It is not certain yet if the BC Conservatives and the BC Greens will manage to get to a full slate of candidates in this election. Both parties have said there are some independents they will not be running candidates against so they will not be running full slates but could still have more than 80 candidates each, but how important is it for parties to run full slates? Should they concentrate on where they can win, which seems to be what the BC Greens are doing.
Time to look at the past history of third, fourth, fifth and sixth parties in BC over the last 40 years.
I am not looking at the NDP/CCF at anytime or the BC Liberals from 1996 on or Social Credit 1991 and earlier. I am also only going back to 1975 because before that election BC had a 23 year history of three major parties in elections.
Manged to run a full slate
Party Election Elected % of vote
BC Greens 2009 0 8.21%
BC Greens 2005 0 9.18%
Marijuana 2001 0 3.22%
BC Reform 1996 2 9.27% - both of the elected MLAs were incumbents
Did not manage a full slate but ran in more than 50% of the seats
Party Election # of cand elected % of the vote
Marijuana 2005 44/79 0 0.65%
BC Greens 2001 72/79 0 12.39%
Unity 2001 56/79 0 3.23%
BC Green 1996 71/75 0 1.99%
PDA 1996 66/75 1 5.74% - elected MLA was an incumbent
Socred 1996 38/75 0 0.40%
BC Libs 1991 71/75 17 33.25%
BC Greens 1991 42/75 0 0.86%
BC Libs 1986 55/69 0 6.74%
BC Libs 1983 52/57 0 2.69%
PCs 1979 37/57 0 5.06%
BC Libs 1975 49/55 1 7.24% - elected MLA was an incumbent
PCs 1975 29/55 1 3.86% - elected MLA was an incumbent
The parties in bold were part of the leader's debates in their that election. I am not certain who was included in any debates in the 70s if there were any.
Clearly running a full slate or close to a full slate is not any sort of magic wand that makes the party do well though it seems to have been a good tool for the media to use to decide which parties deserve to get coverage in an election and which ones do not.
Only twice in the nine elections since 1972 has a party managed to get more than 10% of the vote - the BC Liberals in 1991 and the BC Greens in 2001. Since the break down of the 1952-1975 three major party model of elections BC has not been a fertile ground for the success of third parties.