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ANDERSON: British Columbia's evolving political landscape

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May 09, 2017 - 1:58 PM

OPINION


I did the oddest thing the other night, in the absence of a BC Conservative candidate. I went into the voting booth with no idea who to vote for, and voted for a party I would never normally vote for, and probably never will again. Only two people know who I voted for and one of them is the candidate, who I saw shortly afterward and couldn't resist telling, because this is a small city and everyone within local political circles knows everyone else's politics, and I wanted to watch the candidate's jaw hit the floor.

Then I watched the local candidates debate. For the most part it was paint by numbers and indistinguishable from every other forum in every other year:

Barry, a credible NDP candidate, did the usual NDP thing by playing to emotion and economic envy while trying to explain that unions don't own his party in spite of the fact that unions own his party;

Eric, the incumbent Liberal candidate, diverted attacks on his person and his party with lists of dollars spent on this and that, while trying to explain that corporations don't own his party in spite of the fact that corporations own his party;

Don of the Libertarians threw zingers and made funny gestures as the other candidates' platitudes and promises rolled around the room, while explaining - believably - that his party is owned by no-one, not even the party leader, if there is one;

But if anyone stood out head and shoulders above everyone else, it's Keli of the Green Party. She was more articulate, more poised, and far more prepared than anyone else there. More importantly she successfully delivered Green Party ideas as if they actually made sense. Now I don't know if a traffic circle at Stickle Road would make the Trans Canada highway more accessible to pedestrians and bicycles as she claims, or whether an influx of pedestrians and bicycles to the Trans Canada Highway is a good idea in the first place, but she certainly made it sound a lot less inane than it is. If by some freak chance the Green Party formed government, I have no doubt that Keli will be made a Minister, and that insofar as she is allowed by Green party ideation, she'd do well at the job.

The provincial NDP is already deeply wounded by its federal counterpart embracing the loopy leftist LEAP Manifesto, a sophomoric wish list of unicorns and fairy dust apparently cobbled together late at night at a hookah party in someone's dorm room. Devoid of any new ideas, its ageing cadre of true believers falling away piecemeal, the BC NDP is forced to regurgitate the same old platitudinous promises that everyone knows won't work any better now than they have in the past. If ever there was a party well past its prime, the NDP is it.

The provincial Green Party, on the other hand, is young, hopeful, and full of promise. Yes, it's run by an ageing ideologue, and no, most of its ideas won't work and will actively harm the citizenry, but hey, you can't have everything. I wouldn't be at all shocked if the Green Party does better in this riding than the NDP. Even if it doesn't, I expect it will ultimately relegate the NDP to oblivion.

The Liberals of course are laughing at the political landscape this election, with only ten candidates running for the BC Conservatives and the left split between a dinosaur and a fledgling, with neither in any shape to form government in the unlikely event that either wins. Like the aging and corrupt Chrétien/Martin government at the federal level in the early aughts, the BC Liberals think they have it in the bag for a generation.

But they won't be laughing next time, when the BC Conservatives come roaring back. The party has paid off its debts, put its troubles behind, and it cohered into a solid conservative political party. To paraphrase Assistant Secretary of the Treasury Harry Dexter White, who described Britain in the 1940s as the "going" power and the United States as the "coming" power, the Conservatives and the Greens are the coming parties in British Columbia. The aged Liberals and NDP are hobbling into history. Maybe not this time, but just watch next time.

— Scott Anderson is an educated redneck from Vernon. His academic background is in International Relations, Strategic Studies, Counterterrorism, and poking progressives with rhetorical sticks until they explode. Not surprisingly, he is also an unashamed knuckle-dragging conservative, or so he's told all the time.


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