I will have more on US election in future blogs, but today is my thoughts on the preliminary results in BC election yesterday and on upcoming Saskatchewan election tomorrow. On BC election I will have multiple new posts, once mail in ballots are in so I can unpack everything and then later on what BC Liberals need to do in terms of renewal of party so they are a viable option in 2024.
Last night, NDP won a solid majority, which was no surprise to me and while percentage votes a little off, it was still more or less what I expected. I also think once mail in ballots are counted, final seat count will be closer to my predictions but NDP falling just a bit short and BC Liberals doing slightly better. Either way this was a huge wake up call to BC Liberals that party needs to get with the times and change. Past success is no guarantee of future as we live in a rapidly changing world and parties that don’t change with the times lose. BC Liberals have now largely become an Interior rump with very few seats left in Lower Mainland and none on Vancouver Island. BC Liberals were supposed to be a coalition of federal Tories and federal Liberals, but last night’s results make clear only the former is staying with party; latter has fled and without latter party cannot win. In Lower Mainland, shifts from 2009 were massive. Some seats that went for BC Liberals by 30 points in 2009 and regarded as very safe seats went NDP last night, while many swing ridings a decade ago for BC Liberals were blowouts for NDP. Some of this shift was due to Horgan’s strong handling of pandemic and desire for stability, but also a fair bit is fault of BC Liberals. Its probably true no matter who BC Liberal leader was, this election was going to be tough to win. But a good leader could have made it closer. What is more worrisome is how deluded party was. Apparently party’s own internals showed them getting 33-40 seats, which I know was a bunch of malarkey so party should fire whomever their pollster is. Also some now saying party needs to go even further right as somehow liberal name pushed away federal Tories which is also completely false. Others in NDP have suggested pro free enterprise coalition will split. I don’t believe this is likely to happen, but I do think uniting pro free enterprise vote is no longer a guarantee. BC has changed and party must too. I will in a later post go in more detail on what changes needed, but I think party needs a more diverse slate, needs new innovative ideas to deal with challenges such as climate change, poverty, and affordability. It also needs a leader who was not part of last administration and can connect with people. And it needs to realize social conservatism and bigotry have no place in modern BC. Yes the more right wing types will squeal, but the horse has left the barn here and if party cannot adjust, it will wither away. I was not impressed with Andrew Wilkinson’s concession speech. Yes there are still lots of votes to count, but he needs to realize there is zero chance it will be enough to put him in premier’s chair. So he needs to concede now and also announce his intention to resign. I am glad to see Ellis Ross re-elected and hope Michael Lee’s lead holds up after mail in ballots counted. Both are types that can help move party forward. There is also Diane Watts too and hopefully if leader comes from outside caucus, Wilkinson will resign his seat for next leader. This should be a strong warning to Erin O’Toole to quit pandering to right wing of party as in the areas where party needs to gain this stuff is radioactive. Ford seems to get this but Kenney doesn’t, yet O’Toole is cozying up to Kenney not Ford which is a mistake in my view. In short term, I am worried that this will be bad for BC’s economy, but I hope Horgan pleasantly surprises us, which he might. More importantly hopefully this is a strong wake up call to parties on the right to get with the times and realize ideas that won elections in past won’t today. It doesn’t mean abandoning principles; but it means adjusting them to the times.
Tomorrow Saskatchewan goes to polls. Based on polls, I expect the Saskatchewan Party to win another solid majority, but I do think unlike in BC and New Brunswick, opposition NDP will be returned with a somewhat larger caucus so this will be first election post pandemic where governing party loses rather than gains seats. In terms of my preference: I would like to see a Saskatchewan Party majority but with a stronger NDP opposition. I believe Saskatchewan party is the more fiscally responsible way forward while NDP’s spending plans not realistic and their wealth tax proposal will just drive those out to neighbouring provinces. While not a fan of hikes on top incomes, I think that would be more logical as Saskatchewan is lowest in Canada and easier to administer than a wealth tax. Any talk of wealth taxes should be done at federal level as at provincial, those impacted will just re-locate. Moe has done an okay job but I do feel he is a bit too much of a populist and certainly federally I think would be too conservative to win. But he is running in Saskatchewan which is more conservative than most of Canada. My guess rural Saskatchewan as usual stays heavily Saskatchewan Party, but NDP makes some urban gains, but not back to levels they were when in power. Below are my predictions
Saskatchewan party 57% – 43 seats
NDP – 35% -18 seats
If this is true, Meili probably gets to stay on as leader and with a tough recovery ahead and Saskatchewan party having been in power for 17 years by 2024, he may have a shot at winning, although shifting political alignments may make Saskatchewan the new Alberta in terms of conservative dominance.
Also tomorrow are two federal by-elections. Toronto Centre is normally a safe Liberal seat except during a meltdown so expect Liberals to hold this, but be interested to see how Green leader does. York Centre was historically a safe Liberal seat, but in recent elections, results have closely mirrored overall results in Ontario so if Tories want to win a majority, this is the type of riding they need to pick up. But I believe it will stay Liberal which should be like BC election and likely urban loses in Saskatchewan another wake up call to Erin O’Toole to moderate and pivot closer to centre.
UPDATE: Wilkinson has conceded, which is good. Should have last night but understand losing can be hard so need time to collect thoughts is okay. Still he should as BC Liberal resign sooner or later.