Thursday, May 23, 2013

What happened with the May 14 Provincial election?

Now that the dust has settled since the provincial election many questions come to mind as to why the opposite result occurred from what the pre-election polls suggested.  Was it that Christie was a far better campaigner than Adrian?  Was it that somehow the NDP forgot that the majority of people do not study or get involved in politics, they only pick up on that which immediately and directly affects them.  Did they forget that that there comes a time when you must fight fire with fire?  The NDP had a tonne of material to go after the Liberals with, but they used little if any of it until it was too late.  Was it the low voter turnout and the pre-election polls that caused the NDP's own people not to get out and vote?  It doesn't help that the third party, splitting votes, is now the Green party.  In North Van-Lonsdale for instance had there been no Green Party candidate, it is far more likely  NDP candidate Craig Keating would now be an MLA. Perhaps it's just because the NDP doesn’t have a Dave Barrett or Bob Williams to respond and provide effective opposition, and until they do they may remain as the opposition indefinitely. 

As leader of the BC NDP, I take full responsibility for this defeat. We didn't win. And disappointment doesn't begin to describe how that feels.


Jane Doe said...

Capitalism took over. Pollsters made money for their Liberal fatcats on errors. We got a lousy government that was elected by 52 percent of the voters in B.C.
Well done British Columbians!

Barry Rueger said...

Here's an abridged version of what I wrote, the day after:

Another NDP loss, and another chorus of whines about how that loss is the fault of every living person except the NDP themselves.

That's right - it all comes down to lazy voters; corporate media, and the Greens "stealing" NDP votes.

I'm going to go out on a limb and blame a new culprit; The New Democratic Party of BC.

In order:

1) The NDP has no platform, no soul, and really no reason for being any more. They don't like Unions any longer, or at least Union money. They spend far too much time hanging out with Chambers of Commerce and Boards of Trade. The environment? The Greens do it better. Poverty? The Greens do it better. Having photos taken with union leaders and activists? Hmmm... don't see much of that.

Next time you meet a card carrying NDPer, ask him or her to tell you exactly what the party stands for. What are the things that are so important that they are untouchable.

They'll stammer a lot, and eventually come back to "We're not the Liberals." What they won't be able to do is express anything like a coherent philosophy.

The Liberals don't have that problem. They exist to further unfettered capitalism, to make rich people richer, and to reduce government to as little as possible. They know it, business knows it, and the message is an easy sell.

Until the NDP manages to actually have an ideology, they will continue to lose. You can't sell "We're mainly not the same as those guys."

2) The NDP lives in a My Little Pony environment. Obvious to everyone except the NDP was the inevitability of Liberal attack ads, their willingness to lie and deceive to reach their ends, and the role of the big media in undermining and attacking the NDP during the last weeks of the campaign.

Unless the NDP is prepared to fight back, and hard, against all of this, they don't stand a chance.

The problem is that the NDP believes that they deserve to win because they're not as nasty as the opposition. Like it or not, that means that they'll lose.

3) The NDP believes that Greens "steal" votes from them. In the first place, the Greens takes votes from both major parties, more or less evenly. In the second place, if the NDP had as good an environmental policy as the Greens, lots of those votes might come over.

How's this for an analysis: Lots of voters are moving to the Greens because they're unsatisfied with the NDP.

4) The NDP believes that they lost because lazy voters didn't vote. Guess what NDP:

Those people aren't voting because you're not giving them a reason to do so.

One heck of a lot of people fully understand the Liberal party and what they represent, and would never vote for them. They might vote NDP, except that it's pretty much impossible to see how they're different from the Liberals.

Adrian: You cannot spend half of the campaign sucking up to Big Business, and then have us believe that you're not the same as the Liberals. If photo-ops with corporate leaders outnumber ones with Union leaders, you've blown it.

If the NDP hope to ever form another government in BC they have to actually become a party that stands for something.

Since the Liberals and Conservatives pretty much have a lock on the right wing of the spectrum, the NDP will need to - oh heresy! - learn once again how to be Left Wing. Maybe even Socialist.

They'll need to give up on trying be the slightly more progressive Free Enterprise party, and return to their roots, embracing poor people, working people, unionised people, activists, environmentalists - all of the groups that seem to be seen as an embarrassment instead of the grass roots of the party.

