Analysis: A smooth transition for B.C. NDP in Nanaimo byelection

Blow to B.C. Greens, John Horgan’s hold on power remains slim

The B.C. NDP’s win in the Nanaimo by-election stabilizes their hold on a minority government at the B.C. legislature, maintaining the status quo two-vote edge that emerged after the 2017 election.

The result in Nanaimo is a considerable setback for the B.C. Greens, who ran an aggressive campaign and still lost more than half of their 2017 share of the vote. Their current three Vancouver Island seats are a high-water mark for the party, which captured 17 per cent of the vote province-wide and saw that fall to about seven per cent in Wednesday’s by-election.

The B.C. Liberals increased their vote share compared to the 2017 election, where Nanaimo was won handily by NDP incumbent Leonard Krog, whose decision to run for mayor triggered the by-election.

Aside from the B.C. Liberal near-wipeout win in 2001, the NDP has held Nanaimo since 1971. But the slam-dunk scenario for the NDP in Nanaimo is overstated, especially in a by-election.

RESULTS: NDP’s Malcolmson takes nearly 50 per cent of Nanaimo vote

Former premier Christy Clark’s 2013 win after an arranged vacancy in Kelowna West is a rare example of a governing B.C. party holding a by-election, the first since 1981. And that was with a sitting premier running in a traditionally solid B.C. Liberal seat.

The NDP took by-elections in Chilliwack as well as Port Moody-Coquitlam before giving them back to the majority B.C. Liberals the 2013 general election. Their Nanaimo win Wednesday reverses a long trend against sitting governments in the protest votes that often define by-elections.

In the most recent indication of support before Wednesday, Nanaimo residents voted 54 per cent against proportional representation. Even Premier John Horgan’s Juan de Fuca constituency only narrowly supported the referendum last fall, despite Horgan’s NDP pushing hard for a yes vote.

In the 2015 federal election, Malcomson took about a third of votes to win the Nanaimo-Ladysmith seat relatively narrowly. With turnout of more than 70 per cent, the Liberal and Conservative candidates were nearly tied with about 22 per cent each.

Horgan’s hold on power isn’t immediately threatened, even with the loss of a seat. The next critical “confidence” vote is likely to be on Finance Minister Carole James’ spring budget, and it may be a year before there is another vote that puts the NDP minority on the line.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

West coast group campaigns for seal, sea lion harvest

‘Salmon are going the way of the buffalo unless we do something’

Mount Arrowsmith skaters bring Beatlemania to Port Alberni

Biennial winter carnival showcases Port Alberni skaters

Portal Players Looking for love onstage in Port Alberni

Newcomers bring fun Norm Foster play to life for short run

Alberni boys win 20th consecutive Island Wrestling Championships

Alberni District Secondary School boys finished with 69 points

Juno-nominated Indigenous hip-hop duo to play in Port Alberni

Snotty Nose Rez Kids will be at the Kingsway Pub on Saturday, Feb. 23

VIDEO: Canada’s flag turns 54 today

The maple leaf design by George Stanley made its first appearance Feb. 15, 1965

Moose Hide campaign takes message to Canadian schools

Campaign launches new K-12 education platform

‘Violent’ B.C. man wanted on Canada-wide warrant

Prince George man with ties to Vernon sought by police

Homicide police investigate assault turned deadly in Surrey

60-year-old man died at hospital after assault

Trudeau’s principal secretary, Gerald Butts, resigns amid SNC-Lavalin furor

Butts categorically denies the accusation that he or anyone else in the PMO improperly pressured former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould

Deported B.C. man who came to Canada as a baby granted chance at return

Len Van Heest was deported to the Netherlands in 2017

A Mother’s Wish: Ryan Shtuka’s mother wants her son to be ‘forever known’

‍‍‍‍‍“Let me tell you a story …. it all began with a boy named Ryan”

Sex abuse survivors to meet with Vatican summit organizers

Pope Francis has urged participants to meet with abuse victims before they came to Rome

Most Read