It was a political gamble during the pandemic that paid off big for the B.C. NDP.
That’s because they are expected to form a majority government based on preliminary results from Election BC, which shows the party is expected to take 55 of the province’s 87 ridings.
If that holds, the NDP would gain 14 seats while the B.C. Liberals would get 29 seats and the B.C. Green Party would end up with three seats.
Just one day after the election, party leader and premier John Horgan said he wants all parties to work together and work towards bridging the urban-rural divide that was seen in the polls.
“Now that we are in a place the election is behind us, I want to continue to build relationships with other political leaders in the legislature . . . and get back to that place seven months ago where we were focused on helping all British Columbians,” he said.
Yesterday’s results were a crushing defeat for the B.C. Liberals, who dropped dropping from 43 seats to just 29, although they believe that could change.
“With almost half a million mail-in ballots, we don’t know what the final seat count will be,” said Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson.
Approximately 750,000 mail-in ballots were requested and Elections BC is not expected to announce the final results until mid-November as it still has to count all those ballots.
Experts say even though the results from the mail-in ballots could flip a few close ridings, overall the NDP majority should stay the same.
“I think the ballots will probably follow the same trend lines we been seeing or may be scurrying slightly more to the NDP,” said Daniel Reeves, political science instructor at Camosun College. “I don’t know if it changes any of the ridings. There are a couple with a couple hundred seat margins, those are the ones to watch.”
Many political scientists also believe Wilkinson’s days as Liberal party leader are numbered as the party lost traditionally supportive ridings in Chilliwack, Langley and on the North Shore.
Reeves said getting less than 30 seats is not the outcome the party wanted.
“Less than thirty is not good,” he said. “They lost a number of seats that are not competitive this was their Stéphane Dion moment, that Wilkinson had the resume to be leader, but not the magical connectivity to be leader.”
For the Green Party, the emotions are mixed.
Winning three seats they get to keep their official party status, but the power they had before under their agreement with the NDP is likely gone.
However, party leader Sonia Furstenau vowed to keep fighting.
“The world needs to solve the climate crisis, I promise we will work every day to advance the agenda and hold the NDP accountable for the promises they have made,” she said.