Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Too Early for Counting Chickens


There's still a possibility that Christy Clark may emerge from yesterday's election with a razor-thin majority. As things stand now she's looking at a minority with the NDP rebounding to within one seat of the Liberals.

Those inclined to revere Canada's most corrupt provincial government have declared it a win for Clark and her right wing Liberals. Yet only Christy Clark lost ground yesterday. In 2013 she trounced the hapless Adrian Dix, the Libs taking 49 seats to the NDP's 34. She fared much worse last night, her Libs losing ground to both the NDP and the Greens. The majority the B.C. Libs enjoyed since 2001 may have slipped through Crusty's fingers.

It's wait and see time. With the election this close every seat matters and there'll be a number of recounts mainly in ridings the NDP won by narrow margins.

There was plenty of blood spilled in this election. The NDP, eager to siphon off or discourage Green support, were pretty brutal with the Greens and their leader. I doubt there's much love lost between Horgan and Weaver but that's on Horgan.

If we are lucky and do wind up with a minority or coalition government I hope Weaver can extract the maximum advantage from the Green's balance of power position.

I voted Green because I believe they're the party of the future. They own the issue of climate change and that is only going to grow in its presence over the next decade. The B.C. Libs are inveterate fossil fuelers. The NDP is the party of "axe the tax" and not to be trusted.

The Green Party membership is well to the left of both Andrew Weaver and Elizabeth May. The membership still backs BDS among other things. The rank and file see the left/right divide clearly enough. They're just not ideologically aligned that closely with the NDP and there's nothing wrong with that.

UPDATE

From the National Observer, an article dispelling the myth that Green votes helped the B.C. Liberals.


 The Greens doubled their popular vote from eight per cent in 2013 to 16 per cent Tuesday, said Kathryn Harrison of UBC. Her riding-by-riding look at the shift indicates it hurt the Liberals more often than the NDP.

The Liberals took 40.9 per cent of the popular vote compared to the NDP's 39.9 per cent.

“There were three cases where the Greens seems to have directly or indirectly hurt the NDP,” said Harrison. Greens won two former NDP ridings and helped a Liberal to win in a third by siphoning off NDP votes, she said.

“But in eight other ridings, the increase in the Green vote share came disproportionately from the Liberals share and allowed the NDP to win when they arguably wouldn't have otherwise.

The NDP would have done worse in this election if it were not for the Green vote,” said Harrison.








23 comments:

Anonymous said...

All is not lost.
With luck the Greens and the NDP will get rid of pay for access and end union and corporate ownership of policy.
Add in proportional representation or the STV and we could have a good start.

TB

The Mound of Sound said...


Like you, I'm hoping for the best, TB. I'm not sure the NDP would be as keen on electoral reform given that proportional representation would have significantly benefited the B.C. Libs this time. Curious how a party's fondness for voting reform seems to ebb and flow with their immediate circumstances.

Purple library guy said...

If no seats flip, we will get to see just what the Green party in fact stands for. I am certainly looking forward to that; I hope they live up to your hopes (well, depending just what your hopes are--I'd still like to see your polemic on the evils of trade unionism that make union support a symmetrical equal negative with corporatism).

Even at worst, I think it will be a good thing if the leadership of the Green Party is forced to make clear to the public and the membership of the Green Party just what they do stand for and what Weaver means by statements like "But, in terms of the economic plan, our position is much closer to the Liberals than the NDP, because frankly they don’t have an economic plan. Their economic plan is to have government retrofit its buildings with union workers. You know, that doesn’t incentivize industry. You need to send a signal to the market and let the innovation and creativity happen there in the market." Up to now this kind of neoliberal approach has just sort of slid along, being assumed to be less important to Green leadership than Green issues because, after all, it's the Green party. But with a share of power we'll see what leaders like Weaver actually act on, and they'll be forced to take responsibility for that. It'll create a bit of clarity. So even if Weaver turns out to be a BC Liberal with a composter who puts the Liberalism ahead of the compost, learning that once and for all will be valuable in its own way, and will hopefully lead the Green Party membership you are so optimistic about to do some housecleaning. And if he turns out to be great, well, great.

(Incidentally, when it comes to the NDP being "Brutal with the Greens and their leader", gosh, Mr. Pot, say hello to Mr. Kettle. Weaver certainly made personal attacks on Horgan, consistently trashed the NDP, and in his most prominent interviews was peculiarly quiet about key Liberal failings on his supposed biggest issues, whether the environmental ones such as pipelines or things like campaign finance, which he made his "number one" dealbreaker. I understand that for a third party trying to get somewhere, it is necessary to lie about this stuff; you can't get NDP votes by saying "The NDP, although not as good as us on the environment, are certainly far better than the Liberals"--you gotta pretend. But you can't expect everyone to pretend with you; a lie is still a lie even if it's obvious that someone in your position has to tell that lie to get ahead.)

