Editorial: Horgan majority not what it seems

NDP’s popular vote would not have given it a majority under a proportional representation system

Here’s how the vote looks based on the percentage each party received versus the representation in the legislature.

Here’s how the vote looks based on the percentage each party received versus the representation in the legislature.

John Horgan certainly knew what he was doing.

Calling a snap election during a pandemic might not have been a popular decision but he definitely struck when the iron was hot for the benefit of himself and the BC NDP.

With all the polls in his favour, Horgan knew he had to act fast to get the majority he was seeking.

But a closer look at the numbers again reveal the usual imbalances in the power that comes from the first-past-the-post system compared to the actual popular vote and how different things would have been under a proportional representation system.

RELATED: Furstenau leads BC Greens to win first riding outside of Vancouver Island

RELATED: Horgan’s B.C. majority came with historically low voter turnout

Oh, Horgan’s NDP would still have won the election, but not by a majority. The legislature will have 63.2 per cent NDP representation but only 45 per cent voted for the party.

The BC Liberals come out just about even. They will have one-third of the MLAs in Victoria, but had a slightly higher 35.4 per cent voter rate.

The BC Green Party is the big loser. With only 3.4 per cent of the legislature composition from three successful candidates, there actually would have been 15.3 per cent Green among the MLAs based on the number of votes the party received. Coming second in a first-past-the-post system doesn’t tend to show the level of support.

The Conservatives would have even earned 2.4 per cent representation in Victoria and other parties two per cent, but there’s no way either were realistically going to win a seat.

If not for the hard work of Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau, who won her home Cowichan Valley riding, the results could have been devastating. The Greens now have some momentum after Horgan’s attempts to wipe out the party, as Furstenau called it, not only failed but brought to light just how strong folks in the province feel about another alternative to the politics of the NDP and the Liberals that we’ve been locked under for so long.

So what does it all mean in the big picture? Not much right now. Horgan has his majority and full control of the legislature despite taking some heat from Furstenau for calling the election and from the Liberals’ Andrew Wilkinson, who was also put in a tough spot and has now stepped down as leader.

For more news from Vancouver Island and beyond delivered daily into your inbox, please click here.

BC politicsBC Votes 2020