Vancouver, BC – The ruling Liberals under Premier Christy Clark entered this election with a 49 seat majority and left with the first minority government since 1952. The NDP under the leadership of John Horgan won 41 seats, the Liberals retained 43 and the Green Party won three and hold the balance of power in this minority government.
There were several close results that will require a recount which could change things and all eyes will be watching the riding of Courtenay-Comox where the NDP won by nine votes. Adding to the tension is the number of absentee votes which have yet to be counted and that may take up to two weeks. The riding is home to Canadian Forces Base Comox and many would-be voters are on assignment for the military. To make it more interesting, the incumbent Liberal Jim Benninger, who lost his seat, is a former commander at the base.
“You can look at the results in several ways,” said IAM District 250 Directing Business Representative Walter Gerlach. “I’m disappointed because in order to make progressive changes in areas such as labour reform and Worker’s Compensation, which are important to our members, the NDP needed a majority and we didn’t get it.”
In this election the IAM created the Machinist vote, an effort to get our membership more involved in the election through education and participation. IAM District members volunteered, knocking door-to-door, working phone banks and talking to IAM members throughout the province. “The member-to-member contact we achieved in this election is groundbreaking,” said Gerlach. “I said before that people were beginning to connect the dots and our membership began to understand that there is a difference between the parties. They began to realize that the only party that would sit down with you and talk about the interests of working people, is the NDP. It’s something we intend to build upon.”
“This change in public attitude is the result of John Horgan’s hard work, we won in ridings where we didn’t think we would,” said Gerlach. Regarding a minority government, Gerlach said it will expose the Green Party for what it really is.