25 days separate British Columbian voters from an election with implications mimicking the 2016 US Presidential Election. No, there is no Bernie Sanders with the opposition New Democrats for years acting like controlled opposition to the ruling and dubiously named BC Liberal Party under both former drunken Premier Gordon Campbell and current Premier Christy Clark.
To understand the situation BC voters find themselves in this time around, you have to go back to the early 1990s and the collapse of the old right wing Social Credit Party under infamous former Premier Bill Vander Zalm. During this time, there was a mass exodus of very corporate-friendly politicians from the Socred to the growing BC Liberals until that party’s politics was barely recognizable. Meanwhile, the progressive party of Mike Harcourt, the New Democrats, formed a government in 1991 amid Socred political turmoil.
A decade of waste and mismanagement ultimately engulfed that NDP government, and by 2001, former Vancouver mayor Gordon Campbell’s “Liberals” (aka our resurrected Socred friends) swept to power on a wave of voter frustration.
Moral Of This Story?
If there is a moral to this story, it could be the same as the one America seemingly failed to learn in 2016. Granted, anyone who follows American politics will no doubt be aware of the controlled opposition-like nature of the Democratic Party, which has mirrored in many ways the NDP’s opposition over the last 15 years.
In the previous BC Election in 2013, the NDP seemed poised in the polls to defeat the BC Liberals on a wave of populist sentiment and backlash against the corporatism and stoogery of the ruling party. BCites remember all too well how that story ended – with yet another majority government for newly-minted leader Christy Clark, due largely to apathy and perceived indifference in the NDP campaign.
With the John Horgan-led New Democrats now clinging to a 4 point lead province-wide according to the most recent polling data, there’s zero room for them to sit back. The BC Election isn’t that far off and the NDP have something to prove – that they have learned lessons from the last election. Meanwhile, the BC Liberals may be wise to sit back for a bit and see if the NDP once again hang themselves with that old 2013 noose of their own creation.
More to come.