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HomeBusinessDoes Sim’s election win cause Eby to stick to a 2024 provincial vote? 

Does Sim’s election win cause Eby to stick to a 2024 provincial vote? 

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Bob Mackin

Premier David Eby says he isn’t planning to call an early provincial election in 2023. Instead, he says he’ll keep working toward the scheduled October 2024 vote. 

ResearchCo pollster Mario Canseco said there are plenty of reasons for Eby to stay to true to his word. Even while he has a $5.7 billion surplus to spend, next year’s budget to table and a spring Legislature session two weeks shorter than the last.

Vancouver’s 2022 mayoral election results and the provincial ridings of the city. (Andy Yan)

Alberta’s election is scheduled for May 29 and the Rachel Notley-led NDP will need help from B.C.-based party organizers and volunteers.

“It’s also not absolutely necessary,” Canseco said. “I could understand why in 2020 the NDP decided to go for it. They had very high ratings related to the COVID-19 pandemic, they had an extremely weak BC Liberal leader in Andrew Wilkinson, who was being helped by people who did not do a fantastic job.”

Kevin Falcon obviously doesn’t control Eby’s agenda, but Canseco believes Falcon would prefer Eby keeps his promise while the BC Liberals rebrand as BC United.

“If you have an election in May [2023] you don’t have time to implement all of the changes. I think there will be a lot of people out there who are considering running for the new BC United who will be happy to do that in 2024, but not necessarily running as a BC Liberal candidate in 2023, so you still have to deal with the baggage of the party,” Canseco said.

The BC Liberals have hope to start 2023, after the rebirth of the centre-right in October’s civic election. The BC Liberals hold only two of Vancouver’s 11 ridings now. A decade ago, under Christy Clark, they held a 6-5 edge. 

A common denominator in 2022 was Kareem Allam, who managed Falcon’s February leadership win and Sim’s ABC Vancouver victory eight months later before becoming Sim’s chief of staff. Sim also received help on his transition team from former Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts, the BC Liberals’ 2018 leadership runner-up.

Premier David Eby and Mayor Ken Sim at Queen Elizabeth Park (@KenSimCity)

Sim fell 957 votes shy of Stewart in 2018. Sim’s NPA won the biggest voting bloc with five councillors, but five of the top seven vote-getters skewed left: Green (3), COPE (1) and OneCity (1).

Four years later, Stewart had 112 fewer votes than 2018, but Sim gained almost 37,000. ABC won seven of 10 council seats and all but one on Park Board. ABC ran as big tent, centrist alternative that exploited the parting on the left. In the words of incumbent OneCity councillor Christine Boyle, the left ran too many candidates. “We split the vote,” she Tweeted.

Andy Yan, director of the Simon Fraser University city program, said the civic election result could be a major reason for Eby to avoid an early election in 2023. The Southeastern neighbourhoods, which also sit in three NDP ridings, flexed their muscle at the ballot box and decided the new order at 12th and Cambie.

“Are these ridings in play?” Yan said. “I wonder if they’re in trouble.” 

According to Yan’s analysis of civic voting patterns, Sim dominated six of the seven civic polls that are within the provincial Vancouver-Fraserview riding, which flipped from the BC Liberals to the NDP’s George Chow in 2017. Sim also won five of the six polls in Vancouver-Kingsway, Health Minister Adrian Dix’s riding, and showed strong in Vancouver-Kensington, Mable Elmore’s riding. 

“We’re not talking about Point Grey or Kerrisdale,” Yan said. “We’re actually talking about Sunset and Killarney. I think a lot of this is also a testament to the hard work and money that was involved in this particular election, that ABC was able to really get their vote out.” 

Before Oct. 15, Eby’s leadership campaign ran hand-in-hand with Stewart and his fledgling Forward Together party. Eby’s constituency assistant Dulcy Anderson was one of Stewart’s candidates for council.

Kevin Falcon enters the Wall Centre ballroom on Feb. 5 (BC Liberals/Facebook)

Four days after Stewart and his slate suffered the humiliating shutout, Eby became NDP leader and premier designate by default, with the disqualification of Anjali Appadurai. 

Sim was sworn-in to start the first full week of November. Eby was sworn-in on the Friday of the next week. They have only said nice things about each other in public, as both need to find solutions to the Downtown Eastside and Chinatown. Former housing minister Eby supports greater density and previously threatened to override cities that don’t speed-up housing approvals. Sim and ABC are unlikely to resist. 

The friction that existed between city hall and the provincial government during 2008 and 2017, when Vision Vancouver often butted heads with the BC Liberals, just isn’t there. Yan said that Eby and Sim are appearing to work together because they must be pragmatic and avoid being too partisan. He wonders how long that will last. 

“They’ve got shared problems,” Yan said. “If there is seen a tension between the two, it becomes a risk for both of them. They talk about politics being strange bedfellows. It’s in neither one of their interests to have have all-out tensions.”

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