BC Election 2013  

Tories' downfall aids Liberals

UBCO political science professor, Wolfgang Depner credits a sharp drop in the BC Conservative vote and some savvy campaigning by leader Christy Clark for the BC Liberal's stunning re-election win Tuesday.

"She pulled off one of the greatest political comebacks short of Dewey defeats Truman," says Depner.

All of the polls prior to Tuesday's election showed the Adrian Dix NDP would roll to a convincing election victory.

It was the other way around.

What was supposed to be a six, seven, eight point NDP win became a five point BC Liberal triumph.

Depner says he believes several factors contributed to what appears to be a stunning upset.

"One of the factors has to do with the complete disappearance of the BC Conservatives. They have done very poorly in some of the ridings where they were expected to do okay. Vernon-Monashee stands out as one of those," says Depner.

"Finally I think a lot of credit has to go to Christy Clark. She was an effective campaigner. She was able to deliver a clear message to voters and it worked."

Depner says Dix failed to sell his ideas to the electorate.

"I think he was trying for a somewhat deliberative approach in a province that tends to be fairly polarized," says Depner.

"It simply blew up in his face."

While there were many winners and losers Tuesday, the big losers may be the polling industry who blew another election much as they did the last Alberta provincial election.

"It's fair to say the polls were dead wrong and I've already heard people who work in the polling industry assume blame for their many, many, many failings," says Depner.

"I think it's fair to say they messed up big time."

While the electorate decided it could live with four more years of Liberal rule in BC, voters in Vancouver-Point Grey were not so sure about its leader.

Clark was trailing NDP candidate David Eby by nearly 400 votes with only a few polls left to report late Tuesday night.

If those results indeed hold up, a Liberal backbencher would likely step down allowing Clark a chance to win a seat in a by-election later in the year.

Despite the results in her own riding, Depner says he doesn't believe Clark is in political jeopardy.

"I think her leadership will be safe after tonight even if she doesn't win her own riding. I think she can turn around and say boys you can't dump me over this one," says Depner.

"There were a lot of people who were looking to get rid of her who are also licking their wounds tonight."

On the flip side, Depner says Dix's political future is up in the air after Tuesday's defeat.

"If the NDP cannot win under these conditions when can they ever win. He may wish to reflect on tonights results and he may wish to make some personal choices of his own," says Depner.

"If you read between the lines - and I'm not suggesting it - but he may not be a viable leader for the New Democratic Party down the line."

Depner also believes Tuesday's results will resurrect the BC Green Party who elected their first member to the Legislature (Andrew Weaver in Victoria-Oak Bay) and signal the death knell of the BC Conservatives.

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