Lyle Craver said...

Seems to me the NDP campaign this time was chiefly "Vote for me cause we're not Christy" which isn't enough.

At the same time I do think Vancouver-Point Grey was Clark's to take had she only attended one or two all-candidates - sure all-candidates are political theatre but avoiding them altogether gives an impression of arrogance which is never good.

(Though I have nothing but scorn for the UBC AMS student society that invited "Clark or a representative" then when the representative was the candidate from the adjacent riding turned up he was turned away - if the invite was for Clark alone they should have said so and have no one to blame but themselves!)

John Sharpe said...

In fairness I can kind've understand that they turned away 'a candidate' from the adjacent riding. If a 'representative' had shown up that was not another candidate and was refused that would be a different story.

Oh well all history now.

John Sharpe said...

The following was forwarded to me by email a couple of days after the election.

"So the results of the election says to our kids that it's ok to lie, steal, cheat, drink and drive, run red lights, abuse the elderly, sell off everything to pay off your friends. Greed is good, pay millions to crooks at BCR, deny everything although your guilty, and destroy what's in your way to get what you want. Welcome to Corporate B.C. where everything is for sale and if your friends have money life is good."

Griffin said...

Well, I thought that there would be a bit of outrage at the comment posted by John, but I guess not.

Let's assume for the moment that the the NDP won... a similar post might have come from a non-NDP supporter who said that "The results of the election says to our kids that it's okay to commit forgery, a criminal offence, and lie under oath...that it's okay to spend millions of dollars on a bunch of fast-cat ferries that didn't work to satisfy the ego of the then CEO of the Province, that it's okay to syphon off millions of dollars on something affectionately called Bingogate by the press to feather the nests of your cronies...." Need I go on?

The fact is that there are some politicians who feel that once they get in office, they are free to do whatever they wish with the public purse, audits and accountability be dammed.

John, your correspondent has either been living in a cave for the past 20 years, or has just arrived in Canada because the party that s/he so espouses is by no means perfect, far from it. To say that the Liberals are the only party that has transgressed is hyperbole at its finest.

And the fact that you published it indicates to me that you don't have a particularly accurate memory either.

TruLib said...

The day after the election was started, I made 3 bets that the Liberals would win. In none of those cases did I have any 'crystal ball' about the outcome but posed the question out loud: If the NDP (and the CCF before them) were never able to beat the Free Enterprise Party of the day unless it were sufficiently fractured to elect MLA from more then one party and the Conservatives are falling apart, then how can the NDP win? I couldn't see it. If, for every 100 voters going into vote, 38-46 (as has been the case historically) will vote NDP, then what of the those 54-62 remaining votes? Called out on this, I was goaded into the bets which I took because I simply couldn't see it. On that basis, Dix's performance, Christy's negative campaigning, voter apathy, all take a back seat to the real issue for the NDP - they simply don't have enough 'core' supporters to win without their being a split on the right. Coalition stays together - weather under unpopular leaders like Bill Bennett in 1983 or perhaps Christy today, it don't matter if there isn't another reasonable alternative on the right. So what does the NDP need to do? 3 things - 1. Officially separate itself from the institutional union presence (ie affiliated members ascribed to unions) - this will be a blood bath but I don't see how the NDP can hope to attract the centre minded voter if there is an entrenched union anchor controlling it's agenda and politics. 2. Change the name of the party to something like the "Dogwood Party" to seal the separation from the NDP brand which has stalled at 45/46%. 3. Look for a leader that will attract the centre - someone in the mold of Mike Harcourt. Without these fundamental changes, the rest of the strategizing will be a waste of time.

Barry Rueger said...

I'll argue that the NDP's problem is that they have moved so far to the "centre" that they can't be distinguished from the Lib/Tory/Socred parties.

The NDP likes Free Trade, wants to refuse union money, and spends insane amounts of time courting business.

It's simply ludicrous to suggest that they are in any way still left wing.

John Sharpe said...

Whoa Griffin!... somehow I thought you'd be the first to be "outraged" or comment first.

I have no doubt a similar post would have come out if the NDP had won. And I did not write the comment, but I did post it so I will defend and take responsibility for it.

