By-elections won by NDP show voter anger

Vote-splitting called a small factor at best in New Democrat wins

Talk about vote-splitting on the right being responsible for the double win by the NDP in Thursday’s by-elections doesn’t hold water with Scott Fraser.

Rather, the Alberni-Pacific Rim MLA said the wins in Port Moody-Coquitlam and Chilliwack- Hope stand as a strong indication that voters are fed up with the governing Liberals and are willing to give the NDP a turn at the provincial helm.

“These were very significant wins. These are ridings that have never gone to the New Democrats before and I think they reflect a general trend in the province that the Liberals’ time is past.”

Fraser said Chilliwack-Hope candidate Gwen O’Mahony carried nearly 42 per cent of the vote.

“Forty-two per cent is a win. The pundits said she would only get 36 per cent at most, and it would require a total vote split in order for that to happen, but she got 42 per cent and there are very few ridings in the province where that wouldn’t be a win.”

Fraser said the political landscape has changed in B.C. and Wednesday’s by-elections were a clear indication of this.

Liberal MLA Ron Cantelon agreed with Fraser that vote splitting alone cannot be blamed for the two opposition wins. Rather than the number of votes that went Conservative, he said what was alarming was the number of votes  that went to the NDP.

“Vote splitting was a minor factor,” he said. “They took 54 per cent in Port Moody. How many seats is that type of result going to win? Quite a few. If that happens again in the general election, we have a real problem.”

Cantelon said the double loss is a message from the voters, one he hears loud and clear.

“It’s a clear signal that we need to do some work before the next election,” he said. “There’s no doubt about that. The working person in British Columbia feels they have been hurt by this recession and feel they have been left behind by the recovery. People are having a tough time getting by.”




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