Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Meanwhile in British Columbia...

People are still reeling over the surprise victory of the New Democrats in this month's Alberta election. But what about the New Democrats next door in British Columbia?

It is interesting to note that, despite the focus on the Alberta NDP, nowhere else is a federal or provincial NDP polling better than in British Columbia, where the provincial New Democrats are ahead of Christy Clark's B.C. Liberals. But memories of 2013 still linger. We've seen this movie before.

The latest poll from B.C.-based Insights West for Business in Vancouver gives the New Democrats 43% support, against 37% for the B.C. Liberals.

The Greens come up in third with 10%, while the B.C. Conservatives registered 6% support.

Other parties garnered 4% support and 18% of the entire sample was undecided.

We last heard from Insights West on the provincial scene in B.C. in early December, and there has been little significant movement since then. But the trends are favourable to the NDP. Over Insights West's four B.C. polls since 2013, the NDP has consistently grown from one poll to the next from a low of 36%.

The Liberals, however, seem to be in a bit of stasis. Their scores over those four polls are the following: 40%, 38%, 36%, and 37%. Stability reigns and, after the 2013 experience, trailing by six points two years before the next election should be a piece of cake for Clark (until it isn't, of course).

The New Democrats led in every region of the province, with 43% in Metro Vancouver, 46% on Vancouver Island, and 41% in the rest of B.C.

The Liberals were second across the board, with their strongest result in Metro Vancouver at 39%. They had just 28% support on Vancouver Island, where the Greens polled at 18%.

Christy Clark's personal numbers are not looking very good. Her approval rating stood at just 30%, down four points since December. Her disapproval rating was up eight points to 62%, and even among 2013 B.C. Liberal voters her disapproval rating was 34%.

By comparison, only 7% of 2013 NDP voters disapproved of NDP leader John Horgan. His overall approval rating was up nine points to 43%, with his disapproval rating dropping eight points to 27%.

Perhaps most troubling for Clark, though, concerns how the opinions of British Columbians have shifted over the last six months. Only 4% said their opinions of Clark have improved, whereas 48% said they have worsened. And it isn't just opposition complainers - fully 33% of 2013 B.C. Liberal voters said their opinion of her had worsened, compared to just 8% who said it had improved.

Horgan's numbers were modest, with 15% of British Columbians saying their opinions had improved and just 8% saying they had worsened. The opposition leader is not registering very strongly, as 30% of respondents had no opinion on whether they approved or disapproved of him.

The Greens' interim leader, Adam Olsen, had an approval rating of 21% and a disapproval rating of 26%, with 53% unsure.

Dan Brooks, the Conservatives' leader, had an approval rating of just 12% and a disapproval rating of 36%. Among people with an opinion, Brooks had the worst approval rating of the four leaders.

But the next election is two years away, and these are not horrible numbers for a government that has been in power for 14 years. And because of British Columbia's warped political scene, there is little we can draw from these numbers to shed any light on the federal race.

If you think Alberta's provincial politics are hard to translate to the federal scene, British Columbia is even worse. Below I've lined up B.C.'s parties on a left-to-right spectrum, and compared it to how the federal parties, on their own left-to-right spectrum, are doing in B.C. in the latest projection.

As you can see, the math dictates a lot of overlap. Not so much with the Green Party, but the B.C. New Democrats gobble up much of the federal NDP vote but also almost half of the federal Liberal vote. The B.C. Liberals are made up primarily of federal Conservatives but also, by necessity, some federal Liberals as well.

Of course, there is not a perfect division along the spectrum and so voters may skip a party of two on it, but it does show how different B.C.'s provincial politics are from the federal level despite the similarity in party names.

Another difference is the static nature of B.C. politics. Since the collapse of Social Credit after the 1991 provincial election, the B.C. Liberals and New Democrats have hardly seen their numbers budge. With the exception of the 2001 vote, in which the Liberals took 58% to the NDP's 22%, over the last five elections the Liberals have always taken between 42% and 46% of the vote, and the NDP always between 39% and 42%. If these slightly different Insights West numbers were repeated on election day in 2017, they would mark one of the most dramatic shifts in B.C. provincial voting intentions in the last quarter-century!

