Something? Or nothing?
It’s natural for a political party to see several of its sitting members retire shortly before an election.
With an election set in British Columbia for May of next year, unless Premier Christy Clark decides to extend the Liberals’ mandate, it’s not unexpected that several Liberals have announced they will not be seeking re-election.
Most recently Dave Hayer announced he will not seeking re-election in May. He joins Kash Heed, Kevin Krueger and Harry Bloy on the list of MLAs not returning and Barry Penner and Iain Black who resigned from office in past year, plus rumblings from pundits that Kevin Falcon and Rich Coleman may join that list.
Depending on which side of the political fence you’re on, you either view the announcements as those with foresight getting out while the getting’s good or MLAs who, in the case of some of them, have been in political life for a long time and have decided to let someone else in. If the latter is the case, it makes sense to announce now so there is time to get a good candidate in place prior to next May’s election.
However, Hayer’s announcement came a day before a new poll suggesting MLAs’ motivation might be the former.
An Angus Reid online poll of 801 British Columbians suggested that 45 per cent of decided voters and leaners (-5 since May) would support the NDP candidate in their constituency in the next provincial election. The BC Liberals are still at 23 per cent, while the BC Conservatives have gained three points (22 per cent). The BC Greens are fourth with eight per cent (+2).
The NDP continues to lead in all four regions of the province, with the support of at least two-in-five decided voters in the Interior (41 per cent), Vancouver Island (46 per cent), Metro Vancouver (47 per cent) and the North (48 per cent).
The BC Liberals are second in the North (29 per cent) and Vancouver Island (26 per cent), while the BC Conservatives are ahead of the governing party in the Interior (27 per cent) and Metro Vancouver (24 per cent).
That kind of support would put the NDP in power with a healthy majority. Even though the BC Conservatives are gaining ground, realistically, holding the balance of power in a minority government would be a crowning achievement. However, even that may be out of reach.
However, the election is nine months away and in politics, that’s a lifetime.
Stay tuned, it’s going to be an interesting year in British Columbia politics … as they always are.