Wednesday, March 28, 2012

100 years ago today - BC's most lopsided election

On March 28th 1912 Conservative Richard McBride won his fourth majority and won it in what is the most lopsided election in BC history.

The total vote for the Conservatives was 59.65% of the vote, which is the second highest in BC history.  In the 1949 election the Coalition won 61.35%.   In 1912 only 33 of the 42 Conservative candidates faced any opposition.   If they had all faced opposition, the percentage of the vote may have been higher.

I do not know all the history, but for some reason the Liberal party was in disarray.  The Liberals had suffered badly in the 1909 election and already been reduced from 13 seats to 2.  In 1912 the Liberals only managed to field 19 candidates, down from 36 in 1909.   42 was a full slate.

One of the two Liberals elected in 1909, John Jardine, ran as an independent Conservative in 1909

Future Liberal premier John Oliver ran again in Delta and was thumped 71%-29%.   This was a riding he comfortably won in 1900, 1903 and 1907.   He would win it again in ran in 1920.

I have no idea what happened in 1912 to lead to what was effectively the complete collapse of the Liberal party.  The only other election where a party collapse happened was in 1933 when the Conservatives did not nominate a single candidate even though they had been the government.   There were something like 60 conservative candidates seeking seats in the election in several competing groups.

IN 1912 you even had Harry Wright in Nelson City, a sitting Conservative MLA, run against his own party as an independent Conservative.  Meanwhile HG Parson, two term Conservative MLA and candidate, was challenged and defeated by independent Conservative HE Forster who was backed by the premier.

Fast forward four and half years and the Liberals come back to win the 1916 election with 36 MLAs.
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