Tuesday November 18, 2008
Vote results bad sign for Liberals
By BILL TIELEMAN
For many men that stumble at the threshold are well foretold that danger lurks within.
- William Shakespeare, Henry VI
It was a stunning election win for Gregor Robertson on Saturday night, as Vision Vancouver nearly annihilated the Non-Partisan Association city government on council, school and park board.
In Burnaby, Mayor Derek Corrigan's Burnaby Citizens Association did more sweeping than a curling bonspiel, taking every single council and school board seat.
In New Westminster, Mayor Wayne Wright and labour-endorsed council candidates not only fought off a well-funded challenge from a new centre-right political party, but actually increased their support.
In Victoria, new Mayor-elect Dean Fortin - endorsed by prominent New Democrats - will be joined on council by every member of his team, including former NDP MP Lynn Hunter.
In Prince George, Dan Rogers becomes the new mayor with support from the local labour council, after he helped lead the fight against B.C. Liberal privatization of B.C. Rail in 2003.
And an Angus Reid Strategies poll released Saturday shows the B.C. New Democrats have increased their lead over the B.C. Liberals by a margin of 44 per cent to 39 per cent.
Premier Gordon Campbell didn't wake up on a very Happy Planet on Sunday - because the results of key municipal elections combined with the latest polling numbers show the next election will not be a smoothie for the B.C. Liberals.
One could overstate the importance of what happens with local government votes or polling six months before the May 2009 provincial vote.
But it's very clear that when centre-left candidates win big in Metro Vancouver, Victoria and the north - regions of the province that will determine who governs British Columbia in the next election - Campbell has to be worried.
Campbell has particular reason to be concerned about the Vancouver results that saw the Non-Partisan Association lose its majorities at all three civic levels to Vision Vancouver and partners the Coalition Of Progressive Voters and the civic Greens - because Campbell was himself an NPA mayor before entering provincial politics.
And losing mayoral candidate Peter Ladner stated that the politician he admires most is Campbell and that the B.C. Liberals best reflected his provincial politics views.
That's the same Campbell who only 21 per cent of respondents to the Angus Reid poll say is trustworthy.
The provincial election is going to be far more competitive than many people thought just months ago.
Two positive notes: For the first time, city voters elected a person of Aboriginal descent to public office - Vision Vancouver school trustee Ken Clement.
And for the first time since 1972, voters elected a member of the South Asian community to civic office - Vision Vancouver park board commissioner Raj Hundal.
NOTE 1: NPA School Trustee Ken Denike kindly let me know when he saw this column in 24 hours that Harkapal Sara was a South Asian community school trustee in the 1980s - thanks to Ken for the update.
NOTE 2: Ipsos released a new poll November 18 saying that according to their research the BC Liberals are at 44%, (down 3 points) the NDP are at 35%, (up 2 points) and the Greens are at 16%, (unchanged). Both polling firms are too polite to argue their numbers in public but presumably, one of them is wrong.
UPDATE - NOTE 3: A 24 hours reader has let me know that what he believe is the first person in the Lower Mainland of Filipino descent was elected to public office - school trustee Rod Belleza in Richmond.
Congratulations to Rod as well.