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HomeBusinessLet the bellyaching and navel-gazing begin, as B.C. ponders the federal election fallout

Let the bellyaching and navel-gazing begin, as B.C. ponders the federal election fallout


Bob Mackin

The 43rd general election is over and the Prime Minister’s Office is still occupied by Justin Trudeau, despite so many broken promises and scandals. The Andrew Scheer-led Conservatives missed a chance to beat a weakened Liberal Party, but scored a moral victory by winning the popular vote. The NDP’s Jagmeet Singh failed to match the party’s 2015 numbers, but he is now a potential ally for the minority Liberal government. What else happened on Oct. 21 in British Columbia?

What B.C. looked like in 2015 (left) vs. 2019. Conservative blue eroded Liberal red and NDP orange. (Elections Canada)

Overall numbers

The Liberals lost 1.01 million votes and 27 seats nationally since 2015. The Conservatives gained 500,000 and 22 seats. In B.C., the party with 17 seats in 2019 is the Conservatives. The Liberals lost six since 2015, one of them was Jody Wilson-Raybould, who went independent and kept Vancouver-Granville.

Liberals and NDP both have 11, though the Liberals had the popular vote edge. Conservatives had 799,239 votes to the Liberals’ 612,098. B.C. turnout was just over 65%.

Electoral reform debate reignited

The 2015 election was supposed to be the last under first-past-the-post, Trudeau said. His supporters are happy he didn’t fulfil that promise.

Under a different system, based on popular vote, the NDP could have more than one seat in Quebec and Conservative Andrew Scheer could have become prime minister. We already know where the Greens stand, staunchly for electoral reform. At a news conference in Burnaby on Oct. 22, Singh reiterated his support for proportional representation.

“The results show a broken electoral system,” Singh told reporters.

Alberta, Saskatchewan and Quebec ponder independence, what about Vancouver Island?

Jason Kenney runs a province with but one Liberal MP. Scott Moe runs another with none, now that Ralph Goodale is good as gone. They’re Conservative strongholds that want support for the oil industry.

Bloc-leader Yves-Francois Blanchet led a resurgent nationalist party that won 32 seats. Could the regionalism cause some in British Columbia to think of forging closer ties with Washington and Oregon?

JWR did A-OK

Jody Wilson-Raybould (right) gives her Oct. 21 victory speech (Mackin)

Jody Wilson-Raybould supporters were biting their nails, as the former Liberal attorney general trailed the Liberal and Conservative challengers early in the ballot count in Vancouver-Granville. Then a turnaround and the party gained steam in the Hellenic Community Centre.

Wilson-Raybould received the most media attention, beyond the leaders of the main four national parties. She thanked Jane Philpott, who joined her in the same place on Sept. 18 but was not lucky enough to be re-elected in Markham. Both Wilson-Raybould and Philpott were thrown out of the Liberal caucus over Trudeau’s SNC-Lavalin scandal. In August, Trudeau was found in breach of the conflict of interest law.

“I believe strongly that Vancouver-Granville sent a message that independent voices do matter, and that there is a different way that we can engage in political discussions,” Wilson-Raybould said in her victory speech.

“This win means that it’s okay to stand up for what you believe, to speak in truth, to act with integrity even with implications that might be set on you. That if you believe in public service and believe in contributing to the country and helping raising your voice to address issues that that matters.”

Wilson-Raybould’s career as a parliamentarian continues. With Trudeau remaining in the PMO, will the RCMP investigation of the SNC-Lavalin scandal continue?

Conservative recycling program

Andrew Scheer at Prospect Point in Stanley Park on Oct. 20 (Mackin)

North Vancouver’s Andrew Saxton and Vancouver South’s Wai Young lost bids to unseat those that unseated them in 2015. But Kerry Lynne-Findlay had better luck in a rematch with Liberal by-election winner Gordie Hogg in South Surrey-White Rock.

Fisheries and oceans minster Jonathan Wilkinson beat Saxton again, by almost 10,000 votes. Defence minister Harjit Sajjan had a 6,700-vote margin in 2015, which was cut in half to almost 3,000 in 2019’s win over former Vancouver South MP Young.

Dippers vs. Greens

The Green wave didn’t happen, despite climate change hysteria at a fever pitch with Greta Thunberg on tour and Extinction Rebellion protests throughout the country .

Leader Elizabeth May kept Saanich and Gulf Islands while by-election winner Paul Manly was re-elected in Nanaimo. In popular vote, May’s party tallied 290,629 votes in B.C. The NDP, meanwhile, won 11 seats with 572,063 votes. The only other Green elected across the country was Jenica Atwin in Fredericton.

The Green campaign hit a roadblock in the last two weeks of the campaign when the NDP made a concerted effort to portray May’s party as non-progressives with kooks in their midst who might just prop-up Conservatives in a minority scenario.

Justin Trudeau on July 29 at Kitsilano Coast Guard base (Mackin)

“It was a one way nastiness, it was lies and smears from the NDP against us and I have to say it was disappointing especially since we helped Jagmeet Singh win his seat in Burnaby by not running anyone against him,” May said on Global. “It will be a very hard relationship to work through because of the fact that they really didn’t care they were lying, they had no shame.”

Will the animosity spill over into the provincial arena, where the three-member Green caucus is supporting John Horgan’s NDP minority government?

Clark Clique

Hogg was one of three former members of Christy Clark’s BC Liberal caucus. The other ex-BC Liberal loser was Terry Lake in Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo. Lake fell by almost 13,000 votes to Conservative Cathy McLeod. Former BC Liberal backbencher Marc Dalton won Pitt Meadows-Maple Ridge, defeating incumbent Dan Ruimy by more than 3,500 votes. 

Say it ain’t so, Joe

Steveston-Richmond East Liberal incumbent Joe Peschisolido is out.

One too many scandals involving clients of his law firm, his embarrassing photographs at social events with suspects under police investigation and the pro-China protester that was found working in his campaign office on opening day. Conservative Kenny Chiu, a former Peschisolido aide, is going to Ottawa with almost 2,800 more votes. Scheer signalled that this riding was in play, when he campaigned in Richmond with Chiu and also held his last campaign rally in a Richmond Sheraton hotel.

Chen (left) and Peschisolido at the Sino-Canadian Geographical Indication Development Association launch in August 2018 (Wow TV)

Star candidate loses

Ex-CTV anchorwoman Tamara Taggart won’t be going to Ottawa to read Justin Trudeau’s script. NDP’s Don Davies kept his Vancouver Kingsay seat with a comfortable 11,000 margin.

Singh’s days numbered?

Burnaby South parachute candidate and NDP leader Jagmeet Singh lost veteran MPs Murray Rankin in Victoria, Nathan Cullen up north and Fin Donnelly in Metro Vancouver who decided not to run again. Nationally, the party lost 15 seats, to 24. It had 59 two elections ago in Quebec, but now just one.

In B.C., the NDP tied for 11 seats with the Liberals. The Trudeau Liberals will need help from the NDP to keep governing in Ottawa, so Singh holds some cards.

But how long before the ambitious rear their heads? If the minority government lasts until 2021, that still could give Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart an opening (the next civic election is 2022). Stewart made national news with a strong anti-Scheer statement last week, even though the Conservatives were not a threat to win a seat inside City of Vancouver. 

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