Byelections are never easy for whatever party holds power at the time, and Feb. 2 was no exception. The incumbent BC Liberals lost both byelections — Vancouver-Mount Pleasant and Coquitlam-Burke Mountain.
The interesting takeaway for me was not the fact that the Liberals lost. I say this in spite of the fact that one of the ridings — Coquitlam-Burke Mountain — traditionally had been a Liberal stronghold. More, it was was the very impressive showing by Pete Fry and the BC Green Party in Vancouver-Mount Pleasant, where they came second with 26% of the vote. This is the first time that the Greens have placed ahead of the Liberals in this riding. In fact, the contest for second place wasn’t even close with the Liberals getting only 11% of the vote, less than half of that for the Greens.
What does this mean moving forward? It appears to me to be another strong indicator that the provincial Green Party is continuing its move from fringe party to a solid contender. Also, keep an eye on Pete Fry. His strong showing makes him all the more electable whatever ring he decides to toss his hat into next time.
Feb. 2 was a day to remember. I think the voters of Vancouver-Mount Pleasant are a bellwether of things to come. They sent a message to BC’s two traditional political parties: People are ready for a progressive party that stands up for the environment along with social and economic values.