A political lecturer at UNBC has an interesting take on the Nanaimo By-election where the NDP held on to its razor-thin lead.
NDP candidate Sheila Malcomson defeated BC Liberal hopeful Tony Harris claiming 49% of the vote.
Usually, by-elections hold little value for most people but this had a much different feel to it according to Morris.
“This by-election came to be about so much more as it came to be important on how the province would go as a whole in that legislature and what happened was the people of Nanaimo said no, we’re going to elect the best person that can do the best for us.”
However, the current government isn’t out of the wood just yet as the Liberals gained support in Vancouver Island while the BC Greens lost their fair share of support.
It could make the next major confidence vote very interesting in Victoria says Morris.
“As for the BC Legislature as a whole, our legislature doesn’t have a lot of confidence votes so the next test for the government will be the spring budget, which has to pass otherwise there could be an election.”
If this happens, it could possibly send residents and Victoria into a political whirlwind, but Morris is of the opinion both the Liberals and NDP would be hesitant to call an early vote.
“On both sides of the house, parties will be reluctant to go to the polls so soon for a few reasons. Number one is getting public financing for party fundraising since corporate and labour donations are banned so you want to get those payments. Pensions kick in for some in June so we may wish to wait for that in a self-interest kind of way and as well, elections for most of the province don’t go so well in the cold snap and wintery times so parties don’t want to upset people that way either.”
The by-election saw the public not wanting a change from the current NDP government electing Malcomson with 49% of the vote while Harris collected just 40% falling short of the seat that the BC Liberals have won just twice in the last 50 years.
If Harris decided to run again for the Nanaimo during the next provincial is there any chance he could steal it away from Malcomson given more time to campaign?
“We know that in politics incumbents have a tremendous advantage for re-election but in this case, if Tony Harris seeks to contest that seat again there is likely already a large campaign team ready to go not to mention all the things like lawn signs and advertising, logos and slogans all worked out to go, so this could be a tight race again.”
The BC Budget gets released on February 19th.