Parksville-Qualicum has firmly re-elected the incumbent, B.C. Liberal Michelle Stilwell, but, this time around, it’s far more likely that the policies of the trailing parties could have an effect here and across the province.
With the B.C. Liberals and the B.C. NDP projected to secure 43 and 41 seats in legislature, respectively, and the B.C. Green Party securing three seats pending the final election count starting May 22, which party (or parties) will form a majority government is still up in the air.
Provided recounts and the full tally of votes doesn’t change the current seat distribution too much, the Green Party could form a majority government with either party.
So, when the NEWS spoke with Parksville-Qualicum NDP and Green candidates Sue Powell and Glenn Sollitt about what parts of their platform they hope Stilwell and the Liberals might take a better look at, their hopes mean more this year than others.
“The two things we need is proportional representation and banning corporate and union donations to political parties,” said Sollitt. “We need those two things to happen to fix our government. And I think those are long shots. But that’s what I want (the government) to do.”
Green Party leader Andrew Weaver told CBC News in the week leading up to the election that the question of corporate and union donations is “a deal breaker” in forming a majority government with the Liberals or NDP.
The B.C. Green Party chose not to take corporate and union donations this election, and Sollitt has been outspoken on the subject.
Speaking at her election day party at the Quality Resort Bayside in Parksville, Powell said she hoped Stilwell would work to raise income assistance rates, and “reverse some of the draconian policies that her ministry has towards people who are low-income, homeless people, seniors living on fixed incomes… there is a whole bunch of things that I brought forward in my campaign that I hope she pays attention to, because people are really unhappy about them.”
Powell said she felt her campaign had helped to bring poverty, homelessness, senior care and healthcare to the forefront. “I don’t think the Liberals will be able to walk away from this, and I think that if we’ve accomplished that, we’ve accomplished so much,” she said.