday they will support the NDP, I expect Clark will convene the legislature in what amounts to a game of Who Wants Another Election?

There are strategic reasons for this. The most obvious one is that while the B.C. Liberals raised more money than they were allowed to spend in the formal campaign, the Greens and the NDP are likely broke if not in debt.

Another one is that any coalition deal between the Greens and the NDP produces a 44-43 split, a situation as fragile as the one Clark faces.

During the tense two weeks that followed election day, the possibility of a slim B.C. Liberal majority thanks to Courtenay-Comox kept all sides from making any serious commitments.

What we got were platitudes from Clark about the message from voters being about cooperation, ill-advised bluster from B.C. Green Party leader Andrew Weaver about forcing a change to the voting system without a referendum, and hollow rhetoric from NDP leader John Horgan that almost 60 per cent of voters rejected the B.C. Liberals.

In fact a larger number of voters rejected the NDP.

Does Green support from 16.8 per cent of voters, much of it in and around the comfortable isolation of southern Vancouver Island, translate into a mandate for them to adjust the voting system in their favour? Self-serving nonsense.

Does a switch from NDP to Green in two South Island constituencies signal voters’ desire for an NDP-Green coalition? Likely the opposite.

The most significant results of B.C.’s 2017 election were new votes attracted by the Greens, and a substantial number of B.C. Liberal supporters who appear to have stayed home.

I suspect many of those B.C. Liberal supporters were complacent in their belief that the woman in the blue hardhat was cruising to victory. But my subjective guesses are worth the same as those of political science profs who have filled the media space in the past couple of weeks.

Much has been made of the almost exact split in popular vote, 40.36 per cent for the B.C. Liberals and 40.28 for the NDP. Province-wide popular vote is another standard media horse-race topic, but it means nothing in practical and legal terms.

It’s more useful to consider the rural-urban divide. Horgan made a couple of token swings into the B.C. Interior, campaigned against an oil pipeline expansion approved by the presiding jurisdiction in Ottawa, continued his soft opposition to the Site C dam, and benefited from electoral boundary changes in the Fraser Valley and Metro Vancouver.

Clark worked the B.C. Interior hard, and was rewarded with a near-sweep of seats beyond Hope. Another notable result of the 2017 election is that areas enjoying nation-leading urban prosperity after 16 years of B.C. Liberal rule turned away from them, while the Interior regions struggling with high unemployment and depopulation supported an industrial jobs agenda in larger numbers than 2013.

We’ll have another election sooner rather than later, and more people will pay attention.

Tom Fletcher is B.C. legislature reporter and columnist for Black Press. Email: tfletcher@blackpress.ca Twitter: @tomfletcherbc

Just Posted

Study shows special needs hard to meet in B.C. public schools

It’s lunch time at the Dunn-Reker house, and four happy children bounce… Continue reading

Fernie Museum fundraiser a blast from the past

Retro themed evening raises over $10,000 for museum programming

Fernie Alpine Resort opens for preview weekend

Fernie Alpine Resort will be opening for a preview weekend, this Saturday and Sunday

Local boys raise money for sick children in unconventional way

Four local boys have found a way to use their passion for… Continue reading

Skid Steer stolen from Sparwood Transfer Station

Elk Valley RCMP are seeking the public’s assistance with a theft that… Continue reading

VIDEO: Rare comic showing Superman’s 1st appearance to be auctioned

The 1938 comic features Superman hoisting a car over his head

Parastone weighs in on Slalom Drive

At a public hearing in Fernie Council on Tuesday night, Jacqueline Arling,… Continue reading

Ghostriders play hard against Nelson Leafs

Fernie Coach proud of team’s effort against top KIJHL contender

Cokato resident receives Order of Canada

Dr. Bryan Kolb has been instrumental in helping society understand what happens inside our heads

Mainroad discusses road conditions, standards

Last week, Mainroad, the Ministry of Transportation, the City of Fernie and… Continue reading

Dead rats on doorstep greets Summerland mayor

Two rodents have been delivered to Peter Waterman’s doorstep

Cougar confronts man in Clearwater

Clearwater resident Barry Joneson had a close encounter of the cougar kind

Panda picks Argonauts for the win

Giant panda at the Toronto Zoo picks Argos to win Grey Cup on Sunday

Most Read