Crawl Across the Ocean

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

B.C. Election / Referendum

Well, I wasn't too optimistic about my predictions for the B.C. election and that lack of optimism turned out to be well justified. There's still some close ridings but it looks like the NDP will win 30+ seats (out of 79), a far cry from the 22 I predicted. I remember when I first moved to B.C. it was in the summer of 2001, a couple of months after the last election and to hear people talk, they were never going to vote NDP again. I think in some ways B.C. voters have shorter memories than the Ontario voters I am more used to (or less inertia perhaps).

At any rate, my prediction for the popular vote for the Liberals (predicted 47, so far 46), and Other (predicted 4, so far 4) were pretty good, but what I missed was how the left-wing vote would consolidate in order to try and elect some NDP members to balance out the legislature. Where I predicted 38% for the NDP and 11% Green, the results so far are 41% NDP, and 9% Green. These don't seem like big differences but they make for a big change in the seat distribution with the left wing vote not splitting enough to allow the Liberals to sneak through in a number of ridings. I guess in some ways this is just our old First-Past-the-Post electoral system at work, pushing us towards a polarized two party system since a third party inevitably splits the vote on either the left or the right.

The result in terms of seats will be a big improvement over the previous government (which was 77 Liberals, 2 NDP), but I still think the nearly 1 in 10 voters who supported the Green Party deserve some representation as do NDP supporters in predominantly Liberal areas (and vice-versa).

Speaking of the electoral system, so far (as at 11:20 pdt) the referendum on STV (Single Transferable Vote) is 56% Yes and 44% No. It may not end up meeting the threshold of 60% set by the Liberals, but it is far *far* from an endorsement of the status quo. I guess if STV doesn't make it up to 60%, it will be up to the people of B.C. to keep the issue of electoral reform alive. Given that a majority of the province expressed their lack of satisfaction with the current system tonight, it is the only thing to do.

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  • I was very disappointed that STV fell just short as I was hoping it would have a domino effect around the country. Call this a case of an Ontarian being disgruntled with how a Western province voted!

    I don't know if you've addressed this before but I have a hard time reconciling how this vote required 60% (plus that riding criteria) while a vote by Quebec to secede from Confederation apparently just requires a simple majority.

    By Blogger Spearin, at 6:49 PM  

  • Not only that, but the other criterion was achieved with aplomb! A majority vote was required in 48 out of 79 riding; a majority vote was achieved in 77 ridings. I'm very disappointed that STV fell just short as well. In my opinion not nearly enough people were aware of the referendum (my workmates are pretty aware people for the most part, and most of them had only barely heard about it but didn't actually know anything about STV).

    "Well, I wasn't too optimistic about my predictions for the B.C. election and that lack of optimism turned out to be well justified."

    You can at least say that you predicted that your prediction would be off!

    By Blogger Simon, at 8:28 PM  

  • Well to be fair, it's probably the Quebec vote requirement which is out of whack, not the STV one. It's certainly frustrating to be so close and yet potentially so far away from real reform.

    I guess if Parizeau blamed money and the ethnic vote, I can blame apathy and the ignorant vote. Of course I'm not saying that everyone who voted 'No' was ignorant, but my gut feeling is that over 60% of those who really understood the options voted yes but a fairly even split amongst those who didn't really know much about it drove the total % under 60. I don't really have any proof of that, it's just a hunch.

    At least if England switches to STV that will take away one of the 'no' side's big arguments for next time around!

    By Blogger Declan, at 12:44 AM  

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