Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Provincial Politics

I find politics mildly amusing. We had an election here in BC yesterday, and although we still have the same government we had before, it has changed drastically. A little education for the non-Canadians in our midst. If you want to start a political party in BC, you can. You can call it anything. You can run candidates in as many of the ridings as you can finagle. You can call it The Marijuana Party, or you can call it the Sex Party. (Yes, those both exist. One's main platform is the legalization of pot, and the other one--I don't want to know.) Needless to say, only two or three parties get any amount of significant votes. Three parties (to my knowledge, don't correct me if I'm wrong) ran a candidate in every riding.

Four years ago we British Columbians decided to oust our scandal ridden government, and we did it with a vengeance. Out of the 79 available seats, the *other party* took 77. Even those of us who voted for them (and remember, there were a lot of us!) were a little dismayed. The Liberal government headed by Gordon Campbell had no one to counsel against them. The former governing party, the NDP (New Democratic Party), didn't even come out of the 2001 election with official party status. So GC began to balance budgets. He broke promises to unions. He cut massively in health care and education and absolutely everywhere else he thought he could get away with it. And get away with it he did, because as loud as those two NDP gals were, they were only two voices in a flood of Liberal. A lot of people have been pretty choked about the way he ran roughshod over the people of his province. But you know what? BC is on a better financial footing. The economy is more stable. That also says something.

Yesterday Gordon Campbell walked off with 46 seats. Quite a drop from 77, but still enough to form a majority government. The NDP rebounded with 33. (A lot of folks thought they had dropped completely off the radar, and gone the way of former BC parties such as Social Credit and Conservative, who have both formed governments in BC in the past two decades and now no longer exist. At all.) This is probably a very good thing for BC. A one-sided government with that much power is just a scary thing.

Locally, we have returned to the NDP fold, to no one's huge surprise. Our new MLA (member of the legislative assembly) is also our old one; he has represented our area well in years gone by (just not the last four!). In fact, Jim regularly works on the guy's farm equipment. ** asked Jim if he was getting his vote, and Jim said, "No, I'm sorry to say. I'm voting for the other guy because of your party's stand on particular issues. It's a matter of conscience. But still, I hope you win."

That about sums it up. It's a little sad, but it's true. Don't even get me started on the fiasco that is currently the status of Canada's federal government. It's just too embarrassing.


Margaret M. Fisk said...

Well, all I can say is "my goodness, what a wake up call!" Sounds like the best of all possible worlds to me. You had a majority long enough to make so critical and obviously unpopular changes and now you have balance with both sides aware that their actions DO count and DO affect their next term. Here's hoping they actually read the writing on the wall.

Mikesell said...

Oh, you're so provincial up there. (sorry, had to say it)

--Chris (dFm)

lindaruth said...

And here I thought you Canadians were quiet, well-behaved folk! ;)

Thanks for a fascinating look at somebody else's politics.

Maripat said...

And I thought the our politics in the US was wacked. Grin.