76 comments:

  1. "As you can see, the math dictates a lot of overlap. Not so much with the Green Party, but the B.C. New Democrats gobble up much of the federal NDP vote but also almost half of the federal Liberal vote. The B.C. Liberals are made up primarily of federal Conservatives but also, by necessity, some provincial Liberals as well."

    I think you're vastly underestimating the amount of blue-orange voters in BC Eric.

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  2. Given that we're still more than 2 years from an election in BC, my primary take-away from this is...

    When did the BC Liberals adopt that colour?

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    1. Good enough for Wikipedia!

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    2. Witth due respect Eric, Wikipedia is correct in stating that BC Liberal Party colours are Red and Blue.

      Perhaps Wiki chose a "blend" for convienience in a bar graph depiction ?

      Since Gordon Wilson was the "last" BC Liberal to ressurect and lead The Liberal Party in BC,
      (in the wake of the collapse of the Social Credit Party of BC), it is fair to say today's incarnation of the "Socred" party is liberal in name only. The needful and opportunistic Socreds effectively hi-jacked Wilson's political Brand and carried on their Conservatism as the Gordon Campbell (and Christy Clark) "Liberals".

      For many here in BC the political divide has been described as a fight between the virginal
      "Free Enterprisers" and the "Socialist" hoards.

      The politics of this mindset still exists in BC today: a Conservative Government party rules under a "Liberal" brand name - anything (it"s true) to keep the "socialist hoards" from the gates of power.

      * Post Script *

      This BC government finally relented after more than a decade of deliberate Minimum Wage suppression. Do Not mistake this wage increase as "progressive" or as an expression
      of " liberalism ". Over the past decade BC has become well known as among the most expensive places to live in the entire world.
      The latest minimum wage increase is 0.20
      cents.

      For the record: BC liberals are Conservatives; regressive Conservatives.



      Conservatives. So sad. So true.





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    3. Wikipedia is far from a reliable source-the amount of errors on any given Wikipedia page is astounding and embarrassing.

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    4. When the next election rolls around, maybe I'll change the BC Liberals' colour. For now, until they figure out what colour is their colour, or figure out a less confusing name, this is it.

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    5. Eric,

      If you go to the BC Liberal website you'll see their preferred colours are a crimson red and royal blue akin to the colours used on British Columbia's flag.

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    6. Fresh Orange,

      The 1950's want you back! W.A.C. Bennett was a Conservative, ran for the Conservative party in B.C.! Talk about old news!

      What is truly sad is that it has taken the NDP and their sycophants nearly 70 years to figure this out. That is why if you vote NDP you're doomed to repeat history-the NDP knows nothing of history and even less how it works.

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    7. Thank-you for your warm, sincere reply C.D. .

      WAC left BC conservatives behind after they twice rejected his leadership bid.

      Bennet took over the Social Credit party, dropped its' monetary reform policy and as a populist politician WAC was elected Premier - with the support of CCF votes.

      Bennet's legacy is a significant and social one :
      * BC Rail
      * BC Ferries
      * BC Hydro
      * Public education: UVic ; Simon Frasier
      * health: hospitalization/public coverage
      * ... and more ...

      By this measure, among others, Harper and Clark can't even begin to measure up.

      Today, Conservative Justice Minister Peter McKay admitted Change is coming to Ottawa.
      PM Harper, like PC leader Jim Prentice, will suffer a well deserved fate, istm, because Canadians no longer see themselves reflected in him.





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  3. The BC Liberals are much more closely aligned with the federal Conservatives, both philosophically and with who votes for them. NDP supporters equally disdain both parties. I would place the BC Liberals to the right of the Alberta PCs on the political spectrum.

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    1. Only if we define the Alberta PCs by their recent behaviour.

      The last two BC Liberal premiers both, as their first act as Premier, raised minimum wage.

      The BC Liberals are farther right on BC's spectrum than the Alberta PCs are on Alberta's spectrum (I would argue that the Alberta PCs were left-of-centre on Alberta's spectrum), but if we put them on the same spectrum I'm not sure that's still true.

      Also, there's a common association that being friendly with big-business makes you right-wing, and I don't think that's true. A true right-winger would sever those ties between government and business to prevent expensive cronyism.

