by Serena Bains, Staff Writer
A snap provincial election has been called for October 24, and while voting during a pandemic is less than desirable, so are the options of who to vote for. Despite this, elections remain an important, but singular form of political action. The purpose of an election is to vote for a party that one believes is rooted in activism and malleable enough, that the political action that occurs after the election is effective. So, take into account the ideology and the drawbacks of each party and then decide who to vote for.
Party Leader: John Horgan
The BC New Democratic Party is the party currently in power. Elected in 2017, the NDP currently has a minority government. The reason we’re prepping for an election is due to NDP leader John Horgan announcing on September 21 a snap election would take place. While the ethics of holding an election during a pandemic is questionable at best, John Horgan currently has the highest approval rating of any premier in Canada at 69%. The high approval rating is likely the result of the party completing 79% of its campaign promises in their first term. The promises not kept include: replacing Surrey portables with classrooms, freezing BC Hydro rates, building 114,000 affordable rentals and co-op homes, providing funding for school supplies, amongst others. Although these failures are significant, by far the most significant issue with the NDP is their betrayal of Indigenous peoples. He has continued the cultural genocide of Indigenous peoples by supporting the Trans Mountain pipeline and being complicit in the RCMP’s brutalization of the Wet’suwet’en people.
Party Leader: Andrew Wilkinson
The BC Liberals are the current official opposition party. After the Liberal party’s defeat in 2017, Christy Clark the previous premier of BC, announced her resignation. Andrew Wilkinson won the resulting leadership race with 53% of the vote and became the leader of the official opposition in 2018. It seems that the irony of winning a leadership race through ranked choice voting, while simultaneously being in staunch opposition of proportional representation, is lost on Wilkinson. But it is not the only time his views and actions have been out of touch. Wilkinson has claimed that 70% of post-secondary students complete their studies without any debt and that the campaign donation system is one that works, in light of a New York Times article entitled “British Columbia: The ‘Wild West’ of Canadian Political Cash.” He has also faced backlash for stating that students should be paying interest on students loans, that renting is “fun,” showing full-throated support of continuing the cultural genocide against Indigenous peoples, and being complicit in sexism aimed at Bowinn Ma. The BC Liberals current platform consists of the typical neoliberal values of reducing regulation, while investing in private industries.
Party Leader: Sonia Furstenau
In the 2017 provincial election the BC Greens won three seats, where the BC Liberals and the BC NDP won 43 and 41 seats, respectively. The party made the decision to provide confidence and supply to the NDP, making them the minority government. While the Greens had negotiating power and threatened to defeat the NDP government over their support of LNG (liquid nitrogen gas), little came of the Greens’ influence. Andrew Weaver stepped down as party leader in 2019 and Sonia Furstenau was elected in 2020. The Green Party has yet to release a full platform, but Furstenau touts the need to “stop subsidizing the fossil fuel industry and invest in clean energy, value-added resources, and the creative economy.” In practice, however, the Green Party has voted for increased fossil fuel extractions, fracking, and continuing subsidies for oil and gas corporations. Weaver has claimed this is a result of fear that the Greens would lose the few seats they have. While there are passionate environmentalists and ecosocialists within the party, this can vary wildly from candidate to candidate.
Conservative Party of BC
Party Leader: Trevor Bolin
The Conservative Party of BC has not held a seat in the legislative assembly since 1975. In their current iteration, they currently serve as a spoiler party siphoning votes from the BC Liberals. The party’s platform consists of scrapping the carbon tax, introducing private competition to ICBC, continuing to invest in fossil fuels and non-renewable energy, while somehow aiming to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30% in one year. Essentially, the party looks to conserve finances and social views of the past, while continuing their progress in being largely irrelevant.