Purple library guy said...

Going broader than this election for a moment, Canadian Green parties to date in my opinion have a fundamental Achilles' heel which, if not dealt with, is going to mean they will be unable to achieve real environmental change even if they achieve majority governments. That Achilles' heel is, they wanna be post-politics, post-ideological, "neither left nor right". They don't want to have to take any stances on (or gain any understanding of) human political economy.

Now as a leftist, I find refusing to take sides on social justice ethically repugnant. But that's not the main issue. What Greens want is to massively change the impacts that human political economy has on the world, the relationship between human existence and the rest of the world. Obviously, to do this requires transforming human political economy. That in turn requires having some model of how human political economy works now and why it impacts the natural world the way it does, so that they can come up with some alternative model for how it should work which would impact the natural world differently, and ideally some kind of trajectory for how to get from this state to that one. Canadian Greens, and many Greens the world over, don't want to hear it. They want to say "Well, everything will be just like it is now, but Greener--don't bother us with the sordid details or hurt our heads with structural issues". This cannot work. In many ways it's an ecological variant of Trumpism--not in terms of being evil, just in terms of having people say "We'll wave a magic wand and make everything better and don't worry about whether we have any idea how that's supposed to work".

Now again, I'm a leftist, and it seems clear to me that the system we have now involves transnational, imperialist capitalism with power concentrated among the very wealthy and big corporations, particularly financial ones lately, as well as whatever kinds of corporation generate the most concentrated windfall profits (such as oil). This is a system I don't like--but whatever its merits, it's the one we have and therefore the one Greens need to change. Furthermore, things like growth, extraction, externalities and so on are built deep into it. Environmental destruction is in its DNA. Greens who aren't interested in facing any of that aren't actually interested in solving the problems they claim to want to solve. They can come up with a proposed system I wouldn't like, but they should come up with something. Instead their heads are about as far in the sand as everyone else's; in being "post-ideological" their ideology is tacitly to simply accept the status quo.

The Green Party could be the future as you say, if it grappled with that. I see no signs yet.

The Mound of Sound said...

You're right, PLG, the Greens may have to show what they're made of. That could cause problems given that the membership is generally well to the left of both May and Weaver. There will be much to be learned.

Gyor said...

I absolutely agree, people assume the Green Party is green because it's in the name.

We will see where they really stand now that it looks like they might get a taste of power.

Gyor said...

I absolutely agree, people assume the Green Party is green because it's in the name.

We will see where they really stand now that it looks like they might get a taste of power.

Toby said...

Do you think the Greens could keep playing the Libs and NDP against each other for a long time, issue by issue? Do they really have to make a coalition?

The Mound of Sound said...

People are quite right to assume the Green Party is green. It's not the Good Ship "Axe the Tax" and it has never smeared environmentalists declaring them enemies of British Columbia. That would be the Dippers, wouldn't it? Yeah, that's right. It was the NDP. And not just one leader either. But I'm pretty sure Old Leatherback, Joe Oliver, was with you on those points.

Did you ever think that there might be some good reason for Suzuki to endorse the Greens, the first time he's ever endorsed any party? Is that even conceivable to a New Dem mind?

So do help yourself to a lovely cucumber and sanctimony sandwich and wash it down with a glass of that terrific wine made from our special sour grapes.

Anonymous said...

It would be interesting to know "ethnic" vote contribution for all 3 parties...
A..non

Purple library guy said...

Hahaha!!! Actually, unless the Libs end up getting that 44th riding, in which case all the hopes of both NDP and Green for this election will be out the window, this will be my absolute most desired outcome. I actually do prefer a, hopefully NDP, minority with Green kingmaking to an NDP majority.

And, I'm not a New Democrat, so I can't really have a "New Dem mind". The NDP is a social democratic party which wistfully hopes for a kinder, gentler capitalism. It too has a basic problem that it has turned away from; in the case of social democratic thought, the problem has actually been grappled with, strongly and repeatedly, by many thinkers over the years. The problem is that capitalism does not want to be kinder or gentler and if you leave the capitalists in charge they will crush social democracy--immediately when the popular mood is quiescent, more slowly if the public is obdurate, but they will use their position of control over strategic things (money, media, production) to get rid of all attempts to limit how much of society's resources they appropriate for themselves. And if you look at the leadership of the NDP, I've always gotten the impression that many of them would even privately admit that this is basically true. But as an institution, the NDP like other social democratic organizations does not have the guts to follow this truth where it leads: to the need for fundamental change, not trying to find some tinkering that our lords and masters won't object to.

