I cannot believe we are stuck with Gordon Campbell and his band of idiots, criminals and downright heartless jerks for yet another four years. Many of the people in the BC Liberal party seem to have no qualms about breaking laws and continuing to think they have the right to serve the public. John van Dongen is the latest example with his speeding tickets and losing his license. Why should we be surprised? After all the Premier himself was arrested for drunk driving in Hawaii. The bar has been set pretty low it would seem.
What about the NDP? It would seem like people have very long memories in BC and are loathe to elect another NDP government. I think there are other things at work here. Carole James has been an effective leader. She has increased the party’s standing in the legislature from 2 seats to 36 seats in 2 elections. However, for the NDP, under Carole James, winning remains elusive. There are several reasons for this situation. I think Carole James does not have the charisma necessary to win. She is a strong leader but she sounds the same all the time. She stays on message but the message is boring. She does not inspire. She has provided stable, effective leadership to a party that was in complete disarray. The NDP need a new leader – a charasmatic individual who can inspire hope.
Antoher more daunting (and perhaps more serious problem) issue facing the NDP is the Green Party. If you add together the NDP and the Green’s popular vote you hit 50% which would have given the victory to the NDP. The NDP has always had strong environmental policy in their platforms. However, this time, I think Carole James mis-read the strong (perhaps bandwagon) support for environmental issues. Her stance on repealing the carbon tax because she thought it was the wrong tax and that the tax penalized ordinary British Columbians was great for the unions and the middle class but it did not sit well with environmentalists. If we are ever to get out of this mess with the BC Liberals, the NDP are going to have to get the environmentalists back on side.
Voter turnout for this election was a measly 52%. With such daunting issues facing the province like health care, education, the economic situation etc., there is something there that affects everyone. Where are the other 48% who did not bother to vote? There is no doubt that low voter turnout affected the outcome of the election.
I would like to see James replaced as leader of the NDP. I think she has done all that she can to move the party forward and she has done an admirable job. It is now time for someone younger perhaps and more charismatic to take over the leadership. James needs to make the decision sooner rather than later so that someone else has a chance to build support and relationships with key NDP supporters. Most importantly, the NDP needs to figure out how to tap into the environmental movement and siphon some votes away from the Green party who do not stand a chance of forming the government.
There is lots of work to be done. I only hope that those in the NDP realize what they need to do if they ever hope to get out of opposition.