Citizens will go to the polls next Tuesday, May 9 to vote in the 2017 British Columbia General Election. Here we take a look at how the provincial electoral system works in BC and run our eye over the key candidates and parties.
The unicameral legislature of British Columbia was established in 1871 and is known as the Legislative Assembly. The upcoming election will be the 41st in its history and the total number of seats contested will be raised to 87 from the current number of 85.
Elections in British Columba are heavily influenced by the system used in the United Kingdom. They are conducted under the first-past-the-post plurality voting system. This means candidates only need to win the most number of votes in their constituency, not a majority, in order to become Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs). This electoral system has survived two unsuccessful attempts at reform in recent times. In 2005 and 2009 referenda were held to decided whether or not BC should change their electoral system. The proposed alternative was a form of proportional representation: single-transferrable vote.
Key candidates: British Columbia General Election 2017
There are two major parties in BC: the Liberal Party and the New Democratic Party (NDP). The Liberals are the incumbent governing party and have been led by Premier Christy Clark since 2011. The NDP is the major opposition party led by John Horgan since 2014. Despite leading the polls throughout the campaign, the NDP still faces a challenge to win back government – something they haven’t achieved since 1996.
The BC Green Party, led by Andrew Weaver, is shaping as the surprise outsider in 2017. Weaver became the first and only Green Party MLA in 2013. He won the seat of Oak Bay-Gordon Head. Polls suggest that the party stands to pick up a few seats from both major parties in 2017. This means here’s a chance the Greens could be part of the first minority government in the province since 1952.
Whatever happens on May 9, we’ll be here to bring you the results in #Election News!