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    2. IMO, I find the BC Liberals essentially an anti-NDP coalition. They draw from both federal Conservatives and federal Liberals. Though more from the former than the latter.

      Some B.C. Liberal policies are actually quite progressive such as the carbon tax and several minimum wage increases.

      Christy Clark worked for LPC cabinet minister Doug Young during the Chretien era.

      Left-leaning federal Liberals are more comfortable with the provincial NDP, while Blue Liberals are more comfortable in the BC Liberal tent. Joyce Murray and Sukh Dhaliwal are two names that come to mind who are aligned with the LPC and BC Libs.

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    3. Personally, I never found the BC Liberals to be anywhere near right-wing enough for me. I lived there for 13 years.

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    4. It's important to keep in mind that by virtue of having common provincial/federal membership, the BC NDP effectively bans federal Liberals from joining their party and participating past a certain level. So a lot of federal Liberal activists end up in the BC Liberals simply by default.

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    5. Ira - I don't think anyone electable will ever be far enough to the right for you lol. :3

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  4. It's worth noting by the way that even if the numbers have been stable the internal composition of the BC Liberals' and NDP's respective coalitions have changed. In 2009 the BC Liberals went more after green minded moderates, with the NDP going after a more right-populist constituency than in 2013.

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  5. The question is, can the BC NDP, perhaps with the recurrent help of Brian Topp, again squander a healthy lead in the polls by tacking right, refraining from issuing any progressive commitments, and essentially abdicating any responsibility for an election campaign, thereby giving the Liberals yet another government? Fortunately such a possible spectacle is still a few years away.

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    1. Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't John Horgan to the right of previous BC NDP leaders?

      Either way, I think John Horgan can beat Christy Clark in 2017. Horgan seems to have more of a populist streak that could help outside of the Greater Vancouver/Victoria Island area. No way Horgan can run as terrible as a campaign that Dix and his crew ran!

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    2. The NDP, like all political parties, is a coalition of ideologies. Within the NDP there are green urbanites, and there are small town forestry and mining rural union friendly voters. The NDP screwed up, not by going to the right, but by trying too hard to appease the green vote. They thought that by doing so they could get Green voters to come over to their side, but instead, they lost the interior union voters.

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    3. Big Jay, You're right. Horgan - like the other leadership candidates of 2011 - was reputed to be to the right of Adrian Dix, who was considered to be the only left option. Now that's a grim thing to consider...

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    4. I'd include Bill Tieleman with Brian Topp in the BC NDP's all-star team for snatching defeat from the jaws of victory lol.

      I don't think it's just left or right though. Dix pissed off a lot of blue collar workers too. It's tough balance between private sector labour, populism, and environmentalism without pissing one of these groups off.

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    5. Brian Topp may be the most over-rated political aide in Canadian politics; He ran one good campaign. He totally buggered-up the coalition deal/ confidence vote in 2008 and the BC election in 2013.

      Chirumenga,

      The NDP didn't lose because they "weren't left enough". They lost because the people of BC didn't want a discredited Dix as their premier and the BC NDP hasn't had a good idea since, Harcourt.

      Big Jay,

      It's Vancouver Island not Victoria Island!

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    6. Victoria Island is considerably farther north. And not in BC.

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    7. An excellent point Ira, Victoria Island is in the NWT and the Canadian Arctic archipelago.

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  6. The BC teachers are paying for their over the top political support for the NDP in the last election.

    They were on strike for months and will never get their lost wages back.

    Have to think the union membership might not be all in favour of the union leadership being so tight with the NDP in the likely case they lose again.

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    1. The BCTF is intentionally radical. The only way they move away from the BC NDP is if they decide the BC NDP has become too centrist.

      Note that BCTF is the only province-wide teachers' union not to belong to the Canadian Teachers' Federation, an organization the BCTF deemed insufficiently radical.

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    2. From what I heard BCVoR, it's actually the other way around. I heard that the leadership preferred not to strike, knowing it was unlikely to yield any further concessions, but felt pressured too by their membership.

      The BCTF are pretty much God's gift to BC Liberal politicians' re-election bids though.

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    3. The leadership told them that they were downtrodden and that they needed huge increases to get to where they were fairly paid. This would come to pass when the NDP got elected.

