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

Lumberjacks in Love on the cutting edge of woodsman theatrics

Navigate your way through the wilderness with some wild antics and well-crafted tunes

Ladysmith doctor rushed to help Hurricane Dorian victims days after his retirement

Potts was asked by Samaritan’s Purse to help at a field hospital in Freeport

Map on Elections Canada site sends voters to Cedar landfill

Address for polling station correct, but Google Map address differs

Ladysmith breaks 22 year Tour de Rock fundraising record

Ladysmith’s rider Cassie Loveless said she was blown away by the community support

VIDEO: Langley woman’s security camera records its own theft

Langley family discovers early morning grab was recorded

Canadian Snowbirds plane crashes before air show in Atlanta

Pilot lands safely after ejecting from jet

Share crash data, private insurers tell David Eby, ICBC

B.C. monopoly makes drivers retrieve their own records

B.C. VIEWS: Wolf kill, not backcountry bans, saving caribou

B.C.’s largest herds turn the corner from extinction

Pearson nets shootout winner as Canucks clip Flyers 3-2

Vancouver picks up second straight home win

BC Children’s Hospital launches 2 new virtual care sites bringing total to 19 across province

Provincial initiative allows pediatric patients to see health specialists through video

‘Wham-bam out the door’: Surrey man’s front yard left ruined by scamming landscaper

Resident warns neighbours to be careful of door-to-door salesmen

PHOTOS: Kipchoge becomes first runner to dip under 2 hours for marathon

Olympic champion and world record holder from Kenya clocks 1 hour, 59 minutes and 40 seconds

Most Read