Election reversal no reason to panic

Well, the sky hasn’t fallen yet.

It’s been a week since the short-lived minority government of Christy Clark’s Liberal Party was overthrown by a no-confidence vote by the combined forces of the New Democrats and Green Party, but there is little outward sign that the ascension of the NDP to power has changed anything in the day-to-day lives of B.C. residents.

There are, of course, a handful of Chicken Littles railing that trusting the fate of the province to the tender mercies of John Horgan’s leftist tribe will spell the end of civilization as we know it. On the other side are a handful of NDP partisans gloating that Clark has finally got her come-uppance after ignoring the “will of the people” in the May 9 election.

But whatever the talk around kitchen tables and water coolers, the majority of the province’s residents appear resigned to wait and see what will unfold when Horgan finally calls the legislature back late this summer, officially ending a 16-year run in power by the Liberals.

They may simply be breathing a sigh of relief that the June 29 no-confidence vote didn’t trigger a snap election.

In any case, two people most impacted by the developments in the wake of last week’s Throne Speech are MLAs Michelle Stilwell and Scott Fraser, who collectively represent the population in our circulation area. Stilwell, the Parksville-Qualicum MLA who had been returned to her cabinet minister post under Clark’s interim government, obviously loses that position, along with a spot in government she’s held since first being elected in 2013.

Fraser, whose sprawling Mid Island-Alberni riding encompasses Coombs, Errington, Deep Bay, Bowser and Qualicum Bay, has served 12 years in opposition. Now he is not only in government, but holds the title of NDP whip.

There is some indication the sudden role-reversal may not actually signal a dramatic change in the fortunes of Vancouver Islanders in the coming years — or months? — under NDP/Green rule.

For one thing, in her own Throne Speech, Clark seemed to concede the recent election signaled a shift in the preference of B.C. voters. While the election realistically was a draw, it did dismantle what had been a solid Liberal majority and prompted her to forward several promises to fulfill planks that seemed to be pried from the NDP platform.

Yes, there are legitimate questions about what NDP governance will look like. But with Vancouver Island a critical stronghold for Horgan’s tenuous grasp of power, there is reason to be hopeful the sky will stay right where it is. — Parksville Qualicum Beach News

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