Jordan: It’s been two and a half years now since British Columbia last had a provincial election, frankly given the results of the last one. That’s kind of amazing
News Clip: A provincial election pitting the Liberals against the NDP and ending with a historic result projects a minority government the first one in British Columbia since 1952, after 16 years in opposition and a hard-fought election. The NDP says it can take power with a little help. The BC greens will give the BC NDP support to form government and the terms of their agreement as I’ve mentioned will be for four years. We’re not looking to have an election and anytime soon. We’re looking to show the British Columbians that Minority governments can work.
Jordan: It’s not easy to keep a minority government going for this long. It involves a lot of compromise a lot of deal-making and a lot of working together across the aisle. All those qualities are things that any number of federal MPS might find themselves needing on October 22nd if the current projections are accurate, so what has made BC’s minority government work, so well, what do the voters here care enough about to compromise on other issues in order to achieve and how will this province which has one of the most obvious Geographic political splits in the country figure into the result on Election night, especially if it’s close and with only Canada’s westernmost Province to go. I’m Jordan Heath Rawlings, and this is the big story Liza Yuzda is the legislative reporter based in Victoria for news, 11:30. Hey, Liza.
Liza Yuzda: Hello. How’s it going?
Jordan: It’s really good. Kind of chilly. But good. How is that a democracy out on Vancouver Island and in BC in general?
Liza Yuzda: I think democracy is doing quite well. I it’s interesting out here. We’ve had an interesting couple of years with I think democracy showing distinctly how it works in our provincial politics and curious to see how it’s all going to play on federally. Yeah. So explain to our listeners who don’t live in BC and who probably last heard about your interesting provincial legislature a couple years ago.
What is the current makeup of the legislature and who’s holding power and how. We have the NDP holding power because they have what we call Casa the confidence and Supply agreement with the green party here the BC green party, which is different from the federal green party. So the way it works is ultimately the greens here yield a great deal of power because their votes are needed in order to pass something in the house the Liberals.
I have almost the same number of seats so they could pass something as well. That’s our official opposition. They also could pass bills with the help of the green party. They have enough votes like so there’s things like ride-sharing has been a big issue that’s come up here before the last election.
The Liberals that were in power were saying they’re going to do ride-sharing didn’t end up happening that was held up as things get held up in this province the NDP come in and say they’re going to put in ride-sharing. But then it gets held up because they need to do more studies because the taxi Lobby here has a lot of power.
So people were frustrated saying well at the greens want ride-sharing and the Liberals want ride-sharing. Why don’t they just pass it, but they couldn’t come to an agreement because the greens have now generally agreed to work with the NDP. So theoretically they agree with the Liberals on certain ideals and issues, but the essentially need the greens to pass or the Liberals and.
NDP need to work together to pass a The Greens hold that balance of power that bring them across the minimum. They need in order to get a bill passed.
Jordan: That sounds incredibly precarious. How is it survived so long
Liza Yuzda: Nobody thought it was going to last it was like one of those shotgun marriages that people are saying it’s not going to last a year, but it does.
Some say that the reason it’s last it is because the the BC greens have had to sort of swallow things. They don’t want to swallow sightsee was passed here the damn that the NDP for a long time had spoken out against that was passed. The NDP is working towards LNG. That’s another thing liquid natural gas that the.
The greens are against but they’ve agreed to support the NDP on the issues that matter on the confidence vote. So there has not been yet enough of a Chasm to separate the two and by all accounts. This is going to last until our next election
Jordan: when we talk about the federal election. I wonder how differently we should be looking at the provincial parties in British Columbia are the BC NDPS equatable for instance to the federal NDP’s you already mentioned that the BC greens are very different from the federal green. So how different is it out there compared to the way most of the rest of Canada understands these parties.
Liza Yuzda: I wouldn’t say that philosophically. They’re very different. I would say that the green that they are there separate parties. It doesn’t mean necessarily the philosophically different but they are separate parties. I would say the federal provincial NDP share a lot of. Commonalities though, of course our provincial NDP with some of the things they’ve done with LNG and sightsee there can be a bit of a Schism.
But of course once you get into politics is a different Beast than when you’re in opposition or running for power. What are the other main differences, I would say fiscally. Provincial Liberal Party here in BC is more aligned with the federal conservative party
Liza Yuzda: So those are a couple of things that are different.
There’s Pockets here where you will see provincial liberals, but you will get like in the interior and you will get Federal conservatives, but you would never get a BC conservative voted in.
