Photo: Darryl Dick/Globe and Mail

NDP Byelection Wins Bad News for Both Liberals and Conservatives; Good for NDP, Environment


The two by-elections are very bad news for the Liberals, not much better for the Tories and excellent news for the NDP.

Let’s start with the last first.
The loyal opposition is now in the position where a couple of Liberals crossing the floor can bring the government down. I don’t believe that will happen but it’s a worry for the Liberals. Mostly this confirmed Adrian Dix’s leadership. Any time you have a contested election, the losers and their supporters have a death wish for the winner – more about that in a moment. Dix is firmly in control. The NDP made a brilliant move in saying that while they oppose Enbridge and coastal tanker traffic they promise a local referendum for Kinder Morgan. One of the moves of the Campbell/Clark government was to extinguish the right of local governments to pass judgment on environmentally sensitive projects and the NDP understand that the late US Speaker, Tip O’Neill, was right when he said “all politics is local”.
For the John Cummins Conservatives this by-election was a bitter blow, for if the Tories can’t win a by-election – governments usually have trouble with them – in a staunchly “conservative” riding, what chance do they have in a general election. This hardly enhances the opportunity for a new party along the Socred lines since Cummins brings nothing to the table.

For the Liberals, these votes can’t be put down to the usual anti-government pissed off voters. Premier Clark’s leadership was on the line and the Liberals know it.

Going into the by-elections all but one caucus and cabinet minister wanted someone else. She has stumbled from one gaffe to another since she took office. She must go and soon; if she stays, it will be the best news the NDP could get. She’s like Bill Vander Zalm was in 1991 – a loser brought to his knees as much by cabinet and caucus disloyalty as personal stupidity.

When a premier is in trouble he/she must be able to rally the troops – this Ms. Clark is utterly unable to do. She must go, with a temporary leader in place pending a leadership convention, for which time is very short.

Never mind the weeping that a split vote cost them Chilliwack and a turncoat won in Port Coquitlam – the fact is that the government lost two elections which were referenda on the Liberals and their leadership.

There was another winner – big time: the environment. In Chilliwack, the Kinder-Morgan pipeline was a big issue – to my memory, the first time the Environment was a large issue there.

These by-elections did more than alter the make-up of the Legislature; they altered politics in BC – Big Time.




About Rafe Mair

Rafe Mair, LL.B, LL.D (Hon) a B.C. MLA 1975 to 1981, was Minister of Environment from late 1978 through 1979. In 1981 he left politics for Talk Radio becoming recognized as one of B.C.'s pre-eminent journalists. An avid fly fisherman, he took a special interest in Atlantic salmon farms and private power projects as environmental calamities and became a powerful voice in opposition to them. Rafe is the co-founder of The Common Sense Canadian and writes a regular blog at

6 thoughts on “NDP Byelection Wins Bad News for Both Liberals and Conservatives; Good for NDP, Environment

  1. As usual Raif, you have your finger on the public pulse.

    As a clarification; however; your alleged turncoat did not win in Port Coquitlam. He won in Port Moody-Coquitlam. Ex Port Moody Mayor Trasolini will even challenge that because he generally tried to be non-partisan.

  2. Seems Harper is just as childish as Campbell is. Both of them are full of, hate, spite, malice and so vindictive, their sanity is in question.

    When I read, Harper is a Neo-Nazi Reformer from his, Northern Foundation Party of 1989. That the skinheads had organized that party for Harper. Campbell and Harper’s personalities, all fell right into place. The control, the paranoia, threats, muzzling the press, muzzling the scientists, moving the eviro clean-up to Quebec and Halifax. No spill clean up for BC.

    Campbell thieved and sold BC assets and resources. Campbell and Harper, frantically worked to dismantle BC before Campbell got the boot. China pretty much owns BC. Our raw logs are so depleted by China. The Caribou mills are running out of wood. China owns BC mines, They are bringing their own people to work their mines. I’m thinking, Christy’s imported workers, will be mostly Chinese.

    China is buying up the tar sands, their own people will take the jobs. China is building the Enbridge pipeline, with their own people.

    Fadden of CSIS warned, of China’s huge inroads into Canada. He is exactly right. He specifically named BC.

  3. Rafe the victor in Chiliwack-Hope was not the environment – it was nimbyism. The greater the push back against the TMPL expansion the more likely Northern Gateway will be pushed through. The very thought of Northern Gateway being driven through virgin forest and tankered through the Hecate Straight fills me with fear and loathing, while frankly the thought of expanding TMPL’s existing system concerns me considerably less. What does worry me is fact that all the voters live in the Lower mainland and very few live in the rainforest. Go figure.

  4. I can see that Ms. C. Clark should perhaps resign. The scenario that worries me is that, if she leaves and they put in a new leader, the Liberals will shout to the roof tops, “Look, we have new leadership. Good person in charge now”. The public will buy into this. There will be an election under the new banner, and the Liberals will go into office for four more years.
    Perhaps, part of the reason that we get bad governments, is that we have a ‘vision-challenged electorate’.

  5. Your’re dead on Raif. Crusty is done like toast. Too bad it may be sooner rather than later. I want to see the people of BC turf her out not the back room boys. I sincerely hope the NDP tide wipes out the LIARS we have in Victoria now.

    I know we can’t count on the MSM so we have to turn to the internet for the truth, keep up the good work Raif.

  6. Leaves one to wonder if the timing of the announcement of the proposed Kinder/Morgan pipeline expansion had some malice aforethought.

    Perhaps the corporate long knives are at the ready.

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