The British Columbia Liberal Government overcame the NDP’s large lead in popular opinion to win Monday’s election. Public opinion polls continued to confirm an NDP lead right up to election day. Not since the victory of Harry Truman over Governor Dewey in the U.S. 1948 Presidential election have pollsters been so wrong. So wrong that they actually apologized for their failure to track the swing in support to the Liberals during the election campaign.
The Liberals got out their vote, which, in a low voter turnout election, would make a difference. Premier Clark projected a warm confident image, which also helped. There is talk about the success of the Liberal attack ads, which may have assisted the swing but were unlikely in themselves to be the reason for the result.
There is little for which environmentalists can be thankful. True, Andrew Weaver, the Green Party candidate in a Victoria riding, won the first Green seat in a B.C. Provincial election. Weaver is one of the most knowledgeable climate scientists in Canada. Perhaps with his new credibility as a politician and his participation in the BC political process he can raise the profile of climate change issues.
Of the three parties, only the Liberal platform had no significant proposals to combat climate change. All parties agreed that the BC Carbon Tax should remain, but the Liberals promised to freeze the rate of tax for the next five years.
In mid-campaign, the NDP changed tacks to oppose the Kinder-Morgan pipeline that will bring tar sands oil to the coast for export. The Liberals said little about this pipeline except that they would examine the proposals that Kinder- Morgan had to submit for approval. Perhaps this change by the NDP emphasized the choice between the Liberals, who promoted jobs and exploitation of BC’s natural gas natural resources, and the NDP who appeared to favour the environment over the economy.
No wonder Prime Minister Harper congratulated Premier Clark, saying that he looked forward “to continuing to work with Premier Clark on issues that matter to British Columbians and all Canadians, including jobs, growth and long-term economic prosperity,”