Voters in this riding once again face a hard choice. In the last provincial election only a handful of ballots separated the same three candidates who are running again on May 9: our excellent incumbent Gary Holman (NDP), the impressive Adam Olsen (Green) and the affable Stephen Roberts (BC Liberal).
As in the last federal election, progressive voters must think strategically to block the return of a ruthless hard-right.
Such is the flawed nature of our antiquated first-past-the-post voting system. Under a fairer system I would be happy with either an NDP or a Green win in this riding, and with some form of power sharing in Victoria that would allow the best policies of both those parties to thrive. But the ghost of Stephen Harper hovers over this B.C. election, and it can only be banished if we vote for the party best placed to form a government.
Like Stephen Harper’s Conservatives, Christy Clark views British Columbia as little more than a heap of assets to be sold off quickly and cheaply for the profit of giant corporations, mostly based in Asia and the U.S.A., and who (no coincidence!) are massive donors to her party. Clark has never seen a tree she wouldn’t like to export, preferably as a job-killing raw log. She has never seen a river she wouldn’t dam, a mountain she wouldn’t mine, a body of water she wouldn’t gladly expose to toxic tailings, Alberta bitumen and the undisclosed brew of chemicals used to frack natural gas.
Far from being genuine free-enterprisers and believers in small government, Clark’s so-called Liberals are subsidizing foreign corporations with B.C. taxpayers’ money to keep reckless projects such as LNG and the Site C dam alive.
Federally, I have twice voted for our outstanding Green MP Elizabeth May, who offered by far the best chance of winning this riding from the Conservatives. But the same cannot be said of the provincial Green Party, which is much too thinly spread across B.C. as a whole. It has no chance of forming a government, and may instead split the progressive vote. As prominent green activist Tzeporah Berman has recently warned, voting for the Greens could very well result in four more years of Christy Clark.
Only the New Democrats have the polling numbers to rid British Columbia of Clark’s regime and Harper’s ghost. The NDP need every seat they can get on May 9, including this one. The race is dangerously tight. I urge all progressive voters to re-elect Gary Holman.
The writer is a Salt Spring resident whose books include A Short History of Progress, the 2004 Massey Lectures.