Analysis: A smooth transition for B.C. NDP in Nanaimo byelection

Blow to B.C. Greens, John Horgan’s hold on power remains slim

The B.C. NDP’s win in the Nanaimo by-election stabilizes their hold on a minority government at the B.C. legislature, maintaining the status quo two-vote edge that emerged after the 2017 election.

The result in Nanaimo is a considerable setback for the B.C. Greens, who ran an aggressive campaign and still lost more than half of their 2017 share of the vote. Their current three Vancouver Island seats are a high-water mark for the party, which captured 17 per cent of the vote province-wide and saw that fall to about seven per cent in Wednesday’s by-election.

The B.C. Liberals increased their vote share compared to the 2017 election, where Nanaimo was won handily by NDP incumbent Leonard Krog, whose decision to run for mayor triggered the by-election.

Aside from the B.C. Liberal near-wipeout win in 2001, the NDP has held Nanaimo since 1971. But the slam-dunk scenario for the NDP in Nanaimo is overstated, especially in a by-election.

RESULTS: NDP’s Malcolmson takes nearly 50 per cent of Nanaimo vote

Former premier Christy Clark’s 2013 win after an arranged vacancy in Kelowna West is a rare example of a governing B.C. party holding a by-election, the first since 1981. And that was with a sitting premier running in a traditionally solid B.C. Liberal seat.

The NDP took by-elections in Chilliwack as well as Port Moody-Coquitlam before giving them back to the majority B.C. Liberals the 2013 general election. Their Nanaimo win Wednesday reverses a long trend against sitting governments in the protest votes that often define by-elections.

In the most recent indication of support before Wednesday, Nanaimo residents voted 54 per cent against proportional representation. Even Premier John Horgan’s Juan de Fuca constituency only narrowly supported the referendum last fall, despite Horgan’s NDP pushing hard for a yes vote.

In the 2015 federal election, Malcomson took about a third of votes to win the Nanaimo-Ladysmith seat relatively narrowly. With turnout of more than 70 per cent, the Liberal and Conservative candidates were nearly tied with about 22 per cent each.

Horgan’s hold on power isn’t immediately threatened, even with the loss of a seat. The next critical “confidence” vote is likely to be on Finance Minister Carole James’ spring budget, and it may be a year before there is another vote that puts the NDP minority on the line.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Heart of Our City: A counselor and a competitor

Roberta Edzerza has left a mark on the court and in the classroom

CityWest announces fibre-to-the-home expansion plans

CityWest plans to provide service to half the city by the end of 2018

Prince Rupert Rampage fall to River Kings

The Prince Rupert Rampage were eliminated by the River Kings Sunday, sparking a massive post-game brawl.

Rampage bounce back, force a game 3

Prince Rupert beat Terrace River Kings 8-1 on Feb. 16

All Native Basketball Tournament: Seniors Final

Kitkatla holds off upstart Vancouver squad to repeat as champions

Ice skating on the North Coast, a rare treat

Seawolves hockey players bring their gear to Oliver Lake this week to play on the outdoor rink

Lost a ring? This B.C. man will find it for you

Chris Turner founded The Ring Finders, an international directory of metal detector hobbyists

Poverty coalition has high hopes for B.C. poverty reduction strategy

Funding allocation expected to be released with 2019 budget

‘How did we get here?’: B.C. mom of transplant recipient worries about measles outbreaks

Addison, 7, cannot get a live vaccine because she has a heart transplant

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh calls for public inquiry over SNC-Lavalin questions

Vancouver member of Parliament Jody Wilson-Raybould resigned from cabinet last week

Canadian airlines waiting for guidance from Ottawa over X gender option

Major U.S. airlines said they will change their process so passengers can identify themselves along non-binary lines

Moose Hide campaign takes message to Canadian schools

Campaign launches new K-12 education platform

‘Violent’ B.C. man wanted on Canada-wide warrant

Prince George man with ties to Vernon sought by police

Homicide police investigate assault turned deadly in Surrey

60-year-old man died at hospital after assault

Most Read