There’s a lot of signs pointing towards a fall election in British Columbia right now.
The media is chattering about it in Victoria, politicians themselves have talking points ready to go, Elections B.C. has begun tapping municipalities around the province for information on holding an early election (including the City of Fernie), and the sign that is the most telling of all – the B.C. N.D.P. is ahead in the polls.
Despite being very much a bystander in Canadian politics (permanent residency does not give me the right to vote), I didn’t need too much time to ponder before I decided having an election as soon as fall was a bad idea.
Don’t get me wrong, I love a good election, but your average B.C. voter has bigger fish to fry right now.
Premier Horgan and his government are indeed well ahead in the polls, riding high on goodwill towards the response to the public health crisis of our lifetime.
However, a great way for the government to take all that good will and piss it all away is to hold an opportunistic snap election in the middle of a pandemic.
The NDP has a supply agreement with the Greens, the B.C. Liberals have been bi-partisan in their approach to public health (mostly), and the next election isn’t scheduled for over a year in the future.
What’s the problem? Does Premier Horgan really want British Columbians to go against all the public health advice they’ve been pumping out for the last six months just so he doesn’t have to angst over having to talk to other parties in the legislature to pass legislation?
Elections are difficult to hold right now, regardless of what Elections B.C. might say. Sure, logistically they can probably manage, but what about the voters worried about exposing themselves to danger, what about voters that have spent much of 2020 living under an economic cloud? Getting a clear political message out, and hearing that message when you can’t gather in groups is hard. Just look at the U.S., where the man tapped by most polls to be the next President spent most of the last six months campaigning out of his basement.
The pandemic is still here, it hasn’t taken a breather. Numbers are on the rise in B.C. and there is a second wave coming. There won’t be any more escaping to the outdoors soon as winter closes in, and the premier is thinking about snatching a few extra seats in Victoria?
I won’t be wearing my politics on my sleeve, but if a fall election were to come around, it would go a long way in souring opinions on a government that would have proven itself willing to play politics with people’s health and well being just to cash in on some rosy poll numbers.
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