NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Tuesday, May 14th, 2013

Christy Clark declares victory in B.C., but trails the NDP’s David Eby in her own riding

British Colum­bia Pre­mier Christy Clark, whose B.C. Lib­er­als scored a huge upset over the New Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty, has just fin­ished deliv­er­ing her vic­to­ry speech in down­town Van­cou­ver in front of hun­dreds of cheer­ing supporters.

Smil­ing broad­ly, Clark declared that her par­ty had won a clear man­date to gov­ern and would move for­ward with its plans to help oil com­pa­nies drill more wells and build more pipelines to increase the province’s fos­sil fuel exports.

Less than an hour and a half ear­li­er, the NDP’s Adri­an Dix con­ced­ed defeat in front of a sub­dued crowd of activists who had hoped to be cel­e­brat­ing the end of Lib­er­al rule but instead found them­selves shell­shocked at the mar­gin of their defeat.

“Some­times you win, and some­times you lose, and in British Colum­bia it often rains,” Dix told sup­port­ers as he acknowl­edged the defeat with dignity.

“Tonight, we are dis­ap­point­ed, but we are unbowed,” he added.

“We’ve elect­ed a very strong team that is going to hold the Gov­ern­ment account­able… This par­ty’s deter­mi­na­tion to bring change will continue.”

Per­haps, but the NDP is now in a much weak­er posi­tion than it was before the elec­tion. That’s not the result Dix want­ed, hoped for, or expected.

Dix him­self will return to Vic­to­ria as the MLA for Van­cou­ver — Kingsway. But he will return with less clout and less cred­i­bil­i­ty than he had when he left to cam­paign as the pub­lic face of the New Demo­c­ra­t­ic Party.

And whether he will remain the par­ty’s leader is an open ques­tion. The NDP per­formed worse with him at the helm than it did with Car­ole James in 2009. (James, inci­den­tal­ly, won reelec­tion in her own rid­ing and will also return to Victoria).

Speak­ing with reporters after her vic­to­ry speech, Clark lav­ished praise on her par­ty’s vol­un­teers and basked in the glow of victory.

“Oh my gosh, you guys, I’m feel­ing real­ly hon­ored,” she exclaimed when asked about her reac­tion to the unex­pect­ed­ly great results for her party.

Nat­u­ral­ly, she was also asked about the polls.

“If there’s any les­son in this, it’s that poll­sters and prog­nos­ti­ca­tors do not choose the gov­ern­ment,” she replied.

That’s cer­tain­ly true: we at NPI are fond of say­ing that the only real poll hap­pens on Elec­tion Day (south of the bor­der, here in Wash­ing­ton and Ore­gon, it’s more like Elec­tion Month, but the same prin­ci­ple applies).

How­ev­er, it appears that the vot­ers in Clark’s own rid­ing are on the verge of choos­ing some­one else to rep­re­sent them in Vic­to­ria. The NDP may well come out of this elec­tion with at least the sat­is­fac­tion of hav­ing knocked out Clark in Van­cou­ver — Point Grey with a stel­lar can­di­date, David Eby, who used to serve as exec­u­tive direc­tor of the B.C . Civ­il Lib­er­ties Association.

(I pro­filed Eby on Sat­ur­day and came away very impressed).

Eby, who has trad­ed the lead with Clark a cou­ple of times dur­ing the course of the night, is present­ly ahead by sev­er­al hun­dred votes, which is rather remark­able. With one hun­dred and sev­en­ty-three of one hun­dred and sev­en­ty-three bal­lot box­es report­ed, Eby has a three hun­dred and six­ty vote lead over Clark.

Advance polls (ear­ly votes, as we’d say in the U.S.) still need to be count­ed, but the NDP made a big effort to get British Columbians to vote ear­ly, and it seems unlike­ly that the advance polls will favor Clark.

If Eby ekes out a vic­to­ry, it will be bit­ter­sweet for him, but very sat­is­fy­ing for the NDP… a bright spot on an oth­er­wise very grim elec­toral map.

Clark would then find her­self in the embar­rass­ing posi­tion of hav­ing to ask one of her own vic­to­ri­ous Lib­er­al can­di­dates to step aside so she can hold a seat in the B.C. Leg­isla­tive Assem­bly. (As I’ve pre­vi­ous­ly not­ed, in British Colum­bia, an MLA does not have to reside in the rid­ing that he or she represents).

As of 11:40 PM, these were the results in Van­cou­ver — Point Grey:

Christy ClarkBC Lib­er­al Party7,98744.31%
David EbyBC NDP8,34746.30%
William GibbensInde­pen­dent600.33%
Hol­lis Jacob LinschotenWork Less Party420.23%
Duane Nick­ullBC Con­ser­v­a­tive Party2741.52%
Marisa PalmerLib­er­tar­i­an430.24%
Françoise RaunetGreen Par­ty of BC1,2647.01%
Bernard Bedu YanksonThe Plat­inum Party100.06%

Despite hav­ing undoubt­ed­ly lost some pro­gres­sive vot­ers to Françoise Raunet of the Green Par­ty, Eby is still ahead, and leads by a slight­ly more com­fort­able mar­gin at present than he did ear­li­er. It’s look­ing pret­ty good for him.

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