Joined: 02 Mar 2009
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Posted: Tue May 12, 2009 11:20 am Post subject: British Columbians go to the polls today
British Columbians go to the polls today
By THE CANADIAN PRESS
Liberal leader Gordon Campbell addresses a crowd during a campaign stop. British Columbians go to the polls today. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
VANCOUVER, B.C. - Premier Gordon Campbell started off the May 12 election campaign telling British Columbians they were facing the most important decision of a generation.
New Democrat Leader Carole James urged British Columbians to take back the province after what she says is eight years of arrogant and out-of-touch decisions by the Campbell Liberals.
British Columbians were immediately given a clear choice between the two major parties.
The Liberals seized upon the economy, saying their proven record of success earned them the right to guide British Columbia through the rough economic rough water facing the province and Canada.
The New Democrats simply said eight years is enough.
The Campbell Liberals had eight years and still couldn't find time to raise the minimum wage, fight child poverty or make life easier for senior citizens - and now unemployment numbers are rising, the NDP argued.
But what about those Canucks? The Stanley Cup playoff run by the Vancouver Canucks became one of the most dominant discussion topics during the campaign as British Columbians followed the hockey team en masse.
James and Campbell were forced to become hockey analysts.
The first question Campbell took after introducing the Liberal election platform was from a reporter wondering what he thought of the previous night's Canucks game.
The election itself generated far less passion with voters, but it had its moments.
The biggest was the resignation from cabinet of John van Dongen after he revealed he lost his driver's licence for too many speeding tickets. As solicitor general and public safety minister van Dongen was the province's top traffic cop and he lead several government safe-driving campaigns.
Van Dongen did not resign his seat in the Fraser Valley and is likely to be returned to the legislature.
Rookie Vancouver New Democrat candidate did quit after photos on Facebook showing him with his hand on a woman's breast - she was wearing a shirt - became public.
The messy divorce of Vancouver Island New Democrat Doug Routley became public, including confirmation a special prosecutor was appointed to investigate allegations of spousal abuse, but charges did not result.
Kootenay Liberal Bill Bennett was accused of offending aboriginals for placing an ad saying voters support people who pay taxes and Liberal candidate Marc Dalton apologized for a homophobic email he sent years ago.
Polls published during the election revealed wide gaps in results.
Some polls had the Liberals with a nine-point lead over the NDP at the mid-point of the campaign, while others found the two parties in a tight horserace in the final days.
An online Harris-Decima survey for The Canadian Press found that 28 per cent of voters were undecided with one week left in the campaign.
But every poll found that the economy was the top issue on the minds of voters.
The economy issue was a major weapon for the Liberals who portrayed themselves as sound managers with a record of success.
Campbell consistently reminded voters that during the 1990s when the NDP was government, British Columbia had the worst economy in Canada. Campbell also said James and her candidates have little or no personal business experience.
James said the Liberals had eight years of good times to help British Columbians, and did little except help themselves, giving top-level bureaucrats huge pay hikes while abandoning forest workers.
James's campaign caught fire after the televised leaders debate where she posed questions to Campbell.
He was criticized for making what some concluded was a patronizing remark when he responded to one of her questions by saying fighting crime was a big job and tough to get a handle on.
As the campaign wound down, Campbell expressed confidence about being returned to a third term provided Liberals show up to vote.
James was running a marathon in the last days, hoping the soft Green voters she may have alienated with her promise to drop the carbon tax would end up voting NDP.
I don't know much about BC politics, but i'm thinking a BC Liberals win is good news for the CPC federally, at least in BC. But then again, I'm not an expert.
For years, people have been parroting the urban legend that Gordon Campbell's Liberal Party of BC is fiscally conservative and therefore "Red Tory" friendly. I don't know why people keep insisting such is the case.
During the last cycle of provincial public service union negotiations, in addition to an above-inflation raise, the Liberals offered "signing bonuses" worth millions of taxpayer dollars.
Last year, the Liberals introduced a carbon tax on fuel. They didn't even try to pretend it would be revenue neutral or anything like that. It was (and is) simply a tax grab.
As far as I can tell, the only reason people persist in believing this urban legend is they can't stand to vote NDP and they want to sleep at night after voting Liberal.
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