I have an accurate enough memory of the events 20 years ago ago. No party is any where near perfect, the NDP no exception. I would sooner see all independent MLAs or some sort of voter reform actually. But talking about memory well, the events which mark the Liberals bad deeds are fresh in the past 12 years as opposed to 20. I tend to side with 'Green switched' Barry R. in his evaluation of the NDP, but I also think they are quite a different NDP than that of the 90's. That compared to these fresh corrupt events of the past 12 years tips the scales for me. Not sure why the events of the 1990's are more 'accurate' in your mind than that of the 2000's.

Where we have crystal agreement though is on your third sentence which of course transcends any partisan stripes and has entirely to do with ethics.

John Sharpe said...

And Trulib,

I don't buy it.

Barry R. is right they already are a centrist party.

They'd have better chance if they moved to the left to better distinguish themselves.

John Sharpe said...

And Trulib,

I don't buy it.

Barry R. is right they already are a centrist party.

They'd have better chance if they moved to the left to better distinguish themselves.

Griffin said...

Barry, I am cynical enough to believe that the refusal of union money was nothing more than an attempt to become more centrist, a failed attempt to appeal to the swing centre vote. If they had been fortunate enough to win a majority, I would not have been surprised to see that new philosophy vanish like morning dew.

And John, as for my comments about 12 versus 20, it's the Liberals who have been in office most recently, so of course, their record is more top of mind. It has nothing to do with accuracy. But I also believe that leopards don't change their spots, and once in office, the NDP would have reverted, sooner or later, to their old habits, leaders notwithstanding, especially since their current leader learned his trade at the foot of the former.

Dix and his cohorts ran a terrible campaign and got what they deserved. Whether the Liberals deserved to win is another story. Personally, I would have preferred a situation where neither of them won a majority and there was a third party with enough seats to hold the other two accountable. That didn't happen.

As moderator of this blog, unless you come out of the closet and declare it as pro-NDP or Green, I think you have a responsibility to be as neutral as possible, and if you are going to post something that is pro one party or another, you owe it to your readers to balance that with something equally flattering to another party. Just because somebody sends you something doesn't obligate you to publish it. Let them do their own dirty work!

TruLib said...

As a Liberal supporter, I am pleased that you Barry and John have rejected my theory and maintain that the NDP has moved over sufficiently to call themselves a centrist party. I am not saying that the NDP is some Left wing extreme only that B.C. has historically aligned itself with the 'free enterprise' party and not the union based party. Being a centrist is a matter of perspective but those I have never heard the NDP call themselves a free enteprise party that is not aligned with Labour.

Barry Rueger said...

Via Straight Goods: What happened in the BC election? NDP voters stayed home, possibly because of Liberal attack ads. (Ipsos Reid analysis)

John Sharpe said...


I think your dead wrong about the union money. And let's not forget Mr. Dix included corporate money. At any rate I believe he was sincere about that. The BC Greens took this same stance back in 2006 at their AGM.

The records show I have been pretty neutral and equally flattering with past posts.

Discussion of various political points of views are what the blog has always been about. I have a point of view like any one, moderator or not.

Barry Rueger said...

Some more interesting numbers from the BC Iconoclast. It seems that the North Vancouver ridings actually had a healthy voter turnout, both in the top twenty:

North Vancouver-Seymour 25983/ 38055 68.28%
North Vancouver-Lonsdale 24326/ 39633 61.38%

The highest turnout was in two Victoria area ridings where the Greens also had a very strong presence.

Bernard also has a good analysis of vote-splitting, and concludes that it's mostly nonsense.

Lyle Craver said...

Thanks for the link - will have to check this out.

Two of my three kids served as poll clerks in the provincial election and the third has served in previous elections. All voted.

I seldom agree with Jodie Emery (wife of Mark Emery) on anything but she wrote an excellent letter to the Vancouver Sun shortly after the election saying "To those of you who didn't vote - if the Government passed a law outlawing voting would you be upset to lose your vote? If you would be upset, where were you on May 14th?"

I get particularly upset for municipal elections since they're always 2-3 weeks after Remembrance Day and every year at the cenotaph the good padre talks about our right to choose our government being part of what our forefathers bled and died for.

Then 75-80% of us honor that heritage ... by staying home from the polls. Am I the only one who sees a disconnect?