So I do not place loyalty or faith in the NDP any more than in the Greens. Neither could be considered "my" party. If I could wave a magic wand and make either one of them a majority government, I'd have to do some thinking. That is not, however, the current situation. The NDP are definitely better than nothing. There was a good chance, and indeed until all the counts are over that chance remains, that the Greens in this election would prove to be worse than nothing. I don't think there's any doubt that if there were no Greens, the NDP would have won a handy majority in this election. And I think any Green (including the leader of the Greens) who pretends that for Green issues a Liberal majority is no worse than an NDP majority, is deeply disingenuous. This is probably why a number of people who in the past have run for or even been leader of the Greens endorsed the NDP this time around. Of course, if the NDP had not endorsed PR the calculation for a Green would be different. But they did.

(There is also the chance, even if the seat count stays where it is, that Weaver will choose to support a Liberal minority. If that happens I will be fascinated to read your post on the topic.)

Anonymous said...

Blogger The Mound of Sound said...
You're right, PLG, the Greens may have to show what they're made of. That could cause problems given that the membership is generally well to the left of both May and Weaver. There will be much to be learned.

A few years ago I attended a Council of Canadians meeting to listen to Jane Sterk! ( spelling)
She was a hard working Green flogging a dead horse.
At the meeting she was confronted if not overwhelmed by Greens that thought the way to salvation was by installing a dry shitter at the bottom of the veg garden.
I could sense her frustration at this part of her audience that came from homes with a potters wheel in the front living room and a six pack of pot plants in the back room.
True Greens , I think, realise that whilst the Greens value the environment
They have a somewhat small c Conservative approach to economic matters.
By that ,I believe, they support free enterprise but not a free for all!!
They also support local initiatives over multinationals.
(Correct me if I am wrong)
With this in mind I am confused with just what those in the new Green ridings think or expect of this rejuvenated political party??

TB

Anonymous said...

Back to basics.
Should a Green ,NDP coalition happen the first change should be the elimination of corporate and union contributions.
This done a new election which will not be far down the road will be more honestly contested by all.

TB

deb Scott said...

I so look foward to change, I hope that Dr Andrew Weaver gets his opportunity at making a difference. But most likely Christie Clarke will get her majority and the absentee ballots will fall in her favour. The Coalition between NDP and green wont ever get a chance to be formed. The province will continue to be pillaged by corporate interests.
but in that small chance, I too wonder what Weaver will actually weave? I hope its not support of the libs, as that is the last thing this province or any environmental clean up needs.
As for John Horgan he might have been a decent leader, but BC wont ever know:P

Northern PoV said...

Mound
1) Are you in Courtney Comox?
what did your Green vote do this time?

2) Your comment about the leadership vs the membership amazes me.
If the members don't control the agenda now (when the Green party is essentially a Council of Canadians-type pressure group that occasionally splits the vote in unfortunate ways) how could you believe your membership will have any power if the Greens actually got into power?

Weaver has a well deserved bad rep and the BDS crap is part of it.

The Mound of Sound said...


Okay, Dippers. See the update. Political science types at UBC have analyzed the numbers and concluded the Green vote may have cost the NDP three ridings but helped the NDP win eight ridings by drawing off Liberal votes. So, please, stop the goddamned whinging. Read this:



The Green Party won enough seats to hold the balance of power after Tuesday's election, but risks ruin by backing the New Democratic Party, say political scientists from the University of British Columbia.

The province’s lieutenant-governor asked BC Liberal Leader Christy Clark to continue as premier with a minority of 43 seats Wednesday.

The BC NDP under John Horgan took 41 seats and the Greens led by Andrew Weaver picked up three seats - more than ever before. The Greens now hold the balance of power in the 87-seat legislature.

The final election results won’t be known for at least two weeks when tens of thousands of absentee ballots are counted. A recount is ensured in the riding of Courtney-Comox on Vancouver Island because the NDP is hanging on by only nine votes. A Liberal win there would push the government to 44 seats in the legisature, the smallest possible majority.

If the NDP keeps the riding, a deal with the Green Party could create a coalition with 44 seats.

“If it’s true that British Columbians voted for a change, that must mean — if you’re Andrew Weaver — ousting Christy Clark from government,” said UBC’s Richard Johnston.

“But to do that, he has to back the loser,” said Johnston. “Andrew Weaver has to stick-handle through this very carefully. He may have the effect of delegitimating his own party and the NDP by putting them in power."

Greens popular vote doubled

The Greens doubled their popular vote from eight per cent in 2013 to 16 per cent Tuesday, said Kathryn Harrison of UBC. Her riding-by-riding look at the shift indicates it hurt the Liberals more often than the NDP.

The Liberals took 40.9 per cent of the popular vote compared to the NDP's 39.9 per cent.

“There were three cases where the Greens seems to have directly or indirectly hurt the NDP,” said Harrison. Greens won two former NDP ridings and helped a Liberal to win in a third by siphoning off NDP votes, she said.

