Tuesday, April 19, 2011

BC Government By-election Curse

The last time a governing party in BC won a by-election was May 14th 1981 when Claude Richmond won Kamloops.  Almost exactly 30 years before the Point Grey by-election on May 11th 2011.  Claude Richmond only just squeaked in , even then he almost lost the riding to the NDP.

1983-1986 Social Credit Government
Oct 26 1984
  • Okanagan North - won by Lyle McWilliam of the NDP.  In the 1979 election Social Credit won this seat 54.2% to 41.2%.  Social Credit won the seat in the 1983 election again
  • Vancouver East - won by Bob Williams of the NDP, but this was a safe NDP seat.
1986 - 1991 Social Credit Government
May 11 1988
  • Boundary Similkameen - won by Bill Barlee of the NDP.  It was a two member riding in the 1986 election so the results do not track exactly, but Social Credit smoked the NDP for both seats in 1986.  In 1991 it was divided into two seats, both won by the NDP but in the Okanagan Penticton one only because of a three way split.
Oct 22 1988
  • Alberni - Gerrard Jansen of the NDP elected.   This was an NDP seat.
March 2 1989
  • Nanaimo - Jan Pullinger of the NDP elected.  This was an NDP seat.
  • Vancouver Point Grey - Tom Perry of the NDP elected.  This was a two member seat that elected one Social Credit, Kim Campbell, and one New Democrat, Darlene Marzari, though the NDP won the second seat be a narrow 55 votes.
Sept 7 1989
  • Cariboo - Won by Dave Zirnheldt of the NDP.   This was a long time Social Credit seat and in 1986 they out polled the NDP two to one.   In the by-election it was 56.3% NDP to 37.1% Social Credit.
Nov 30 1989
  • Oak Bay-Gordon Head - won by Elizabeth Cull of the NDP.  This was a very safe Social Credit seat, they defeated the NDP 53.0% to 34.7%.  In 1991 the NDP almost lost the seat to the Liberals and then did lost it in 1996.
1991 - 1996 NDP Government

Feb 4 1994
  • Matsqui - won by Mike de Jong of the Liberals in a close race over Social Credit leader Grace McCarthy.  The seat had been won by Social Credit in 1991.
  • Vancouver Quilchena - won by Gordon Campbell.   Liberal Art Cowie resigned to give Gordon Campbell a seat in the legislature
April 5 1995
  • Abbotsford - won by Liberal John Van Dongen in a close fought race over Bill Kilpatrick of the Reform party.  In 1991 this seat was won by Social Credit.
1996-2001 NDP Government
Sept 2 1997
  • Surrey White Rock - won by Liberal Gordon Hogg.   This seat had been won by the Liberals in 1996.
Dec 1 1998
  • Parksville Qualicum - won by Liberal Judith Reid.   This by-election was caused by the successful recall of Liberal MLA Paul Reitsma
Nov 24 1999
  • Delta South - won by Val Roddick of the Liberals.   This seat was an overwhelming win by the Liberals over Reform Party leader Bill Vander Zalm.   The seat had been won in 1991 and 1996 by Fred Gingell for the Liberals.
2001-2005 Liberal Government
Oct 28 2004
  • Surrey Panorama - won by New Democrat Jagrup Brar.  The seat was won by the Liberals in a larger landslide than the province wide vote .  Brar won the by-election in a landslide.
2005-2009 Liberal Government
Nov 14 2008
  • Vancouver Burrard - won by Spencer Herbert of the NDP.  In 2001 and 2005 Lorne Mayencourt won the seat for the Liberals.
  • Vancouver Fairview - won by Jenn McGinn of the NDP of a seat narrowly won for the NDP by Gregor Robertson in 2005.   The Liberals won this seat in 2001 and then again in 2009.
The Stats of the 16 by-elections from 1983 to 2008:
  • All 16 won by the Official Opposition.  None by the government or third parties.   
  • 7 were held by the government before the by-election
  • 7 were held by the official opposition before the by-election
  • 2 were held by a third party before the by-election
The curse is even worse.

You have to go back ten by-elections before Claude Richmond's win in 1981 to find the next government by-election win and that was Robert Bonner in 1966.  He ran in the then very safe Cariboo riding and managed to turn a 18.5 percentage point lead for Social Credit on Oct 26th 1966 into one of only 7 points a scant month later.


Anonymous said...

Okay, so what happens when Christy Clark fails to win the byelection?

Bernard said...

It puts her leadership into question which means one of two things:

An immediate provincial election

Or she steps down

That said, I suspect she will win the by-election and end the 30 year long curse

Anonymous said...

Well, in a place like Point Grey I don't think there is much question she'll get it.

Though I note, either from parsimony or prudence, the Conservative Party has declined to run a candidate in the byelection. Don't want to split the right-wing vote.

Dave 2 said...

It's Spencer Herbert, not Herbert Spencer... though The Sun made a similar error after he won the by-election in '08

Bernard said...

Sorry, I know that, dumb mistake on my part, I am fixing it