Voters in British Columbia go to the polls on Saturday in a snap election that has seen the Greens singing the praises of minority governments, the NDP asking for the stability of a majority and the BC Liberals accusing the New Democrats of playing politics with COVID-19.
NDP Leader John Horgan’s decision to call an election, more than a year ahead of schedule and during a pandemic, became a campaign issue right from the start.
Horgan says he pulled the plug on his minority government because he is seeking the certainty of a majority during uncertain times, but he spent much of the campaign fending off accusations of political opportunism.
The Greens accuse Horgan of breaking a governing agreement in place since 2017, with leader Sonia Furstenau saying the legislature had been showing an unusual level of co-operation during the pandemic.
BC Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson accused Horgan of withholding pandemic relief dollars for struggling businesses in order to bolster his chest of election goodies.
The pandemic meant the election also had a different look as politicians campaigned remotely with virtual town halls and Zoom calls, while elbow bumps replaced handshakes on the campaign trail.
Earlier this week, the Angus Reid Institute released its latest survey in regards to the BC election. At the time of its release, the NDP (45 per cent) still held a double-digit lead over the BC Liberals (35 per cent), however, the gap between the two parties had shrunk since previous polls.
Voting stations are set to open at 8 a.m. on October 24 and will close at 8 p.m. Anyone with mail-in ballots is being asked to drop the packages off in person at this point in time.
Elections BC officials are also expecting the results to be delayed by as much as two weeks due to the high volume of mail-in ballots.
With files to Canadian Press.