“But in eight other ridings, the increase in the Green vote share came disproportionately from the Liberals share and allowed the NDP to win when they arguably wouldn't have otherwise.

“The NDP would have done worse in this election if it were not for the Green vote,” said Harrison.

Purple library guy said...

I work at a university, I see the sausage being made, I know what "political science types" know and what they don't know. In most senses of the word other than having a professorship, I am a "political science type". And I don't see how this Kathryn Harrison can possibly draw any conclusion with confidence at this stage as to just who the Greens cost and didn't cost on a riding-by-riding basis. There's just no direct data on how those voters would have voted if they had not voted Green. She's either going with her gut like the rest of us or starting from silly assumptions, like "all shift in vote percentage in any given riding can be ascribed to growth in the Green vote" or such. Or some cross between--going with her gut, and then making up a silly methodology that will give her the results her gut wants. Since she doesn't say how she got her results, we have to take it on faith, which I'm not interested in doing.

My personal informed gut position is that the Green vote was a combination of two things: Votes from people who care about Green issues, and protest vote against the Liberals by people who didn't really want to vote NDP. Had the Greens not been there, those votes would largely have to go to NDP or abstention. The Greens try their best to fudge it, but if what you care about is the environment and the choice is NDP or Liberal, it's a ridiculously clear choice. And if you want to protest the Liberals hard enough to be willing to vote against them in a tight election, but don't really like the NDP, you are not going to vote Liberal. You might just vote NDP anyway, or you might stay home.
The only plausible source of Green votes that would otherwise go Liberal would be people who care somewhat about the environment, but care MORE about business-friendly policies, see the Green party as a business-friendly option like the Liberals but more pro-environment and thus slightly better, and are too naive to care about splitting the vote. If you think the majority of Green voters are in fact that kind of voter . . . well, that'd be kind of sad. But anyway, you have said repeatedly that the Green base are NOT that kind of voter, that they are much more left wing than the leadership. If that's the case, then absent the Greens they'd have voted NDP. Your personal visceral hostility to the NDP (whether justified or not) is not widespread outside the right.

Northern POV -- on the other hand, the NDP really has no room to be sanctimonious about BDS when it's been utter and complete wimps for ages on Palestinian issues--not just since Mulcair, but for years and years. The NDP has no credibility on that. Most of the actual NDP party structure and politicians basically lean pro-Palestinian, and they know perfectly well when they dare to think about it that most of the NDP base (and a lot of the Liberal voters too) also lean pro-Palestinian, and out of cowardice they choose to betray both themselves and their constituency on the issue.

The Mound of Sound said...


Well, PLG, I'll take Harrison's analysis at face value until it's shown that she's wrong. You can't possibly understand how she can do it. Why not ask her? Frankly, I don't find your second paragraph analysis persuasive. You're tailoring assumptions to fit your conclusion.

deb Scott said...

I am not sure that the greens backing the loser...is the way I see it. I think if the greens cooperate with the NDP that its more aligned to the voter bases...the people in BC dont need another 4 yrs of the same old...thats what the "winners" offer BC.
Anyhow time will tell, what happens with this election and with how Weaver shows his hand.
I dont really give a crap about the post show after play blame-game or stat stacking....simply put
1) the democratic system if flawed and we need PR preferably STV
2) the environment is in grave danger, and neither the libs, nor the NDP are truly addressing it...but to be fair the NDP havent been in power for decades so they cannot really be blamed for the failings regardless of what Carol said years ago about carbon tax or what rhetoric Glen Clarke spouted against greens
3) the green vote increasing is important for a multitude of reasons but only one party will be paying attention...and its also possible that the green votes are from new voters who dont want to back either of the old style parties
4) the biggest voting block is still the non-voters and that is something no one every seems to address

Purple library guy said...

So's she. So are you . . . except yours are internally contradictory--the Green voters are both left wing and people who would have otherwise voted Liberal. Unless the Green base is much smaller than the Green vote, in which case the Green party probably isn't the future.

deb Scott said...

my apologies my comment came off more harsh...I enjoy reading everyone's analysis, I just mean I dont have any real numbers/stats/background to play with them and offer inferences or causal statements.
I did really enjoy your comments PLG...very interesting stuff.
As always mound, I bow to your genius with politics, I dont align myself with the dippers ....more with the greens, but I do admit this time that I went with my NDP but I love the guy, he works hard for us and and is an environmentalist and I know him well.
I love the greens too and cheer them on, ever hard fought victory.

Anonymous said...

Blogger deb Scott said...
I so look foward to change, I hope that Dr Andrew Weaver gets his opportunity at making a difference. But most likely Christie Clarke will get her majority

Not so fast.
Historically recounts and absentee votes favour the NDP.
Its going to be an interesting wait.

TB

The Mound of Sound said...

I so hope you're right about recounts favouring the NDP, Trail Blazer.