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REPORTING · 12th May 2011
Merv Ritchie
Christy Clark narrowly won her constituency seat in the by-election held yesterday in the Point Grey region formerly held by Gordon Campbell. This result has shown many new turns on the BC political scene.

First and foremost is Gordon Campbell is now completely removed from BC politics. The second is how narrow the victory was for Clark. The NDP with David Eby was ahead at times during the count and left the race only 600 votes behind Clark.

Another significant turn on the BC political scene is the other two party candidates who ran in this by-election for the Point Grey seat; the BC First Party and the Green Party.

The Green Candidate received over 500 votes but not enough to have combined with the NDP to defeat Clark. The BC First Candidate however, Danielle Alie, received 369 votes, closing in on the 511 Green votes. This is very significant for this fledgling BC political party. The Greens have been running candidates in BC since 1983 when it had four candidates running for seats in the BC general election and Point Grey was one of these with Adrian Carr. Alie, as the very first, BC First Candidate ever fielded, beat the percentage of the popular vote count achieved by Carr on her first run at the job.

The BC Conservative Party chose not to run a candidate stating; “The Premier should have a seat in the legislature; which is why the B.C. Conservatives did not run a candidate in the riding,” and leader John Cummins is quoted in a news release saying, “I look forward to squaring off with Ms. Clark in the next general election.”

It would be interesting to see just how well they would have placed. If the BC First Party can already achieve numbers close to the Green Party in their first election after the Greens fielding candidates in the constituency for almost 30 years, the political scene in BC may be changing significantly.

The mainstream media of BC has been virtually ignoring this new BC Party but as the spokesman for the Party, Chris Delany stated this morning in their congratulatory press release;

“This is just the start of letting people know there is an alternative. Premier Clark only narrowly won the election last night, going neck and neck with the Official Opposition as each poll reported. And that was with a very favourable press and a near media blackout of BC First. So the Liberals know they have a lot of work to do to convince people they have changed.”

He says BC First’s candidate, Danielle Alie, was successful at creating a presence and awareness for the new party in the riding, and nearly tied the long established Green Party.

It remains to be seen what will happen in the next full election. If Clark waits for the next scheduled election date, May 14, 2013, the BC First Party may build up awareness and become an established third party force. The BC First Party was born out of the dissatisfaction of the Liberal Party to carry the voice of moderate conservatives, with the organizational skills of the Anti HST movement. Today there remains two Parties representing British Columbians. Next election there may be a choice of three, four or even five, significant forces.