One of the biggest wins in last week’s provincial election goes to the BC Green Party, en route to tripling its single-MLA count in the legislature – a major result for a party that, in previous elections, has been a vote-splitter siphoning off just enough potential support from the BC NDP to ensure a BC Liberal majority.
Of even greater significance for the party is the virtual tie between the frontrunners. It’s evident that growing disenchantment with the current government was a factor. Under these circumstances the Green card, so adroitly played by BC Liberals in the past, appears to have gone against them.
The closeness of the vote means that, almost overnight, the Greens went from being a marginal political player to the heady position of potentially holding the balance of power.
The party is to be congratulated on this dramatic change in its fortunes – but should also be aware that with greater power comes greater responsibility and, ultimately, greater public scrutiny.
While B.C.’s Greens have always been forthright in presenting campaign platforms, the fact remains the majority still know little about them. While, in its early years, the party was characterized by a youthful, environmentalist standpoint – and for alliances with civic NDP-affiliated parties – leadership battles and mixed-message policies have made it hard to take the party’s political temperature in a field where partisan loyalties usually rule.
Adding to confusion, the party claims support from across the political spectrum.
It’s certainly not the alt-left party that some voters may have supposed.
Much was made during the election of a perceived antipathy of current Green Leader Andrew Weaver to working with the NDP, and of his closeness with the BC Liberals on some issues. Those who have dreamed of an NDP-Green coalition may yet wake up to the reality of a BC Liberal-Green coalition.
Whichever way you look at it, the Green Party has an interesting path – or a tightrope walk – ahead. It will require sure-footedness to avoid a plethora of pitfalls, and voters would be wise to watch them every step of the way.