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Sunday, May 10, 2009

bc votes (on tuesday).

British Columbians will be going to the polls on Tuesday May 12 to vote in their second fixed-date provincial election and second Single Transferable Vote referendum. While I haven't written much about the BC election on this blog, I have been following this election with interest (check out the mighty Tyee's Hook Blog, Public Eye Online, and the Gazetteer for some of the best info).

While many Albertans may not fully understand the quirky politics of our neighbours to the west, there are number of reasons why the electoral battle between the BC Liberals, led by Premier Gordon Campbell, and the BC NDP, led by leader Carole James, should be of interest to Albertans.

Since they were elected eight years ago, Campbell's BC Liberals have forged a close relationship with Alberta's governing Progressive Conservatives. Starting with meetings earlier in the decade, British Columbia and Alberta are now partners in the controversial TILMA (Trade, Investment, & Labour Mobility Agreement). The two governing parties have also hosted a series of joint-cabinet meetings to highlight their close relationship (and during this campaign, Campbell wore a pair of cowboy boots gifted to him by former Alberta Premier Ralph Klein).

In their platform, the BC NDP have pledged to renegotiate TILMA, which leads me to imagine what an entertaining time the first meeting between Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach and a Premier-elect Carole James would sound like...

Stelmach: So, you're a socialist? In Alberta, we call Liberals socialists.

James: In British Columbia, you'd probably be a Liberal.
My friends in Alberta's PC party who thought Klein was around for too long should take note of Gordon Campbell's political longevity. Campbell has been leader of the BC Liberal Party since 1993, and in a quick estimation, this makes Campbell the second longest serving current major provincial party leader in Canada (the current longest being Manitoba Premier Gary Doer, who has led the Manitoba NDP since 1988). During his time as leader of the BC Liberals, Campbell has outlasted five BC NDP leaders.

STV

British Columbians will also vote in their second STV referendum on May 12. Albertans including former Reform Party leader and Calgary-Southwest MP Preston Manning, former Edmonton-North Reform MP Deb Grey, and former Edmontonian Mel Hurtig have joined the broad list of prominent Canadians endorsing the change to STV in this referendum. Here's a quick video explaining what the proposed electoral changes would mean:

17 comments:

Ken Chapman said...

I'm liking Jane Sterk of the Greens for no other reason she used to live in Edmonton and was a partner with Gary Ford in earlhy days computer store retail business.

Anonymous said...

Dave makes a great point about party labels. They vary greatly from province to province - it's the ideological underpinning that matters. BC and Saskatchewan have typically had Liberal parties that look more conservative. Ontario and Alberta's look more liberal. Quebec well, it's more of a federalist voice more than anything.

Anonymous said...

I was amused when, in the same interview Jane Sterk said the Greens and NDP would not be natural partners, that she had never voted NDP and had in the past voted Reform and Conservative, then went on to say that she didn't get why so many environmentalists in the BC NDP wouldn't give the BC Green Party a chance.

She also fared poorly in the televised debate, but did a little better in the radio debate.

Anonymous said...

STV will be defeated. That promotional video is so bizarrely lacking in details that it's almost offensive to the viewer's intelligence.

Why the electoral reform commisions in BC keep flogging STV is beyond me. It is a bizarre system only in use in a handful of less than reputable places. Go for MMP, the system that many more governments have turned to.

Chandler Kent said...

WTF? I felt like I was watching one of those TV Funhouse animated shorts from SNL, without theme music. And, can someone with a liberal arts degree explain to me how something can be "more fair"? The dictionary (Merriam-Webster) defines fair as: marked by impartiality and honesty; free from self-interest, prejudice, or favoritism. Seems to me that fairness (in this context) is an absolute, not relative concept. But, I'm sure I am wrong and I am equally sure someone is about to tell me just how wrong.

The Pundits' Guide said...

You really gave me a giggle with that hypothetical first meeting bit, Dave!

Anonymous said...

If the issue is "accuracy of translating votes into seats" - or something similar - the concept of fairness isn't an absolute. Assuming the idea is that seat share should reflect vote share, the translation can be more or less fair.

Anonymous said...

Dave, how is TILMA controversial? I thought breaking down trade barriers would be a no-brainer, and not a partisan issue to be used for campaign purposes.

I just think it would have been "more fair" to give correct information...

Lawrence Porter said...

Anon (@ 2:31PM),
Use your head here. Just because you think something is common sence doesnt mean it cant be controversial...

There was no reason to attack daves writing over that...

Anonymous said...

If TILMA was only about trade barriers in the classic sense (ie for goods only), then it probably would not be controversial. However since it includes trade in services it as controversial as NAFTA or any other such agreement.

Once two governments agree to abide by any particular set of rules, each of those juristictions ties the hands of future governments to set their own policy in those areas.

Anonymous said...

Yes, NAFTA sure has been bad for Canada...wow...I can't believe how some people are so opposed to moving forward...I just don't get why reducing barriers could be a bad thing. Maybe because i'm not in a union and not protectionist..but I just really don't understand it i'm afraid.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous @ 5:01, ya and being so plugged into the American economy has sure helped Canada's economy out in the last year, right?

roblaw said...

If I understand this STD thing.. err.. "STV".. they would change from a single seat constituency vote, to a multi-seat regional vote.. so, for example, we could have 5 MLA's from Lethbridge representing everyone south of Calgary.. now, it may be that of those 5, only 2 or 3 would be conservative, thus appeasing the NDP and Liberals (and Greens perhaps).. but, if you're living in Cardston or Pincher Creek.. well, you might feel a little "tyranny of the majority".. a la, Alberta compared to Ontario.

Think about that for a moment.. if the STV were transferred to Federal Politics, we would, effectively, give more power to central population hubs than they already have. Great in Toronto, not so good in Claresholm or Fort Macleod.

Seener Beaner said...

I cant wait to see if UofA's alumni Michelle Mungall takes Nelson Creston for the NDP.

Travis Chase said...

If Mel Hurtig is for STV then I am against it.

Jeff J. said...

So, now that the election is over, the big question is how will the STV supporters spin it that the question needs to be asked a third time in the next election?

I propose the slogan "Third time's a charm, First-past-the-post is the harm, GO STV!"

Good on BC residents to see through the thin policy promises of the NDP. It's a good day for Albertans too.

Chandler Kent said...

Nice work, Jeff J!

I wonder if the declining participation rate in BC (mirrored in Ontario) will put to rest the idea that fixed election dates increase voter turnout? Maybe we should just make not voting a crime...

Dave, did you watch the coverage on NewsWorld last night and see the blogger on their panel? When are you going to be on a CBC election night panel (or did I miss it)?