      They had no way to put the Genie back in the bottle when the NDP lost the election. The union members were told and liked to believe that they deserved and needed 10%-20% catch up raises.

      Now a 1.5% every two years turns out to be fair enough to sign a contract out until 2019... An inflation rider would have avoid the strike and got the teachers more money.

      It is pretty obvious that the teachers are being financially punished for being so politically active and having radical leadership.

      Next BC election they would do better by keeping a low profile.

      The BC Liberals can pretty much count that there was a very low % of BC Teachers that voted for them and they still got a majority.



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    4. "It is pretty obvious that the teachers are being financially punished for being so politically active and having radical leadership."

      Disagree there. Teachers got the same deal as any other union in the end. They just lost pay during the strike, but that was their choice, not the government's.

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  7. Many NDPers and Greens would take issue with you putting the Green Party to the left of the NDP.

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    1. I was expecting someone to say that! Maybe so, but it lines up easily.

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    2. It differs among Green Parties. The federal Green Party is arguably a centre-right party. But the BC Greens under Adrienne Carr was a far-left party.

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    3. Name some policies that Ms. May is not left of the NDP?

      Like it or not the Green party has morphed into the Elizabeth May Party. A true Party of One.

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    4. Unfortunately, BCVoR's assertion that the Greens are a one-person party is incorrect so the question is meaningless.

      Recasting it to make sense, note that Bruce Hyer left the NDP over their position on gun control. He didn't change his stance when he joined the Greens. So half the federal Green caucus is to the right of the NDP and Liberals on that particular issue.

      You'll find many former Progressive Conservatives in the Green ranks. Small-C conservatives who believe in traditional values like honesty, openness, fairness and individual liberty. They clearly have no home in today's Reform Conservatives.

      You can add fiscal conservatism (meaning balanced budgets) to the list of Green values (it's all about sustainability), but since the left does a far better job of balancing budgets in this country than the right, maybe that's where the Greens veer left.

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    5. John

      If you ask Canadians to name one Green Party politician , living or dead, The only response for 99% of Canadians would be Elizabeth May.

      The second would likely be David Suzuki, who I don't think is openly affiliated with any political party.

      Your assertion that the Left does a better job of balancing budget conveniently ignores / overlooks that in ALL the NDP budgets one of the top sources of revenue is equalization transfers..... other people money.

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    6. BCVoR,

      How does name recognition affect the position of the Green Party on the left-right spectrum, the original question? The issue is what the party will do, both now and after the next election with an expanded caucus.

      Fundamentally, it's all other people's money: it's the tax dollars we pay. The "other people" are us.

      You do have a point, though: Reform Conservatives tend to fixate on "taxpayers". Traditional Progressive Conservatives and modern-day Greens think instead of "citizens" because another traditional conservative/Green principle is responsibility (to the environment, the people and the country).

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    7. "Right" and "left" are just arbitrary labels anyways. It's going to depend on one's own definition of right or left. Doesn't seem a very fruitful debate to have.

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    8. I think what's changed is that the Green Party now has much higher profile candidates than it has in the past. On Vancouver Island alone, the Green Party has:

      - Elizabeth May (who we agree is well-known)

      - Jo-Ann Roberts (who was a prominent CBC Radio on-air personality for a decade)

      - Frances Litman (a famous photographer)

      - Fran Hunt-Jinnouchi (a former elected chief of a first nation, in a riding with dozens of first nations communities; now a prominent local businessperson in the riding)

      - Brenda Sayers, who came to national prominence as she challenged the Canada-China FIPA all the way to the Supreme Court.

      And that's just on Vancouver Island. Not the typical well meaning, yet largely unknown, candidates the Greens often get. Vancouver Island is a place of unusual strength for the Greens, of course, so it's attracting stronger candidates there. But it's not just there. Consider:

      - Claire Martin, a famous CBC TV personality from "The National" for many years, is running in North Vancouver.

      - Ken Melamed, one of the two "Olympic" mayors, who was mayor of Whistler and had a high media profile during the 2010 Olympics, in an interesting riding (one that overlaps with Adrienne Carr's old provincial riding, and is the federal riding where the Greens briefly had an MP after independent MP Blair Wilson switched to the Greens in 2008).

