Counting the Days
As of today there are just 120 days until BC's 41st General Election and you can feel the excitement in the air... or rather the lack thereof. Let's face it, provincial elections are even less exciting than federal elections and even those are far from entertaining for most people.
So why should you care? Well, because like it or not elections are incredibly important and deserve more than just a 50% turnout as has been the case in previous years. This is the one time in 4 years that you get to have a say in who is going to lead our province and guide policy decisions until 2021. Yes I know, paying attention to BC politics can be boring but just try and focus for the next 120 days so you can make an informed decision and VOTE accordingly. I really can't stress the voting part enough so please just do it.
OK, that's my spiel for the day, now on to some exciting political analysis!
My Take on the Election
As the election gets closer and closer, many people have been asking me who I think will ultimately win and this is what I tell them: Unless something major happens between now and May 9th, Christy Clark and the BC Liberals will continue to run the show in Victoria for 4 more years. Can I guarantee this? Absolutely not, especially with how unpredictable political outcomes have been. However, what I can do is provide a brief analysis on why I am very confident in my prediction despite the latest polls showing the NDP slightly in the lead.
Politics is like a Boat
Analogy's have never been my strong suit so I apologize if this makes no sense but I hope you can at least grasp what I am trying to explain... Think of politics and the act of leading the province as the same as sailing a boat. It's one of those things that doesn't seem overly complicated and almost everyone thinks they could do better, especially when something goes wrong. However, it's also one of those things that most people don't really want to do and would much rather prefer if someone else did it for them. After all, being on a cruise ship and enjoying the view sounds much better than being the person in charge of keeping everyone on the ship happy and safe 24/7... With me so far?
OK, so now picture you are that person on the cruise ship and the time has come for you to choose who is going to be your new captain. Now, unless your ship has been swaying a lot recently or has run aground, you're probably not going to take the risk of replacing your current captain with a completely new one. Why risk it when things have been pretty good up until now and not looking too bad moving forward? Sure some people may be feeling a little seasick and will opt to vote for a new captain but overall the majority will continue to stay the course and keep going. In other words, what I'm trying to say is that things aren't so bad, the boat isn't sinking, and the people of BC will likely opt to keep Christy Clark and the Liberals in power rather than risk an unknown outcome with John Horgan and the NDP as their new captain.
8 Reasons Clark Will Win
In case you're wondering, I didn't just take a guess at who was going to win based on my great analogy and the idea that BC's boat isn't sinking. Instead, I looked at a number of statistics as well as analysed the current political climate to determine that a government change is unlikely. I could go on for some time explaining my every thought and opinion but that would get dull very quickly so instead I'll just explain 8 reasons Christy Clark will win:
1) Unemployment is down
In the last year the unemployment rate in BC has fallen from 6.6% to 5.8% and recent forecasts predict greater economic growth in the coming years. This is good news for Clark since economic stability is a major concern when it comes to politics and elections. Not only that but Clark has been very outspoken about her goal of making BC the 'Silicon Valley' of Canada which is a popular move as tech becomes an increasingly huge economic driver.
2) The Dollar is Slowly Improving
While this could change drastically before the election, the Canadian dollar is currently improving which again signifies good things in terms of the Canadian economy. However, it still isn't even close to par with the US dollar which is actually a good thing for many companies in BC such as those involved in the lumber and filming industries. As a result, a slowly improving dollar is the best dollar Clark could ask for leading up to an election.
3) Oil Prices are Rising
Another industry that is important to BC is the oil industry. This is especially true given the recent approval of the Kinder Morgan pipeline. Clark somehow managed to stay relatively removed from the decision and didn't take much backlash from those opposed to the project. Instead she has come across favourably by emphasising that BC will get it's 'fair share' from oil royalties. With oil prices climbing, the project is more likely to move forward and this means more job creation and higher royalties.
4) Housing Prices are Levelling Out
One of the main concerns in BC over the past year has been the cost of living in the Lower Mainland and other areas of the province as home prices skyrocketed. However, Clark has now implemented a foreign buyers tax and more recently introduced an interest free loan program for first-time home buyers. As a result, prices appear to be levelling out and in some cases actually coming down. This could certainly change by May 9th but as of right now things are looking good for Clark.
5) Things are Quiet
As of late there have been very few major missteps by the Premier and her party. In terms of politics, no news is typically good news so things are going quite well for Clark on the PR front. To make things even better, Clark appears to be getting along quite well with Trudeau which is also a positive thing given that he's in power for at least another 3 years. Yes, the Liberals did fire the entire elected Vancouver School Board in 2016 which was a negative hit for sure but it didn't seem to stick and really only hurt her in the City of Vancouver.
6) The Alberta NDP are Doing Poorly
Some may doubt that the success, or rather failure, of another provincial party would affect the BC election but let me just say that they would be very surprised. This is especially true when it comes to the Alberta NDP which has been having a really rough go trying to convince the people of Alberta that they didn't cause oil prices to plummet. Unfortunately for Premier Notley, it doesn't seem like the province is really listening as her approval rating has fallen 20% in the past 6 months alone. While this negative view of the Alberta NDP may not directly impact BC, it does give the impression that the NDP is failing Alberta. This perceived failure is bad for John Horgan and the BC NDP since they now have an automatic black mark against them for also being an NDP party despite having no part in the Alberta situation. This is good for Clark given that Horgan is really her only competition in the upcoming election.
7) Tis the Season of Political Gifts
Once every 4 years, as provinces get close to an election, ruling parties typically come out and make big changes and promise even more in order to gain some extra points with voters. As mentioned, Clark has already introduced debt free loans for new home buyers and implemented a foreign buyers tax, both of which gained her some popularity points. Even more recently the province reach a $50 million agreement to hire over 1,000 new teachers province-wide which is the equivalent of Clark receiving a gold medal in politics. Did the province want to hire the teachers? No, but they made an agreement before the election and will certainly take credit for it moving forward. Now, with a little over 100 days to go, watch for even more political gifts to be announced as Clark tries to distinguish herself as the best option for BC.
8) Global Uncertainty
Finally, we have to acknowledge the Trump factor. By this I also mean the global uncertainty that is occurring throughout the world. Yes, Trump is a major contributing factor since he's a complete wildcard and could really shake things up once in power. However, there is also uncertainty in other regions of the world such as Europe and the Middle East. We have increasing threats and attacks from ISIS, Britain exiting the EU, several ongoing civil wars, countries defaulting on loans, fluctuating oil prices, and just overall a very fluid global shit storm that may or may not get worse. With this in mind, people tend to stay the course when in uncertain times or if anything vote more conservative, both options benefiting Clark since the Liberals are quite conservative and have been in power since 2001.
Somewhat Predictable Outcome
After taking all 8 of these points into consideration and when you include other factors such as polls and overall predictors, I find it safe to say we are looking at another 4 years of Christy Clark and the BC Liberals. Could something happen in the next hundred days that changes everything? Absolutely it could! Politics is incredibly fluid, especially during an election period where anything could happen...
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