Thursday, May 28, 2009

Some implications of the election of Vicki Huntington

  1. This will be the first time since the end of the BC Reform party tenure in the Legislature that we will have had a right wing MLA.
  2. It will be the first time since the Liberals have been in power that they will have opposition from the right side of the spectrum.
  3. The NDP will no longer be the only opposition to the government.

The right in BC used to control BC politics for many, many years, but with the demise of Social Credit and then BC Reform, there has been no right wing representation in the BC Legislature. BC is province with a very strong right wing politically, but it has not been part of the mix in Victoria for ten years.

In this last election there were some very strong expressions of a desire to have a right wing in BC politics. The Conservatives managed to get 11% of the vote in the Okanagan, a right wing independent in the Peace got a third of the vote, and Vicki Huntington was elected. I am also certain that several hundred thousand right wing voters chose not to vote because they saw no real options for them on the ballot.

Meanwhile, all the opposition to the government has been from the left, there has been no active or strong voice from the right pushing against the government program. With Vicki Huntington in Victoria, there will be a voice from the right pushing against the Liberal program. The government will now be pulled in two directions. The last time BC had a government with representation to the left and to the right of it was in the 1930s and Duff Patullo was premier.

Meanwhile the NDP has a potential serious problem. For the last eight years they have been the only opposition. However badly they did, they still remained the only game in town. What happens if Vicki Huntington is better as an opposition member than most of the New Democrats? What if she is seen as being equal to the NDP in giving the government grief? The NDP can not coast through another term like they did for the last four years. They need to dramatically step up their game immediately or they will be over shadowed by the one member opposition from the right wing.

I suspect the Carole James is going to quickly be compared to Vicki Huntington and people are going to be less impressed with Carole than they have been. Vicki Huntington comes to Victoria with real and significant federal political experience from the backrooms. She knows how politics is played, she knows what it takes to make the news and how to find the stories that will take the government to task.

BC politics will be much better for the election of Vicki Huntington. She may be the catalyst for a dramatic political shift in the election in 2013, the sort that was seen in 1991 or 1952. Both the Liberals and the NDP have to step up their game now or they will be in serious trouble when that election comes around.

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