      - Gord Miller, who was the Environment Commissioner in Ontario for 15 years, for both Liberal and Conservative government, is running in Guelph, a riding where Greens have been as high as 22% federally before (2008) and 19% provincially (first in 2007 and again in 2014). This is the highest profile candidate the Greens have ever run, in the riding in Ontario that they probably have the best shot in.

      And the Greens have more money to spend in this election than in any other before them. They'll win some of the above ridings, and they'll lose others. But either way, I believe Canadians will come out this election knowing many more Greens than they went into it knowing. Time will tell, of course.

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  8. "The B.C. Liberals are made up primarily of federal Conservatives but also, by necessity, some provincial Liberals as well."

    Do you mean federal Liberals?

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  9. 43-37% for the NDP: Looks like another Liberal majority!

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  10. Well Eric after last nights game it really does look like an Original Six Cup Final is possible ??

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    1. If we get it, it'll be the first time the Rangers and Blackhawks have faced off in the Finals. That's the only original six pairing that has never happened in the Cup Finals.

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    2. That is good to know Scott. Although I am sort of pulling for Tampa because of Stevie Y.

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  11. There were somewhere around 45,000 BC people working in the Alberta Oil Patch.

    For comparison reasons there are 41,000 people in the BC teachers union.

    This group of financially punished workers will be highly motivated to vote against the NDP.

    You will see this in the federal election as well.

    IMHO It would be highly more probably that teachers would have the time to answer polls than Oil Patch workers.

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    Replies
    1. They also probably are more likely to vote, considering 'oil patch workers' are far from home.

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    2. There's a lot more than 45,000 people that work in similar industries though, and who feel that a government opposed to resource development doesn't care about them or their wellbeing.

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    3. The BC Oil patch workers will be lot closer to home for the Federal election. . There was a lot of 10-hour days for two weeks, then one week off and get their flights home paid. These are more expensive to the companies and will be the first cut back.

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  12. It will be interesting to see what the polls do on Notley's first responses as Premier.

    To paraphrase: OMG Alberta is in big trouble!! Prentice didn't tell me.

    I didn't fully understand that the taxes and royalties on $60 Oil would be so much lower than $120 Oil.

    I don't see how to maintain the Alberta Advantage where Doctors, Nurses and Teachers are the highest paid in Canada.

    Who knew that Oil patch workers making 100K/year would pay that much more taxes than the same people on EI??

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    1. It's the Conservative record that should be on trial here, not the record of a party that has yet to govern.

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    2. The Conservative record has already been on trial, and it was found guilty of general incompetence. That's why there's an NDP government today.

      The Alberta PCs are now dead - there's no point discussing them any further. Instead, we should be watching the government we have to see what they do. Their record is now what matters, and it will continue to matter until their electoral defeat (which could be decades away, given Alberta).

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    3. Ira, I basically agree, but the legacy of the PC rule will stretch for some time over the new government, which can't be judged as though they arrived facing a blank slate.

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    4. We judge their decisions, not their circumstances.

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    5. But you can't separate the two. Decisions are made in context, not in an abstract level playing field. The PCs hid the full extent of their economic mismanagement and that inevitably affects the NDP governments decision-making now.

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  13. The Green support comes more from the Liberals and than the NDP so it would make more sense switching around the Greens and the NDP on your graph

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    1. I tend to agree, Bernard. Especially since Greens appear to be more fiscally conservative than NDPers, generally. And it also fits given that the Green supporters are targeted by both the Liberals and NDP (and vice-versa). They really do feel like they're in the middle, overall, between the Liberals and NDP. At both the provincial and federal level.

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    2. Actually, if the Greens can be trusted with their own research, 30% of Green Support comes from the right, mostly Conservative voters, and 40% comes from the left. The rest comes from people who wouldn't vote if there weren't a Green option.

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  14. Meanwhile Ontario is gong to ranked ballots

    http://ottawa.ctvnews.ca/ontario-allowing-municipalities-to-use-ranked-ballots-in-2018-elections-1.2395643

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    1. Ontario is permitting them for municipal elections. That's very different from "ontario is going to ranked ballots".

