NDP leader John Horgan got as close a Kamloops on the weekend, Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau got as far inland as Delta, and Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson made it to Kitimat last weekend.
So what gives? With less than a week to go in the campaign we’re wondering whether any of the three leaders will grace this neck of the woods. It was the same story in the federal election and the same story in the last provincial one too.
The problem is we don’t swing (not that kind … get your mind out of the gutter). The Prince George ridings, and others across the North, have been solidly Liberal since the heady days of Gordon Campbell.
Shirley Bond and Mike Morris won the Prince George-Valemount and Prince George-Mackenzie ridings handily last time around. Both captured more than 50 per cent of the vote.
So, if you’re Andrew Wilkinson looking at polls showing a hefty NDP majority around the corner, you don’t need to campaign here because they’re ‘safe’ seats. Time is better spent in ridings where the vote is close and your presence can help. Hence the trip to Kitimat, which is in the Skeena riding currently held by Liberal Ellis Ross. Canada 338, which aggregates polling and voting patterns, has the NDP’s Nicole Halbauer polling at 52.7 per cent, up on Ross with 45.8 per cent.
Canada 338 lists both the Kamloops-North Thompson and Boundary-Similkameen (which actually has a Wexit candidate) as toss ups. It also lists the Columbia River-Revelstoke riding as a toss-up, which is likely Horgan was there a week ago.
Other than the Skeena riding and it’s next door neighbour Stikine, which is listed as a safe NDP seat, the rest of the north’s ridings are either Liberal safe, or likely, according to Canada 338. Hence, no leaders needed.
So how do we change that? Easy, become swingers. If we had two MLAs from different parties, those parties would pay more attention to the city, not only during campaigns, but between elections as well.