Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Anti-HST petition with a month to go

The numbers for the campaign as of Monday June 6th indicate that the campaign is over the 15% mark in 80 of the ridings and very close in the last five.   There is still about a month to go.

The campaign has been astounding  - here are some facts:

  • As of this time more 21.64% of the people in BC have signed the petition, and that in two months
  • In 2009 691,564 people voted for the NDP, the Anti-HST campaign has managed 619,103 signatures
  • In 11 ridings more people have signed the petition than voted for the MLA - all of them rural ridings
  • In 2 ridings, Cariboo Chilcotin and Boundary Simikameen, the number of signatures has passed 40%, the amount needed in a recall.  In 9 ridings it has passed 30% - all of them rural ridings

I find it interesting that the campaign has done best in places where it is hardest to organize because of the distances.   There is not a single urban riding in the top 13.   These are all places where Social Credit did well in the past and where the Conservatives do well federally.

The bottom 10 ridings are the areas in BC where federally the Liberals do the best.  These are also the smallest ridings and the easiest to cover from one location and street canvass.   There is clearly something else going on here.

My take on this is that the areas of the province that historically have been most populist are signing in bigger numbers than the areas are the least supportive of populist politicians.   What does this mean for BC?

Is see there is fertile ground for populist candidates in the next provincial election in rural BC.   A rural oriented party in BC could take as many as dozen seats in the next election if they can tap into the people involved in the Anti-HST campaign.   Do not believe me?   In 11 rural ridings the campaign has done better than the sitting MLA.

Recall Campaigns
At this point I suspect we could see serious recall attempts in seven ridings (there will likely be more but I doubt they will have much traction)   All of the following Liberal MLAs received fewer votes than signatures now collected.

  • Boundary Similkameen - John Slater
  • Cariboo-Chicoltin - Donna Barnett
  • Kamloops - North Thompson - Terry Lake
  • Kootenay East - Bill Bennett
  • Peace River North - Pat Pimm
  • Peace River South - Blair Lekstrom
  • Shuswap - George Abbott


Are seven successful recalls likely?   I doubt it, but given the Anti-HST campaign success, it is not outside the realm of realistic.   Much depends on how things look politically in November.  

If they were to all succeed, this would reduce the Liberals to 42 seats, just under the 43 number to have a majority.   In by-elections it is highly unlikely the NDP could win all of them, independents or Conservatives could very likely win some of them.   At the end of the process we could end up with a legislature that has the Liberals the largest party but the NDP and others without any common ground to govern.   We could end up with a paralyzed legislature and a vote of non confidence leading to a general election in 2011.



I like the initiative act, but I have reservations about the recall act.   There are clear times when it is very useful to remove elected members that have no honour and will not resign, but recall has been more often used for partisan political reasons in attempt to re-run an election.
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