Political world of British Columbia is in one of the most interesting periods in recent history. Huge political shift which is expected to happen following next month elections will certainly decide our future and lives of many. Shift from BC Liberals to BC NDP as it is expected will be costly and very challenging change for over 4 million people residing here, and those who will either arrive or will be born here. Of course our main attention is focused on leaders of both parties, who’ll have the ultimate responsibility in decision making process whoever wins May elections. On one side is Adrian Dix who went from back room operative through assistant to one of BC Premiers to the leader of the Opposition. Around the province known as public transit user, down to Earth neighbourhood politician who’s often seen walking around, getting cheap haircut and helping neighbouring students to reach better results. His major opponent is Christy Clark, once Deputy Premier, minister, mayoral candidate, talk-show host and currently single parent very proud of her son Hamish. Currently her main problems are supposed connections with numerous scandals ranging from BC Rail, BC Place name rights, WIDC in Kamloops ending with latest related to Quick Wins ethnic vote scandal. They’re not alone third strong player in this race is Mayor of Surrey, powerful political maverick, Dianne Watts but few words about her later.
Dix and conveyer belt promises
Two exceptional BC journalists Jonathan Fowlie of the Vancouver Sun and Gary Mason of The Globe and Mail published in-depth articles focused on BC political leaders on their road to the top office. These will help a lot to BC voters to understand leaders and their offers during this campaign, but the key problem is what they’re really offering to voters. While Clark presented her platform last week, which come just a few hours after she addressed voters through 30 minute infomercial.
Majority of the media are in good relations with Dix, but not all. As we saw that last week some journalists are not ready to take Dix’s promises and empty words for granted. CTV’s Rob Brown showed to Dix this week that some journalists will hunt him and ask him though questions. Dix was unable to answer those and it looks like he’s following old rule of all left-wing parties “we’re gonna promise now, and will explain later how will deliver that”.
He’s sending out promises like on conveyer belt promising hundreds of millions of dollars and public so far believes that Dix and his government will deliver that. BC NDP is anywhere between 17 and 20 per cent ahead of BC Liberals. Promise coming from Dix is that this province will be run on deficit. That’s exactly what we saw in Europe, Spain, Greece, Portugal, Slovenia and others are in deep deficits, unemployment is on the rise, economies on their knees and recovery is still far away.
Clark – scandals, failed promises, career battle
Clark who’s leading BC government over the last two years also didn’t delivered many of her promises and will be judge over that. Her major failures are coming from promises to improve lives of BC families and to protect children, continuing weak fight against child poverty without proper resolution. Beside that numbers in open jobs over the last years are often disputed, questioned and criticized. Thousands of jobs were lost, small numbers were open or are still being considered open.
BC Liberals leader is not much better than Dix when it comes to promises because week or so prior to the official start of campaign her government promised more than $700 million in just 8 days. Many of Clark promises are based on “balanced budget” which could be delivered in 2016-17 if all predictions come to truth without any surprises or big fluctuations on domestic or foreign markets over the next few years. So her promises will be in grave danger if any of these elements fail to deliver or turn from positive to negative due to reasons not related to BC political scene.
For her also major key element will be will of people to support government in which many ministers are in close relations with many scandals, lately Pat Bell and Shirley Bond with WIDC Kamloops project controversy.
For her these elections are the final battle in her political career. Over the last 12 years she went from Deputy Premier, home staying mom, to mayoral candidate, talk show host and finally arrived to the top BC political position. If she doesn’t win this elections just days after the May elections she’s gonna be forced to resign and bow out from the world of provincial politics, while her colleagues chose her successor and the new leader of the party.
Watts to hold Dix-Clark duo in check
This very interesting person in this race is Surrey, BC Mayor Dianne Watts who’s present in media campaign coverage almost a same as Dix and Clark. Mayor Watts is highly frustrated with Clark’s promises to organize referendum on Translink and many other issues targeting one of the fastest growing communities in the province. She boldly expressed her frustration to Alex G. Tsakumis last week when she said:
“Look, if she (Christy) wants to do that (a plebiscite) then what about the tolls on the Golden Ears and Port Mann??? They should come off, right? And who in their right mind wants to pay for transit south of the Fraser when he or she lives anywhere else? And not even one consultation with any of us (mayors). This isn’t political for me at all, it’s about what’s fair and what makes sense for the province as a whole–the tools were available to her and her government and she ignored them; they had an obligation to discuss this and essentially thumbed us all in the eye. It’s unbelievable. She’s basically pissed off every mayor in the province in the middle of the election. No one can agree with it, it’s just ridiculous. But, hey, it’s election time…”
Knowing Mayor Watts and her political strength, popularity and eternal speculation of her possible run for the provincial position, I’m inclined to upgrade this race in three way race. This is race between Adrian Dix, Christy Clark and Dianne Watts deciding future of the largest metropolitan area in Lower Mainland and the province of British Columbia. It will be interesting to see who’s gonna be a winner, and who’s words will play larger role in the final decision on May 14th. Mayor Watts also knows that next year is election year in Surrey. Early campaigning will only benefit her and her team in promoting new ideas, plans and goals, while Clark and Dix will need to answer additional questions to powerful local leader.