The 2017 British Columbia provincial election on May 9 would be difficult to top the oddities of the 2013 provincial election. The NDP having a huge lead during the campaign only to lose the Liberals. Premier Christy Clark led her party to victory but Clark had to wait for a by-election to scramble back into a riding.
Clark ran in the riding of Vancouver-Point Grey but lost to David Eby. She won the by-election in Westside-Kelowna. The riding is now known in 2017 as Kelowna West.
John Horgan took over as NDP leader for Adrian Dix, who was the party leader in the 2013 election. Horgan represents the Juan de Fuca riding, now the Langford-Juan de Fuca riding. Andrew Weaver is the Green Party leader and only current party member in the provincial legislature from the Oak Bay-Gordon Head riding.
The Liberals have 47 seats, down from 49 in the 2013 election. The NDP has 35 seats, up from the 34 in the 2013 election. The number of ridings in play is 87, up from the 85 in the 2013 election.
The Liberals have been in charge in the province since 2001. Gordon Campbell served almost 10 years as premier. Clark has been premier since March 14, 2011.
You may have noticed that we didn't mention the Conservatives. I've been told by more than a few British Columbia residents that the Liberals are the "conservative party" in British Columbia. They are even weaker in British Columbia as the Liberals are in neighboring Alberta. Notice how the NDP won the last Alberta election and the Liberals weren't even an issue.
The 2017 election will come down to whether the citizens want the Liberal leadership to continue or try a new direction with the NDP. Given the huge 20-point leads the NDP had in the 2013 election, we make no predictions.
The initial squabble in the election was over bridge tolls. The Liberals said they will cap tolls at $500 for driving across the Port Mann and Golden Ears bridges over the Fraser River. The NDP said they would completely abolish the tolls.
Doctor shortages, infrastructure, and potential pipelines, oil and natural gas, are just some of the key topics for debate in the election. The NDP wants $10/day daycare and a $15/hour minimum wage. The Liberals are talking infrastructure with a 10-lane bridge to replace a tunnel and a $9-billion hydroelectric dam.
The next government will also be in charge of setting up the new marijuana laws. British Columbia is in an especially poignant spot given the province borders a U.S. state where recreational marijuana is legal, though with an age limit of 21 and older.
The 2013 election was held on May 13. The Vancouver Canucks were playing in the first round against San Jose in the week leading up to the election, since the postseason was pushed back due to the lockout.
We saw a number of election ads during the run up to the playoffs. The Canucks final game was May 7 as the Sharks swept Vancouver.
In 2017, the Canucks didn't come close to the playoffs. Whatever your politics, the province has done better than the Canucks since the last provincial election.
We noted that when 2014 started, Canada had 5 female premiers in charge. By the end of April, that number dropped to 2: Christy Clark (British Columbia) and Kathleen Wynne (Ontario). That number is up to 3 with Rachel Notley (Alberta). If the Liberals lose in May, that number goes down to 2.
photo credit: Canadian Press