It really is time for a change – no matter what happened in the election
We now have a return to the status quo ante in BC – a majority Liberal government that cannot be stopped, slowed down, or modified in its pursuit of a public policy agenda that is a “carbon” copy (and I use the phrase advisedly) of the Stephen Harper approach to governance.
The difference between the two parties, in terms of popular vote, was small – less than 5% (44.4% for the Liberals, 39.49% for the NDP). But with our deeply flawed, irrational and outmoded electoral system, where balance and diversity is sacrificed to one-size-fits-all, that small margin meant a huge difference in seats won. It meant 50 seats for the Liberals, and 33 for the NDP (59% vs 39%).
In addition, the turnout for the election was poor. Only 52% of eligible voters in BC actually went to the polls and voted this time round.
In a fascinating turn of events, the youth of BC, for the first time in a very long time, voted differently from their parents, and voted for a change in government -- not necessarily because they preferred the NDP, but because they preferred to not be faced with the same government again.
Things started to change one week after the writ was dropped on April 16th, and the election campaign officially began. As this Wikipedia graph shows (below), the Liberal campaign had clearly been poised at the starting gate, ready to pounce aggressively on the NDP front-runners, who had been touted to win for months and months.
Aided by large financial backing from a group of rich Alberta businesspeople, heavily invested in development of the Oil (Tar) Sands and natural gas “fracking” and other resource extraction, as well as the support of Stephen Harper’s Ottawa team, the PR process swung into action, raising the old fears of “socialism” destroying jobs, and resolutely refusing to acknowledge the long-term implications of global climate change.
And it “worked” – meaning, in partisan political terms, that the Liberals won this remarkably irrelevant election
A highly authoritative study on natural gas extraction – the kind of scientific research Stephen Harper won’t allow anymore in Canada – was published in January in the prestigious scientific journal Nature. It showed that the sole basis of the Liberal policy for jobs and prosperity, coupled with a soupcon of environmental protection, is deeply flawed.
Christy Clark is resting the entire economic future of BC on natural gas extraction in north-eastern BC. She campaigned aggressively on this one single point, and knocked the opposition for being hesitant about this industry.
This study showed that opponents of this policy were right.
The “clean” image of natural gas is utterly false.
Leakage of climate-changing methane gas from the extraction process is now known to be radically higher – 4% to 9% or even more – than previous industry estimates of 0.5%.
Natural gas will be just about the same as the dirtiest of fossil fuels – coal.
To quote from a review of the Nature study: “Setting aside methane leaks for a moment, fracking, processing and pumping natural gas over long distances consumes large amounts of energy. LNG facilities are also highly energy intensive. One LNG facility would emit 2 Mt of CO2e from burning natural gas to power the operation….For all these reasons LNG exports would not contribute to lower global carbon emissions even if they replaced coal as an energy source”
Christy Clark’s basis for economic recovery is about as short-term and meaningless as giving a thimble full of Koolaid to a parched wanderer in the desert.
No wonder BC’s youth, who will have to live with the consequences of decision-making today, voted to not let this happen. Their future is on the line – and thanks to the current election results, that future don’t look pretty.
But that’s not all.
The relentless support of broad corporate priorities under the Liberal government is also set to continue. Here are some other consequences of the election’s outcome.