Even though one of the major party leaders represents a Vancouver riding – Jagmeet Singh comfortably won reelection in an inner-suburb riding on the east side of town – British Columbia is probably the region least interested in national elections. Nobody here gives a damn about Quebec’s Bill 21, because nobody here speaks French and Muslim immigrants are rare. Vancouver is increasingly a city in the Chinese sphere of influence. If the election had featured a major debate on the implications of Chinese real estate purchases – which it didn’t – we would have stirred ourselves and been involved.
Our provincial government has opposed the proposed expansion of a pipeline from Alberta to the Pacific, but opinion polls conclude that a small majority in B.C. favour its construction. The provincial government has no intention of elevating its opposition into a major matter.
We are in favour of reconciliation with First Nations but we are unsure of what that means. It means different things in liberal downtown Vancouver – where Jody Wilson-Raybould won reelection as an independent MP – than it does in the interior, which shares Prairie misgivings about too many Trudeau apologies. The B.C. legislature is currently debating legislation that would ensconce the UN Declaration of Indigenous Rights as the basis of provincial policy. We are legislating that “States shall consult and cooperate in good faith with Indigenous peoples in order to obtain their free and informed consent prior to the approval of any project affecting their lands or territories and other resources.” Does that mean a First Nation veto on pipeline and similar resource proposals? We’re not sure.
We are in favour of a strong environmental policy but not enough to discuss the disruptions to our lifestyle implicit in the Green Party platform. We reelected the two Green MPs representing Vancouver Island ridings, but the Greens made no further advances.
The popular vote distribution in B.C. was 34 per cent Conservative, 26 per cent Liberal, 24 per cent NDP and 12 per cent Green. In terms of seats, the Conservatives won 17 (an increase of eight), the Liberals 11 (a decrease of seven), the NDP 11 (down two) and the Greens two (no change). On a map painting B.C. ridings with the winning party’s colour, most of the province looks to be an extension of the Prairies – all blue. The coast and all of Vancouver Island except for a very small Green patch in the southeastern corner are red or orange – no blue. The Liberals and NDP shared the urban seats in the two major cities, Vancouver and Victoria; the Conservatives won a few suburban Vancouver ridings.
Green support in B.C. peaked in the summer. In August, the CBC poll tracker placed the Greens (at 19 per cent) marginally ahead of the NDP (at 18 per cent). The prediction at the time was five NDP and five Green MPs in B.C. However, in the intervening two months, the NDP recovered and the Greens faltered. The Greens’ failure to do better is my major disappointment in this election.