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Canada B.C. typically forsakes Liberals. Monday they gave them one of their few victories

16:46  21 september  2021
16:46  21 september  2021 Source:   nationalpost.com

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Jagmeet Singh standing posing for the camera: Canada's New Democratic Party (NDP) leader Jagmeet Singh and his wife Gurkiran Kaur Sidhu, arrive to deliver remarks on election night in Vancouver, British Columbia, Sept. 20, 2021. © Provided by National Post Canada's New Democratic Party (NDP) leader Jagmeet Singh and his wife Gurkiran Kaur Sidhu, arrive to deliver remarks on election night in Vancouver, British Columbia, Sept. 20, 2021.

It’s become a Canadian tradition that federal elections are decided while British Columbians are still in line to vote, and Election 44 was no exception.

By 10 p.m. ET, with lines still snaking outside voting places from Kamloops to Nanaimo, it became eminently clear that B.C.’s 42 seats would not be key to any party’s standing in the House of Commons.

Nevertheless, while surveying disappointing results virtually everywhere else, the Liberals could take heart that in B.C. they scored one of their best showings in living memory. Excepting 2015, the 14 B.C. MPs won by the Liberals on Monday is the best the part has done in the province since 1968.

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It was a strange end to an Election 44 that had looked categorically different in B.C. than it did in any other part of the country.

As most of Canada observed a pitched battle between Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau and Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole, B.C. was plunged into a legitimate three-way race between the three major parties. And in the end, it delivered the most divided results of any other province: 14 for the Liberals, 14 for the NDP (including the home riding of NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh) and 13 for the Conservatives, at press time. The Greens took just one.

It was a race that Trudeau was poised to win outright at the outset of Election 44, but by Election Day the province had become the only place in Canada where NDPer, Tory and Liberal all legitimately stood to gain a plurality of the province’s seats. Polls of the popular vote, meanwhile, had each party claiming a neat 30 per cent each.

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But in the end, it was the Liberals who emerged as the most obvious victor. Liberal support may be consolidated exclusively in the ridings that are within driving distance of Downtown Vancouver, but Trudeau is going to the 44th parliament with a B.C. caucus as big as anyone else’s.

This is despite the fact that B.C. was a place where many of the key national issues of Election 44 failed to resonate.

Liberal attempts to gin up the issues of gun control and abortion barely registered in the Pacific time zone.

a group of people standing in front of a crowd:  Conservative party leader Erin O’Toole acknowledges supporters with his family during the election night party, in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada, September 21, 2021. © REUTERS/Mark Blinch Conservative party leader Erin O’Toole acknowledges supporters with his family during the election night party, in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada, September 21, 2021.

At the same time, election pledges on COVID-19 didn’t quite carry the same emotional resonance. B.C. has largely dodged the COVID carnage seen in Central Canada, and it’s now one of the least impacted by lockdowns. On Election Day, the average British Columbian needs only a single dose of vaccine to dine indoors at restaurants with no capacity limits.

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Although Indigenous Reconciliation quickly dropped out of the headlines as soon as an election was called, it was in B.C. that Canada’s national moment over residential schools was sparked during the summer.

It was in Kamloops that a ground-penetrating radar survey in May found 215 unmarked graves believed to belong to children who died at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School. Similar discoveries soon followed in Penelakut Island, B.C. and Cranbrook, B.C.

More than any region in Election 44, British Columbians disproportionately told pollsters that their chief election issue was cost of living. A Leger poll conducted on the eve of Election Day identified it as the single most pressing issue among B.C. voters, and it was one that was supposed to cost the Liberals votes.

British Columbia has Canada’s highest gas prices and a housing market that is cartoonishly expensive virtually everywhere. Even in Kelowna — B.C.’s largest municipality outside the Lower Mainland — home prices have surged 27 per cent in just the last five years. In Vancouver, owning an average home requires a minimum household income of $250,000 .

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The NDP and the Conservatives quickly emerged as the parties best-positioned on affordability issues, and the Liberals faced the incumbent disadvantage of having overseen a noticeable worsening of every affordability issue they had pledged to fix upon first taking government. One of B.C.’s most prominent Election 44 candidate scandals involved Taleeb Noormohamed, a Vancouver-area Liberal candidate found to have flipped 21 homes since 2005 – a practice that Trudeau had made it a 2021 campaign pledge to punish severely.

Noormohamed’s riding, by the way, is Vancouver-Granville the one previously held by Jody Wilson-Raybould, the former Liberal Minister of Justice fired by Trudeau for refusing to quash charges against SNC Lavalin. She won it in 2019 as an independent, and while she’s not running in 2021, Wilson-Raybould’s tell-all book slamming Trudeau came out only last week.

But all of these complicating factors may have been rendered moot by the fact that it was the Liberals who could best capitalize on the wholesale collapse of the Green Party. While former Green Party leader Elizabeth May regained her seat in Saanich-Gulf Islands, Green incumbent Paul Manly was bumped to third place in his riding of Nanaimo-Ladysmith. In some B.C. ridings, the Greens were not even able to field candidates.

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Andrew Weaver, the former leader of the B.C. Green Party, endorsed Trudeau, praising their climate change plan as being the most ambitious of the major parties .

Canada’s westernmost province has long been skeptical of the Liberal Party. Even in the Liberal landslide of 2015, only 17 of the province’s 42 seats went red (14, by comparison, went to the NDP). After the 2019 election, the Liberals’ entire B.C. caucus was reduced to 11 MPs clustered around Metro Vancouver.

a group of people standing in front of a crowd:  Canadian Prime Minister and Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau (2R) arrives with his family to cast his vote in the 2021 Canadian election in Montreal, Quebec on September 20, 2021. © Provided by National Post Canadian Prime Minister and Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau (2R) arrives with his family to cast his vote in the 2021 Canadian election in Montreal, Quebec on September 20, 2021.

It’s a province where progressives usually default to the NDP, and where ridings often flip from blue to orange with red in a distant third place. In South Okanagan-West Kootenay, for instance, Monday night saw the NDP hold the riding against a Conservative opponent who won 35 per cent of the vote, and a Liberal who could claim only 13 per cent.

Early polls in Election 44 had the Liberals riding a tide of late pandemic euphoria to capture 20 B.C. seats; an outcome that would have seen the Liberals break out of their Vancouver strongholds and begin to paint rural areas red for one of the first times in living memory.

But B.C. would turn out to be particularly resentful of an election called while skies were still choked with wildfire smoke and the tourist sector remained crippled by a closed border, and within two weeks the Liberals were forced to climb their way back from third place.

Tying the NDP’s seat count would be a disaster in any Central Canadian province, but in B.C. it turned out to be one of the Liberals’ only regional victories Monday night – a victory perhaps sweetened by the notion that if Election Day had come three weeks earlier it could have been much, much worse.

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Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck are currently working on plans to spend Christmas together.

usr: 0
This is interesting!