Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Third time's a charm

NDP leader Carole James wants to take a third run at becoming Premier in 2013.

What does Derek Corrigan think about her trying a third time?

Saturday, May 16, 2009

It’s a man’s legislature

A record number of women were elected on Tuesday. Twenty-three out of 85 is not a great record. Just over a quarter of the seats are now held by women. Except for a brief stretch from December 1999 to April 2001 this is the highest percentage of women ever.
This effort was hard fought. The NDP made a particular effort to run female candidates, running over 40 women. The BC Liberals ran two dozen women. Fourteen ridings had women for both the Liberals and NDP. That means only nine women won in the other 71 seats. Although both parties went out of their way to run female candidates in some of the safer seats, many female candidates were thrown to the wolves to drive up each party’s respective number of women. The BC Liberals ran several women in East Vancouver while the NDP did the same in the Okanagan.
That’s not to say there has not been progress. In 1986 there were only nine women elected to the then 69 seat legislature. Two more were elected in by-elections while another, Kim Campbell, resigned to seek federal office. In 1991 the NDP win saw 19 women elected across 75 ridings. Five years later 20 women were elected and two more won by-elections that term. In 2001, 19 women were elected in 79 seats. In 2005, 16 women were elected. One more was elected in a by-election. Carole Taylor resigned with less than five months left in her term.
We are also doing better than most other parts of the country. As a percentage of seats, B.C. has more women than all provinces except Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec. Quebec Premier Jean Charest also has the distinction of having a cabinet whose membership is 50% women.
Electing more women than ever before is a good sign. B.C. has come a long way since making Mary Ellen Smith the first woman cabinet minister in the British Empire. There is still much more progress that is needed. The NDP’s quota system for running more women has now been tried. There was a slight improvement.
As the parties work towards the next election they should seek out women candidates not just for safe ridings and no hopers but do what the NDP did in Burnaby where three women were recruited in battleground ridings. A bit of support and a lot of hard work can lead to women winning close seats, much like how men win safe seats. Equality of opportunity might be all we need.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Little change

After the preliminary count, three incumbents and Kathy Corrigan are headed to Victoria to represent us.

Raj Chouhan, Harry Bloy and Richard Lee were re-elected while Corrigan of the NDP narrowly defeated two-term BC Liberal John Nuraney.

Since the creation of Burnaby-Willingdon, the predecessor of what is now Burnaby-Deer Lake, no MLA has served three full terms in a row. In 1966, Frederick Vulliamy was elected as the riding's MLA. New Democrat Vulliamy died in office and was succeeded by Jim Lorimer. Lorimer won three elections in a row, following up the by-election with wins in 1969 and 1972. After serving in the Dave Barrett government, Lormier lost the seat to Socred Elwood Veitch in 1975. Veitch and Lormier traded the seat in 1975, 1979 and 1983 before Veitch was able to win two conesecutive elections with his victory over the NDP's Joan Sawicki in 1986. Sawicki retired Veitch from provincial politics in 1991 and held off challenger John Nuraney of the Liberals in 1996. Nuraney picked up the seat in 2001's landslide BC Liberal win and held it by a narrow margin in 2005.

Corrigan won the seat this week in one of the NDP's narrowest wins in the province. Not since Veitch in 1975 has a first time provincial candidate won this seat. Given the riding's history, Corrigan will likely have her hands full when it comes time for re-election in 2013.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Go earn your right to complain

If you're looking where to vote: Elections BC has your answer.

Predictions for Tuesday night: Burnaby-Deer Lake is the last riding called. Burnaby will remain without a full cabinet minister after the election no matter who wins government.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

If there was a coalition

It looks like Peter Julian could have been minister of international trade (or would that be minister of fair trade).

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Payment wants Answers... Period

Surrey-Cloverdale NDP candidate Deborah Payment has little to no chance of beating Transportation Minister Kevin Falcon on Tuesday. Payment sent an e-mail to Robert Burnaby Tips on April 1 after visiting the legislature. She was not happy with Question Period or the general behaviour of the government while in the chamber. Although it is a bit of a rant, she does touch on the troubles the NDP has had getting a response from the BC Liberal government and on the government's neglect of what is going on in the chamber:

On March 31, I had the privilege of sitting in the gallery of the B.C. legislature during Question Period.
Well, I heard a lot of questions, but no answers. I was astonished to see Wally Oppal repeatedly refuse to answer questions. Having followed recent news coverage, I expected to hear the statement “it is before the courts”. But I didn’t expect that would be used for questions which didn’t appear to be related to the legal case at all.
Then came the submission of a petition that was very important to me, and many other British Columbians. Thousands of working people are asking the government to repeal changes to the WCB laws that have drastically affected benefits and pensions for permanently disabled workers. The Minister responsible, Iain Black, didn’t even listen. He cleaned his desk, used his Blackberry, and left the house before the presentation was completed. That speaks volumes to me.
Those who refuse to talk to, or listen to, the people of this province do not deserve the seats they hold in that honoured hall.
Deborah Payment
Coordinator, Public Compensation Coalition

As the BC Liberals are likely to be returned for a third term next week, this behaviour is likely to continue. The government should pay more attention to their surroundings but little is likely to change until Gordon Campbell retires.

Friday, May 08, 2009

One more time, Carole?

Carole James made a mad dash across the Lower Mainland today. She started at 6:00AM this morning. She continues through midnight. She has been all over Vancouver and Surrey, mainstreeting, dropping in at diners, and even singing karaoke.

During this mad dash the NDP bus made a stop for Kathy Corrigan and company in Burnaby. The NDP team has made Burnaby-Deer Lake a top target from day one of the campaign.

With four days to go, and the central BC Liberal campaign trying to overcome Gordon Campbell talking down to his opponents, one can expect the NDP tour to pop up again in Burnaby. If the NDP sees Carole James coming out of this campaign as Premier the NDP's focus could shift to Burnaby North and Burnaby-Lougheed.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

On the defensive

Gordon Campbell popped by the Burnaby battleground ridings today.

Campbell has spent much of the campaign on the offensive in NDP held ridings but today Campbell played defense by focusing on Burnaby where he already holds three of four seats.

The NDP has made the Burnaby BC Liberal held seats top targets for this election. Carole James has spent parts of seven days in Burnaby so far this campaign.

Friday, May 01, 2009

From bad to worse

Enough is Enough, a tough in crime third party group, has rated the BC Liberals and BC NDP on crime. The Liberals rate poorly. The NDP is even worse, according to the group.

They appear to be planning on endorsing several Lower Mainland candidates for the May 12 vote. Given the outbreak of gang-related violence, this group has the potential to seize on a timely issue.