Home > BC Liberals, BC New Democrats, British Columbia Politics > BC Election: Post-Mortem Whining and Thoughts On The Way Forward

BC Election: Post-Mortem Whining and Thoughts On The Way Forward

May 13, 2009

In the 2009 BC Election, the BC NDP (preliminarily) got 36 seats (~42% of the seats) and the BC Liberals got 46 49 seats (~54 57% of the seats). Compare that to before the election, with the BC NDP having 34 seats (~43% of the seats) and the BC Liberals having 45 seats (56% of the seats).

That’s good, isn’t it? The BC NDP held its ground.

No, it is not good. This election should have been, for the BC NDP, like shooting a fish in a barrel. Instead, the fish in the barrel shot us.

Have a look at the facts: the BC Liberals could not manage a paper bag! Under their watch, both economic and social factors of BC has worsened. But they still won. How is this possible?

It’s quite simple: the BC NDP didn’t do the prep work needed to win this election.

This election was about the economy. This should have been good for the BC NDP – after all, the BC Liberals have managed to trash it. However, before the election, the BC NDP failed to establish their credentials as sound fiscal managers. Face it, you can’t do that once in the platform during the beginning of the campaign and all but ignore it before and after that.

Okay, beyond the economy, what did the BC NDP want to do when it got into power? Well, using the message box, I could probably tell you that, but not without mentioning Gordon Campbell.

The result of all this? Well, it was an election result where the BC NDP didn’t gain ground. It was a result where most of the swing seats were lost to us. It was a result where the BC NDP lost the vote in Mackenzie, a town filled with (formerly) working people that was destroyed as a direct result of BC Liberal forest policy, despite a strong local campaign and a strong candidate.

I can’t sugarcoat this: when this is the election result, we are doing something wrong.

But that’s enough of the whining (sorry about that). The question that needs to be asked now is: how do we fix it and win elections?

Well, coming up with solutions is a lot harder that whining, but here are some random thoughts on the provincial level.

  1. We need to counteract the popular belief that the BC NDP are bad fiscal managers. How do we do this? Well, interestingly enough, I think that the BC Liberals have given us a blueprint. Four years ago, the BC Liberals were not popularly viewed as strong on environmental issues. So they tackled the issue head on, talked about it, created a carbon tax (that doesn’t really address the environmental), and got their partisans on the board of Environmental NGOs which then all but endorsed the BC Liberals. If the BC Liberals can do all that, than why couldn’t the BC NDP get our supporters on the boards of BC’s many Chambers of Commerce?
  2. We need to create Civic New Democrat branches for our municipalities and school boards, preferably labeled as New Democrats. I have three reasons for suggesting this. The first reason is that in order to have people think of us as being able to govern a province, they need to seen examples of New Democrats actually governing. The second reason is to have a place to develop and promote our future MLAs; right now, we seem to expect many of our New Democrat MLAs to come out of thin air. The third reason is to provide a place for NDP activists to learn, refine, and practice campaign techniques.
  3. Maybe we should think of some structural reforms to the BC NDP. There are two I would like to see. The first is the removal of the “New” from the New Democratic name; all during the election in out local campaign we were trying to avoid the use of the term “NDP” and use “New Democrat”. If we are doing this, then why not come up with something consistent: “Democrat”. The second is allowing people to opt out of federal New Democrat membership; in order to win, we must expand our volunteer and donor base, and there are many people that are provincial NDP supporters and federal non-supports ripe for the taking.

Wether you agree, disagree, or have anything to add to these suggestions, one thing is clear: we need to begin work to win Election 2013 right now, on May 13th 2009.

And we can win 2013. There is a high chance that Gordon Campbell will retire after the Olympics. This will result in a new BC Liberal leader, who will proably be somewhat of an unknown quantity to British Columbians. The known quantity would be Carole James. With a proactive campaign based on hard work, I think it is very likely that this circumstances will result in a BC NDP government.

  1. May 14, 2009 at 5:27 am

    Not to add more salt, but I think the Libs actually got 49 seats, not 46.

    • May 14, 2009 at 11:50 am

      Oops. That was simply a brainfart on my behalf.

  2. May 14, 2009 at 6:00 am

    Posted this in the wrong entry…

    For the NDP to succeed they need to fire Gerry Scott and Jeff Fox

    These men have proven they simply cannot organize a political campaign at any level.

    • May 14, 2009 at 3:54 pm

      Somehow, I don’t think the removal of two people isn’t going to change much.

      To succeed, I think we are going to have to be willing to examine the party from top-to-bottom.

      Of course, this is easier said than done.

  3. LZ
    May 14, 2009 at 4:29 pm

    Excellent comment! Thank gods I worked for Jenny Kwan’s campaign! I’m going to forward your comment to my list of friends. Thanks so much, LZ

  1. May 19, 2009 at 10:42 pm
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