Jordan: Right, one of the things we have been doing as we go across the country is asking first of all what the most pressing issue is to people outside of the province, but also to people inside the province and I figured for you and tell me if I’m wrong that we would start with Pipelines.
Liza Yuzda: I think that’s a big one but it also depends where you are in the province, which I think is the same case for a lot of provinces. You know, I grew up in Alberta and you’re living in Edmonton. It’s a different Beast than if you’re you know outside or in a more rural area. Yeah. So I think it’s a similar situation here on the coast like on Vancouver Island where we are where the capital is on the coast Vancouver Squamish, no areas like that.
I think you get a lot of people who are not. Supportive of a pipeline you get into the interior you get to the North. It’s a different Beast because people have different needs people look at it differently. I think when you’re living on the ocean you have a different sense of what could be lost which is the big argument that the provincial government has fighting this pipeline that the harm that can be done the irreparable harm that can be done.
So it depends where you are. But of course, you know, another huge one here that the other provinces don’t deal with to the same extent. And again, it depends where you are in the province of British. Columbia is affordability and housing and I mean. That is massive. I was just talking to someone else yesterday and the NDP government when they came in here for eventually came on this art you to this platform of making life more affordable for people in BC because for people who don’t live here, I mean in Toronto you get a sense of it, but the cost of living in the big cities here is outrageous.
I’m seeing, you know, I saw 400 square foot Studio Standalone not like in a house but like a standalone little, you know, Garden patios Suite in a place here in Victoria. For two square feet for I think it was $2,200.
Jordan: Wow, that’s insane.
Liza Yuzda: It seems so you know, and that’s what people in Vancouver have been dealing with.
Jordan: Well in the rest of Canada, we assume that it is only in Vancouver and I mean we’re guilty of this too because we talked about it in Toronto. We always talk about Toronto and Vancouver the big housing markets
Liza Yuzda: No, and and Victoria is altered it because we moved my family we moved here from Vancouver for years ago.
And it’s like we bought a house in the first year after we purchased our house here. It went up 20% the price of it. So we would have been four months after we bought it. We would have been priced out of. So those are the things you’re dealing with a lot of that is people from Vancouver or from the mainland and I say Vancouver, I mean Metro Vancouver moving to places like the island so that they can afford something that’s livable but there are people here the rental rate in Victoria is actually lower than it is.
In Vancouver, and we have a university here in college is here so it can be very difficult for people to find places to rent. And and so that affordability issue is a huge one. There’s people here who feel pretty sort of the federal government sometimes because there have been issues with foreign money coming in and when I say for and I often meet criminal money, we know money is being laundered to the housing market here and through casinos and whatnot.
And I think I’ve felt like there isn’t a man’s lack of support federally. Because there’s only so much provincial governments can do so those I think are big issues that we have in the Metro regions when you get to rural areas, you know logging is a big issue here and and of course we’ve had Mills closing which is hurting people like think that you know, that would be similar to the automotive industry in Ontario, you know smaller here, but it is killing towns.
It’s killing people’s hearts when their world has been forestry and and the lumber and. They’re just can’t make the money. I mean part of that is is issues with the states and selling our product. So those are some of the things that I think resonates here in BC.
Jordan: How are British Columbia voters balancing two of the big issues which you just mentioned is forestry and potentially a pipeline both of which are needed for their economic impact with climate change because I know that’s near the top of list for a lot of British Columbians, especially given the the fires you guys have dealt with in the last couple years.
Liza Yuzda: I think it depends who you ask again like. Are the coast people are saying, you know, I don’t see the financial gains of an increased pipeline balancing out the potential damage that could be done. Of course. We already have this Pipeline. And so that’s what other people in the interior say. Well, we already have this pipeline.
We’re all driving cars. So you need to get stuff from point A to point B. So there is a real division there when you get from rural or interior or Northern to the coast, you know, there there are places that will benefit financially from it. I would say that that’s an issue that is very divisive here, right?
You know, it’s a hard one to answer because it really does depend where you go. If you listen to folks in the interior, they’re saying we don’t want it trained through here. They you know, there’s campaigns that come from the interior talking about the damage that could be done from trains rolling through with oil and gas on it. You know, you look at Lac Megantic is one that people cite and like that’s what can happen to our towns. So there’s a there’s a real division when it comes to that and it’ll be curious to see how this all plays out in the end. I mean they’re that fight is long-form order over from our provincial.
