Tighter race than expected for B.C. General Election

This Tuesday, May 14, is election day, though if you can’t make it then, you can vote in advance polls from May 8-11.

This Tuesday, May 14, is election day, though if you can’t make it then, you can vote in advance polls from May 8-11.

The election is proving to be a tighter race than expected as the Liberal Party has closed the gap on the leading New Democratic Party. A Forum Research poll conducted on April 30 put NDP support at 39 per cent and the Liberal support at 35 per cent. Two other polls conducted early this month put the gap within single digits. The latest survey to come out gave the NDP a 10 point lead on the Liberals.

They’re all a far cry from the healthy double-digit leads the NDP has enjoyed for a long time.

All this means the NDP are still favoured to win a majority, however it is not expected to be as much a blowout as initially predicted. On Monday, May 6, The pundit blog ThreeHundredEight.com gave the NDP a 78.6 per cent chance of winning a majority if the election were held that day – down from a 92 per cent chance before the campaign officially started on April 16. The blog now projects the NDP to win from 43 to 56 seats – enough to win a majority of the 85 seats.

That’s the provincial picture. Here’s a look at the candidates in Columbia River-Revelstoke.

Norm Macdonald, NDP

Norm Macdonald is the incumbent MLA, having won election in 2005 and 2009. A former school teacher, principal, city councillor and mayor, Macdonald has been campaigning on the premise that the NDP will be forming the next government.

In debates and interviews he’s been telling people what an NDP government would look like, while also going after the Liberal government’s record of recent deficits.

He has avoided making any big promises and has said the government needs to provide a predictable environment for business – eluding to the HST fiasco.

As the opposition forestry critic, he’s been a strong advocate for more investments in the public lands and better land management.

He has said he will fight to maintain government services in local communities and has touted himself as someone that does what he says he will do, and will represent the desires of the communities he represents.

Doug Clovechok, Liberal

Doug Clovechok was a public school administrator in Calgary before moving to Fairmont Hot Springs and becoming the manager of the College of the Rockies campus in Invermere. While he doesn’t have any elected experience, he has sat on various boards and has also been touting the work he has done over the past year with several community groups, such as helping get Cherry Creek Falls, near Kimberley, protected as a regional park.

He has campaigned on the Liberal Party platform as being the best for the province economically, accusing the the NDP of being the tax and spend party with no financial plan.

He has said that if elected he will set up broad-based advisory councils in each community in the riding to provide feedback and also foster unity across the riding.

Earl Olsen, Conservative

A semi-retired accountant, Earl Olsen recently moved from Alberta to the Columbia Valley. Prior to retiring, he was a part-owner of a large printing company. As the Conservative candidate, he has been advocating a platform of lower taxes and balanced budgets to attract business. He has said the most important issue facing the riding is providing jobs for young people so they can live here. He supports resource development, but in a responsible manor.

He said he wants to show there is an alternative to the major parties in B.C. politics.

Laurel Ralston, Green Party

Laurel Ralston was the last party to enter the campaign, throwing her hat in the ring for the Green Party, who’s platform she said mirrored her own views. She is a musician and writer, the president of the Kimberley Arts Council, and she has worked in government and for the environmental organization Wildsight.

She has advocated for stronger participatory democracy, with more local decision making. She has also touted the elements in the party’s platform that promote supporting small business and responsible resource management.

 

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