B.C. election latest example of governments being ‘rewarded’ for response to pandemic
British Columbia Premier John Horgan has been re-elected with a majority government.
The election is the largest victory ever for the left-leaning New Democratic Party of B.C. and Horgan. Like the rest of Canada, British Columbia follows the Westminster Parliamentary system, where the party with the most seats forms government and their leader becomes premier.
Horgan had been leading a minority government with support of the Green Party and called the election early in the hope of winning a majority of seats in the provincial Legislature. This is exactly what happened.
Stewart Prest is a political scientist at Simon Fraser University. He says these results mirror other recent elections in Canada and New Zealand, where the fight against the coronavirus has gone well.
“Governments that have been taking the pandemic seriously and really exerting the powers of the state to try to safeguard the lives and livelihoods of the citizens during this this prolonged crisis have been rewarded,” Prest said.
It is estimated that voter turnout is at least 52 percent, a decrease of about 11 percent since the last provincial election in 2017.
A record number of at least 525,000 mail-in ballots were received by election officials. They will not be counted for a couple weeks, but it’s not expected that mail-in votes will drastically affect the overall numbers.
Preliminary results have the New Democratic Party leading or elected in 55 of the province’s 87 constituencies.
The right-leading B.C. Liberal Party is expected to lose 12 seats in the Legislature, while the Green Party is leading or elected in three, an increase of one. B.C. Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson will step down once his replacement is found.
Prest does not see a massive change in British Columbia and Washington state relations, except that Horgan will be more able to travel, since there is a dramatically less chance of losing decisive votes in the Legislature.
The election results will not be finalized until at least Nov. 16.