British Columbia’s legislature was dissolved last week, triggering an election on October 24, 2020, a year earlier than originally planned.
Premier John Horgan, leader of the provincial NDP, called an election by requesting the legislature be dissolved by Lieutenant Governor Janet Austin, who complied (this is the standard process for calling elections in Canada). In media statements, Horgan says he has called the election for “stability” in the province as the inevitable second-wave of the coronavirus pandemic swells; an election should take place now, rather than in a year, in short.
"We can either delay that decision and create uncertainty and instability over the12 months …or we can dowhat I believe is alwaysthe right thing and ask British Columbians what they think,” Horgan said, according to CBC.
The NDP had control of the legislature with support from the Green Party following the last provincial election; the NDP’s 43 seats and three from the Greens created an alliance capable of replacing the long-ruling Liberal Party.
Since the election, Green Party leader Andrew Weaver and Liberal Party leader Christy Clark both resigned, to be ultimately replaced by Sonia Furstenau and Andrew Wilksinson, respectively.
There is currently talk of a federal election – remember these parties are separate entities with their own party associations, members and candidates.
What the parties are saying
Horgan and the NDP’s message about the election is that people need stability and an election now, rather than in a year when it was scheduled, will provide that. However, both the Greens and Liberals are calling that a thinly veiled excuse to grab power when polls are positive for the NDP.
"Whenpeople are worried about their kids being back in school, when people are worried about their jobs, when people are worriedabout their housing, this is not a time where we put the interest of a political party ahead of British Columbians," said Furstenau in a CBC article.
“The only reason for this election is to try and secure the jobs of the NDP. To make this completely clear, think about why we’re having this election, it’s not necessary. The NDP is trying to secure their employment,” noted Wilkinson in an article by Global News.
What the analysts are saying
Political analysts come from all points in the political spectrum with a wide swath of experience and expertise. A trend has emerged in coverage of the election one week in: Horgan is taking a big risk.
“There is no apparent need for an election. At least, I think that is what most people think, and he risks a voter backlash,” Hamish Telford, a political scientist at University of Fraser Valley told Global.
CBC analyst Justin McElroy wrote that, “Ultimately, Horgan and his party believe enough supporters will give him a pass on an election call because they value the stability offered by aNDP majority for the next four years. If not? Then the unkempt garbage cans behind Horgan as he called the election could become symbolic ofa mess of his own making.”
What you need to know
An election is happening and Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer for B.C., has expressed confidence in keeping residents safe while voting, as per comments on VancouverIsAwesome.com:
"I would like to assure you the B.C. COVID-19 response will continue uninterrupted, and it is my priority … the guidelines we've come up with include how political parties and their candidates need to keep themselves, their staff and volunteers and their communities safe during the campaign. We've also outlined how elections processes need to occur to ensure that everybody in the province remains safe and these can be handled safely."
Mail in voting will be taking place and information on how to register is currently available on the Elections B.C. website. CTV News also prepared a clear article on the process and important dates to be aware of (such as having your mail-in ballot submitted by 8 p.m. on election night if you want it counted).
Here's how you can get a vote-by-mail package in B.C.
The Fur-Bearers will be preparing more documentation regarding our efforts in the last several years with government to help inform voters; additionally, those with an environmental focus will appreciate the Narwhal’s article, So there’s going to be a fall election in B.C.: has the NDP kept its environmental promises?
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