Premier Abbott and the September 24, 2011 BC Election

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I owe a debt of gratitude to Charlie Smith for saving me the time of writing all about how May 2013 won’t be the next provincial election date. I was going to say all this before he wrote about it yesterday, but I have more below.

One thing is clear: the next B.C. election will likely take place well before 2013.

There are two reasons for this. The first is that the next leader of the B.C. Liberal party will be chosen within the next seven months.

It’s unlikely that this person will sit as premier for almost two years without a mandate from the electorate.

via Premier Gordon Campbell’s resignation guarantees Carole James will lead NDP in next election | Vancouver, Canada |

The rest of his article is about how Carole James will lead the NDP into the next earlier-than-expected election. He’s right about the lack of time for the party to vote her off the island, but if she happens to voluntarily resign there would be a new leader.

What we’ve seen with Campbell is pressure from inside the party for him to leave. Languishing at 9% approval rating in the polls for weeks wasn’t enough to dislodge him. In the coming days, we’ll hear more about the caucus revolt and the members planning to resign from caucus if he didn’t quit. Thus we’ll see what it took for him to lead himself out the door.

So, if Carole James happens to not be the leader of the NDP in the next election it won’t have anything to do with what happens at their next convention in 55 weeks, but it will be an internal matter.

But getting back to Premier Abbott, I’m prepared to go on the record with my prediction that George Abbott will be the next Liberal leader and he’ll pair a provincial election for a valid mandate with the HST referendum on September 24, 2011. That will save a pile of cash.

Earlier yesterday I expected there to be a short, quiet, backroom caucus deal for a new leader leading into their Penticton convention later this month. This would avoid a long, bloody skirmish that would make the Vancouver Board of Trade nervous.

Happily I was spared that now irrelevant prediction by learning last night that the party’s postponing/canceling its convention. Whew.

So why Abbott? He’s a level-headed moderate compared to Campbell’s golden straightjacket, knife-wielding, neoliberal privatization agenda. He certainly drank the Liberal Kool-Aid all along and has his right wing elements that are worrisome, but he was the only one to ever call the premier on his bullying tone. And he paid for it with a cabinet demotion. Bill Bennett did it too just days ago, but that doesn’t count because Campbell was already a lame duck leader.

Regardless of whoever is running the BC NDP, the backroom wisdom of the Liberal party will want someone who at least appears more moderate leading into the next election. Anyone more moderate would evaporate whatever wedging the NDP has been doing in appealing to the centre, centre-right and business interests.

The next variable to scuttle my prediction of the election date will be if the HST ends up at risk of being pulled before the referendum in September, which I think will be wildly unlikely. Ultimately, there is no need to sacrifice the HST when Campbell offered himself up as the samurai fall guy.

At least I got that prediction right.

Regardless, we are in for some interesting times in every aspect of provincial politics in the next few weeks and months. And don’t forget that there are municipal elections scheduled for across the province in 54 weeks, so the farm teams of provincial parties will have members jockeying for positions to be called up to the show, this may include various mayors. And with the possibility of Chuck Strahl and other federal politicians being drafted or jumping into the mix, we could see the face of BC politics on all levels transform significantly before September 2011 ends.

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Stephen Elliott-Buckley

Post-partisan eco-socialist. at Politics, Re-Spun
Stephen Elliott-Buckley is a husband, father, professor, speaker, consultant, former suburban Vancouver high school English and Social Studies teacher who changed careers because the BC Liberal Party has been working hard to ruin public education. He has various English and Political Science degrees and has been writing political, social and economic editorials since November 2002. Stephen is in Twitter, Miro and iTunes, and the email thing, and at his website,

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