Jordan: Well, I wonder how that fight plays out in this election because a couple of things that we’ve heard from British Columbia. And the rest of Canada is the first that a couple people have told us that this could be a huge night for the greens out on Vancouver Island. And another thing that people have told us is it also could be a huge night for the conservatives in the interior.
So how do the liberals kind of have to balance both of that to make it some sort of win in this province?
Liza Yuzda: I’m more tapped in right now to the island because I’m living in here and I’ve been writing about that
Jordan: is that real is the green surge real out? There?
Liza Yuzda: Here’s the thing. I think there will be a surge in the number of votes. They receive I don’t think it’s necessarily going to translate into a surge in the number of seats that they get and so that’s part of the problem if you look like the island is where Elizabeth May is hoping to win all seven ridings. Yeah. I think that she’ll keep hers. I think that the one that was the surprise.
Paul manly who recently won in the bielection there was a seat that was vacated because the MLA came to provincial politics and they were expected because the it was an NDP held see that they would just scooch in there but it didn’t happen in Paul manly the green candidate won. So I think that that’s a he will hang on to but there’s a lot of seats that the there’s four seats that have been held by.
The NDP in years past and and so you would think that the incumbent is going to hang on to that seat and that seems to be what the thinking is. There’s one seat here in Victoria. That’s up for grabs Murray Rankin held it and DP candidate. So now he has he’s decided not to run again so that you know the running between the NDP and greens and just anecdotally speaking looking at the signs.
I see I think I have seen one liberal sign as driving around in the neighborhoods here that I’d frequent in Victoria and a couple conservative signs, but all the rest are green and NDP in the interior. I don’t know. It’s hard. It’s hard to see I think that you know that that is a much more conservative stronghold.
I don’t know that we’re going to see any kind of I think there’s a debate on that. I was talking to someone else from our station yesterday who seems to think that there is going to be more of a conservative upsurge in the interior. I don’t know. I don’t know necessarily. They’re going to see a big change part of what I look at is that I just don’t see I don’t see anything in the candidates is going to make people make a big shift, you know people talk about the black face issue.
I think that’s a big one. They talk about sheer now with their try to make a. Fuss about Sheer and his job history and I just don’t think those are enough to make anybody drastically change the way they voted. Last time
Jordan: is British Columbia mad at Justin Trudeau and the Liberals fur for having been promised things that they didn’t deliver because we’ve talked to a lot of people in different provinces and that’s what they go to
Liza Yuzda: I think there is a frustration. Amongst certain people like we would when I talked about the affordability issue and just simple things like saying that you’re going to make changes as far as you know adding RCMP resources to looking into money laundering that’s happening and taxes in are being paid people on their taxes. I think there’s a frustration with that.
I think the pipeline might have pushed some people off the edge who would have voted perhaps liberal but it sure as heck not going to be the conservatives that benefit from that.
Liza Yuzda: So I think that the Liberals have pushed perhaps some people away. But again, I don’t know that it’s going to be enough.
So I don’t think it’s going to go into the conservative Direction. So I don’t need the they’ll change ultimate what many people think is going to be a liberal minority government at the end of the day.
Jordan: Well, BCS vote will come in last obviously. So in order for it to really matter we’re going to assume that it’s a close race as kind of we start counting the conservative votes in the Prairie.
And if that’s the case if it looks like it’s going to be maybe a minority government one way or the other or the difference between a minority and majority for one party. What should people be watching as the vote start to come in for British Columbia. Where should they be looking?
Liza Yuzda: I would think the interior like the interior like you’re not going to see I don’t think you’re missing anything on the island that is going to substantially shift.
I think the interior is where you’re going to see some shifts the other place that I think you could potentially see some changes is in the Metro Vancouver regions, but on the edges of the Metro Vancouver region, like looking at Surrey and places like that that I think that you could conceivably see some switches because those are places that tend to go more conservative.
So I guess. Depends ultimately how pissed off people are at the Liberals to see which way they go and vote make them make a decision to go to conservatives. That’s where you could see people changing the way they voted in the past.
Jordan: Thanks Liza. Liza used at is the legislative reporter for news 11:30. And that was the big story for more from us. You can head to thebigstorypodcast.ca click on Lay of the Land. If you want to go all across Canada and learn about how each province will vote. You can also log on to the twitter.com and tell us what you think. We are at @thebigstoryfpn, and of course you can open your phone or your laptop or wherever you listen to podcasts and find us on whatever player you’d like to use. Thanks for listening. I’m Jordan Heath Rawlings. We’ll talk tomorrow.
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