There’s a jagged yet solid political line making its way through Surrey.
Of Surrey’s nine provincial ridings (including Surrey South, one of two added in B.C. due to redistribution), six have voted NDP and three have voted BC Liberal Party.
More simply, the north skews left, the south skews right.
This is not unlike the great urban/rural divide felt provincewide this week – with the BC NDP adding six MLAs, the BC Liberals losing four and the Greens increasing their single seat to three, creating a potential minority government, according to preliminary results – though a strong sense of community South of the Fraser likely makes the division in Surrey and White Rock a touch more palpable.
Why there’s this political divergence is open to interpretation, and one would presume the political parties will be taking a closer look at it prior to the next election. However, if we may be so bold, it seems obvious the party leaders themselves have all but abandoned the south in the buildup to this and all recent provincial – and federal – elections.
Local candidates for major parties should be forgiven if they felt somewhat abandoned by their leaders this past month as they attempted to ‘fight the good fight’ in at least the two southernmost ridings, Surrey South and Surrey-White Rock.
While it might well be predetermined that the ridings there and in Surrey-Cloverdale would vote the way they did, if there were any invisible cracks, there appeared to be little effort outside the local teams to locate them. A simple visit to a resident or business event by a party leader – any party leader – may well have been enough to add enough votes to effect change in the right-wing strongholds.
Instead, local voters could only watch from afar, as party leader after party leader dropped by political events north of 64 Avenue.
Regardless, we congratulate local candidates and their teams who did contribute to the quality of debate, and we suggest their leaders should be turning to them for advice next time around.