The BC Liberal melt-down was heralded by many (and yes by myself as well) as a sign of a government on the way out. It was also an indication of how weak the Greens were and the rising strength of the BC Conservatives. As it turned out, the by-election had no connection to the provincial election a year later. The Liberals won a majority, the NDP lost both seats, the BC Conservatives melted away and the Greens won one seat, came very close in a second and pushed the BC Liberals into third place in two more.
Four years later and we have two by-elections, Vancouver-Mount Pleasant and Coquitlam-Burke Mountain. This time not only are the Greens running candidates, the Greens are actually putting effort into the campaigns. The BC Conservatives have not nominated any candidates. So far I have not heard anyone suggesting that the party that last held the seat is not going to win it again.
Is there anything the 2016 by-elections can tell us about the 2017 election? Here is my take:
- If the Liberals hold Coquitlam-Burke Mountain and come in second in Vancouver-Mount Pleasant I think they are well positioned to realistically win in 2017
- The Greens deliberately did not run in 2012 for financial and resource reasons. The BC Conservatives are not running candidates in 2016 because I do not think they could find anyone willing to run for them. It says to me the BC Conservatives will be a non factor in the 2017 election unless something dramatic happens like a serious former MP were to take over the leadership.
- If the NDP can win the Coquitlam-Burke Mountain by-election it would say to me the party is better organized than I think or the mood of the public is much more anti-Christy than I am hearing. It is what the NDP needs to get some momentum
- I think for the Greens a success would be breaking 20% in Vancouver-Mount Pleasant and 10% in Coquitlam-Burke Mountain. A good result would be coming second in either seat, a very good result would be to come second in both of them, and a stelllar result would be to win either one. Though I have trouble seeing Joey Keithley winning in Coquitlam-Burke Mountain and the NDP losing Vancouver-Mount Pleasant would be stunning. The Liberals could not take it in 2001.
- Interesting is that the BC Libertarians have managed to nominate a candidate in both seats. I still do no think they will get much more than 1% to 2% of the vote.
We are 21 days till the by-election and they are getting almost no media whereas the 2012 by-elections were getting headline news. No one seems to care and for that reason I think the results will not really matter.