Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Can the Green Party Win a Seat in the Election?

The Green Party needs to win a seat in this election to move from being background noise to having a centre stage seat in provincial politics, but is there any seat that the Greens can win in BC? There are only a handful where I can see the Greens having even a slim hope of winning and even then it would take something dramatic that I can not predict.

West Vancouver Sea to Sky Country
Joan McIntyre had a strong win for the BC Liberals here in 2005. The riding has been comfortably Liberal since 1991.

The Greens have placed a distant second here twice in a row without spending anywhere close to what they are allowed to spend. The NDP is not a factor in this riding.

For the Greens to win, they need to harness the anti-run of the river mood in the riding. The strong growth in population in Squamish to Pemberton corridor together with the reduction of the amount of West Vancouver in the riding changes the focus of the riding. The change in the boundaries has brought the Greens closer to the Liberals than before, though still very far back.

Powell River Sunshine Coast
The Greens put a lot of energy into this riding in 2005 in an attempt to get Adriane Carr elected. They placed third behind the Liberals, though this is the closest they came to winning in BC in 2001 and 2005.

In 2001 the Greens almost came second in the riding, but they had no growth in their vote between 2001 and 2005, in fact they had a small shrinkage.

I can not see a scenario in which the Greens can win this riding. Given the fact that they do not yet have a candidate nominated, it is late in the day to get serious about winning.

Saanich North and the Islands
Andrew Lewis ran here for the Greens in 2001 and did well. Ken Roleau did not do nearly as well in 2005. Tom Bradfield is running for the Greens, I like him and know him from our joint involvement in 3rd Douglas Scouts.

Federally this has been a strong area for the Greens in the 2004 election, but their support has been falling off since then. They are not close enough to be a factor.

Nelson Creston
In 1996 and 2001 the Greens scored well here, but their vote dropped a lot in 2005. Federally this was traditionally a stronger area for them even when the national party was barely alive, but they have not kept up their growth when compared to the rest of the country. Also no candidate nominated yet.

On the positive side for the Greens is that Corky Evans is not running. Corky has a strong personal following that may not vote for Michelle Mungall.

Esquimalt Royal Roads

The only reason this riding is on the list is because Green Party leader Jane Sterk is running here.

I put her on here because I have seen her campaign and she is much better than most Greens I have seen. She also has one major experience that almost no Greens have, she has run in an election and won. She managed to top the polls for the Esquimalt Town Council in 2005. She should not have been able to do that but did it because of her skills.

She is the first leader of the BC Green Party that understands that the party is lacking in a lot of things to win and is working to address these issues. She is not hoping for a Gordon Wilson moment. She is taking advice from a lot of people.

She also benefits from the fact that the BC Liberals do not think they can win here. In 2005 they put a lot of effort into winning here but did not come close. Another benefit is that the NDP MLA has been one of the weakest MLAs for the NDP in the last four years.

The riding gains Vic West, which had a high NDP vote last time because the people were voting for Carole James.

Can she win? Only if she has several hundred volunteers on the ground, runs a full get out the vote campaign and can spend the limit of what is allowed. She may benefit if the NDP is clearly trailing the Liberals provincially and it looks like another Liberal government. People may be willing to take a risk on electing the Green party leader.

In general for the Greens to win anyone of these, they need to be agressive and very visible in the election. They need to push the NDP and Liberals to worry enough about them to start getting significant attacks directed against them. What I have seen of the Greens lately does not indicate this is going to be happening.
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