“If we split the (free-enterprise) vote, I am concerned we will get an NDP government.”
So said BC Liberal MLA Eric Foster the other day in response to John van Dongen crossing the floor to the surging BC Conservatives.
Leaving aside the fact that “free enterprise” and the BC Liberals have very little to do with each other, this “split the vote” mantra is pretty much the entire Liberal election platform these days, and we’ll be hearing it ad nauseam in the coming months.
But what kind of a party platform is that? It boils down to: “don’t vote for the party you want to vote for in case the party you don’t like loses.”
Not exactly awe-inspiring.
And just how valid is the idea that the BC Conservatives will split the vote anyway? Especially here in the Vernon-Monashee riding?
Well, let’s start with the fact that back in 2001, when they used to be a true conservative party, the BC Liberals had an overwhelming lead over the NDP in this riding – over 10,000 votes.
A decade later that lead has shrunk almost 90 per cent to a mere 1,500 votes, and that was before the Liberals brought in the Carbon Tax and the HST.
Why have the Liberals lost so much support in this riding? Is it because Vernon Monashee has turned radical and is now supporting the NDP?
Well maybe, but there’s no indication of that at all on the federal level.
I would suggest that it’s because the Liberals have morphed into a high-tax, high-spend party just slightly to the right of the NDP.
Till now the Vernon-Monashee riding has held its nose and voted for the Liberals out of desperation that the NDP will destroy the economy once again as it did during B.C.’s lost decade.
But as the Liberals have drifted further left every year, fewer conservatives are willing to do that anymore. The truth is that we’ve now got two parties on the left – the NDP and the BC Liberals, and voting for one is no different from voting for the other.
Given a choice between two high-tax, high-spend parties on the left and a true conservative party, I believe Vernon Monashee will vote the way it has for decades – for the most responsible party available – the BC Conservatives.
Scott Anderson, Vernon