By Lauren Kelly, Editor-in-Chief
We’re coming up on the BC political election, and it’s been quite aggressive. It honestly reminds me a bit of the federal election where most of us only had the goal of ousting Stephen Harper, as much of BC seems to be working to throw Christy Clark out of office. Her main rival for the position is John Horgan, head of the NDP, but Andrew Weaver of the Green Party has been making his way into the limelight as well.
A few televised debates have taken place now, and Clark and Horgan did not come out looking great. Clark, while a strong orator, stuck hard to the party line of “jobs jobs jobs,” which many voters are growing tired of in a Metro area plagued by poor affordability and health care. Horgan came down hard on his opponents, particularly Clark, resulting in cries of misogyny and mansplaining. However, Weaver brought a lot of positive attention to his party. He was the most respectful but still firm in calling both his opponents’ policies, which gained him respect with viewers. In a post-debate favourability poll by the Vancouver Sun, Weaver was the only candidate who cracked 50 per cent favourable, as Horgan received 37 per cent, and Clark received 34 per cent.
There has been plenty of mud-slinging through attack ads this election as well. Although the Greens have largely stayed out, the other two, as well as various federations, have come in full swing. I haven’t fact checked all of them, but some of the anti-NDP ads from the Liberal Party don’t hold water, particularly the one about the United Steelworkers union. Sure, the United Steelworkers donated $672,000 to the NDP last year, but not all at once as implied by the ad—it was many small donations. Additionally, the United Steelworks aren’t an “American Union,” they’re a North American one, representing workers in Canada, the US, and the Caribbean. Lastly, the union president Leo Gerard, who they show meeting and standing with Donald Trump as a sign that he is a no good very bad person, was there because Trump was starting a steel investigation and invited various industry professionals. It may not be a total lie, but it is incredibly deceptive in its word choice.
I’m not sure whether the smart thing is to vote strategically or to vote for who you truly want to lead the province and hope for the best. Even with the NDP leading the polls in many areas, I’m still uncertain what to expect come election night. It’s hard to know whether the Greens actually have a shot, or if people will rally behind the NDP like they did with Trudeau’s Liberal party to ensure Clark’s dethronement. I do think Weaver did his party a large favour with his composure at the debates, and the Green Party’s refusal to accept donations will help ingratiate them even more, although it limits their funds and thus their exposure. To me, worst case is that they split the vote and the Liberals come back into power, and that’s still very much a real possibility.
Whatever you do, make sure you research whether attack ads from any party are true if they’re swaying your opinion. The only thing more important than being well-informed is voting. And remember—advanced voting is already open, so if for some reason you can’t make it to polling stations May 9, you have plenty of time to do so beforehand.