Three years ago this month, Christy Clark led the BC Liberals to an unexpected victory in the provincial election.
She campaigned almost entirely on the economy, wearing her trademark hard hat around the province.
With the next provincial election set for one year from today, it’s a safe bet Clark’s Liberals will try to make the election once again all about B.C.’s strong economy.
“The economy and jobs are always a big part of any campaign,” BC Liberal 2013 campaign chair Rich Coleman said. “It’s really about that because people want to know about their future, their lives, their children, their families, whether they’re going to have a job tomorrow, how successful they’re going to be.”
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The NDP’s defeat in 2013 was devastating to the party. But it has a new leader now who also wants to talk about the economy and affordability for average people.
“How do people live in British Columbia when wages have been flat for a decade and costs keep going up and up and up?” NDP leader John Horgan asked. “And it’s not just housing, which is a very difficult issue to address, but it’s government costs — hydro rates, ICBC rates, MSP premiums.”
Green Party leader Andrew Weaver, meanwhile, likes his third-party status.
“We just have to look in Alberta — Rachel Notley came from third to No. 1. And we look federally — Justin Trudeau came from third to No. 1. We will be running very hard all across the province to give British Columbians an alternate choice to what’s happening here.”
History plays a role too. UBC political scientist Max Cameron points out how hard it has been over the years for the NDP to dislodge the ruling party from power.
“In the province of B.C., generally speaking, the NDP wins when the governing party stumbles,” he said. “Right now, there’s every reason to believe that Christy Clark and the Liberals are in a very secure position in the province of B.C.”
Elected MLAs will now start declaring whether they will seek re-election.
So far, two BC Liberals and one New Democrat have opted to leave politics.
– With files from Keith Baldrey