Is the NDP even relevant anymore?

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Article: Sean Wilson

Perhaps the results of the B.C election are a larger sign for Canada.

Many questions arise out of the result of the recent BC provincial election. How did every single poll get it so wrong? How could the NDP possibly blow a 22-point lead? This story goes back further than the recent election to 2001 when the BC Liberals first took power. The party had been reformed as a coalition of conservatives and liberals for the sole purpose of keeping the NDP out. Sound familiar?

Since then there has been little to no traction towards an NDP return to power, until the HST. This proved to be so unpopular that the approval rating of then Premier Gordon Campbell dropped as low as 8% and he resigned. Enter Christy Clark, a former minister under the Campbell Government who had previously resigned to host a popular radio show in Vancouver. After the initial bump in support the BC Liberals got from their new leader, they did not lead in a single poll until election day, where they won by 6 points and took 50 seats to the NDP’s 33. This was a stunning result that defied literally every poll taken during the writ period.

This is where the question of the relevancy of the NDP comes into play. The election that happened in BC was by no means an embrace of Christy Clark or the BC Liberals, it was a rejection of the NDP and their policies. The famous saying “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” comes into play here. This coalition was formed in 2001 to keep the NDP out of power, and that coalition held. This is the same coalition we see here with the Saskatchewan Party.  If the NDP can’t win in BC against a scandal plagued government and an unpopular Premier, what hope do they have in a booming province with a very popular premier? With the arrival of Justin Trudeau on the federal scene, the question hasn’t become, “Will the NDP lose seats?”. Rather, the question now is, “How far back to the third benches will they fall?”. What happens if the PC’s and the Liberals merge in Manitoba? Will they be tossed out of government after only one term as the polls are showing in Nova Scotia?

These questions arise because it has gotten to the point where conservatives and liberals across Canada have recognized this common enemy in the NDP, and slowly but surely, coalitions are being formed to keep them out of power. At the end of 2013, there is a very good chance that the last place with an NDP government will be Manitoba where they are trailing the PC’s in the polls, even in Winnipeg. Having been reduced to one province, and with their days in opposition living on borrowed time, clearly the orange has been crushed.

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