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    2. In BC municipalities have a fair amount of control over their elections and nothing is stopping them from using AV

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    3. They do? I just checked the legislation and it reads "Municipal elections at large unless on a neighbourhood constituency basis".

      "At large" is a specific electoral system, where you cast as many votes as there are people to be elected. If you, for example, wanted to switch to STV (which local government elections are practically screaming for, especially in municipalities without political parties) then it would fail to meet that test, IMO. Which sucks, otherwise I'd be all over trying to get municipalities to switch to it.

      Interestingly, the Local Government Act does appear to specify what electoral system you use for regular elections, it doesn't appear to specify what you would do if you switch to the ward system.

      However, it's not all good news. It does specify that people would elect "a council member to represent the neighbourhood constituency". That does seem to preclude using the ward system to get STV by divvying a municipality up into multiple wards and electing 2+ councillors each. Unless you take a very pedantic approach and suggest that if you elect two from each, you're also electing one from each.

      Though Christy Clark is on record as being supportive of STV, so I wonder if she'd actually be willing to force a municipality to cease and desist if they took that interpretation?

      In short, though, I don't read the legislation the same way you do, but I like your interpretation more so I'm willing to be convinced! :)

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    4. I should add, I see nothing stopping municipalities from system and then using AV for each ward. So I guess I agree with your statement, with an asterisk, Bernard.

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    5. Ranked ballots is a step in the right direction. But will they allow it as a replacement for the "at large" system when multiple councillors are to be elected? STV rather than AV, in other words. Your link doesn't suggest so. STV (ranked ballots with multiple people to be elected) does a much better job of reflecting public sentiment than AV (ranked ballots with one person to be elected).

      It does occur to me to note that the federal Liberals are proposing AV for future federal elections. Here their provincial cousins in Ontario are putting that as the only type of reform available (unless they end up allowing STV, in which case I'll be surprised and impressed).

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  15. And now it's been announced Peter Mackay is quitting politics !!

    Another sinking ship deserter ??

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    1. MacKay was likely going to lose his seat in the election. Leaving now improves his post-MP earning potential.

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    2. MacKay wasn't in danger of losing his seat. Cumberland, Colchester counties hold some of the deepest Tory roots in the country. provincially the Tories do well there even when they become persona non Grata elsewhere in Nova Scotia.

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  16. Another thing to take into account is the difference in people voting provincially and federally. There has been a gap between the two for the last number of elections and it is explained by many federal Conservatives not voting provincially.

    Policy wise the BC Liberals have governed as if they were Liberals, there has been no major policy difference between them and the Federal Liberals other than under Gordon Campbell climate change was important and working with First Nations

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  17. And now IRA GDP = Gross Diminishing Product !!

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    Replies
    1. The lower price of oil is largely responsible for that. And it's a tiny decline.

      That said, this government hasn't been an excellent economic steward. What we needed after 2008 was proper austerity, not the politically motivated largess we saw from the CPC government.

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    2. What is meant by '...proper austerity.' ?

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    3. No more money to Dippers for one!

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    4. I meant reduced government spending, no directed stimulus, and no corporate bailouts.

      Capitalism is about profit and loss. If we bail out the losers, there's no limit to how much that will cost us. The only thing that limits malinvestment is risk; bailouts eliminate risk, thus encouraging malinvestment.

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  18. Also of note is that Ipsos-Reid was in the BC provincial field just a week before this IW poll with these results:

    BC NDP: 44%
    BC Lib: 41%
    BC Greens: 8%
    BC Con: 7%

    Undecided: 26%

    With these additional findings:

    ``The good news for the BC Liberals is that the overall mood in the province is more right direction than wrong direction. Currently, 45% of residents say that things in British Columbia today are heading in the right direction``.

    ``Approval of the job the BC provincial government is doing is also solid for a government at the mid-point of its mandate.``

    http://www.ipsos-na.com/news-polls/pressrelease.aspx?id=6856

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    1. "Currently, 45% of residents say that things in British Columbia today are heading in the right direction".

      Why would one interview "residents"? Many people in residence in B.C. are not eligible to vote! I think this goes some way in explaining why pollsters were so off last election, they use shoddy methodology.

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  19. I wonder just what effect tomorrows release of the Truth And Reconciliation Commissions report will have politically ?

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