May. 7, 2019

Manly has a big mountain to climb in five months

Voters in Nanaimo-Ladysmith invested a mandate in Green Party candidate Paul Manly on Monday. It remains to be seen if that investment pays off. Past support of minority parties has not paid dividends for our electoral district.

Manly has a big task on his hands, beginning on Friday when he heads to Ottawa, hopefully to be sworn in as our member of Parliament. He's gung ho. He was quick, perhaps naïve, in his acceptance speech and interviews suggesting he will immediately meet with cabinet ministers to get the ball rolling. He will learn quickly that their calendars may be full.

It certainly brings home the point that he will be powerless to institute any of the Green Party’s ideas. It’s hard to find a willing listener when they are not on your wave length. He certainly will not be any where near the decision-making process. Acting in a critic’s role doesn’t get much traction other than possible fawning news media coverage.

The Green Party ran by far the best campaign, they were extremely well organized. Manly said he was proud of the campaign his team ran, and rightly so. This was a community-driven, volunteer-led effort from start to finish. 

 It’s not easy selling a dream, but they did so very convincingly. They wisely supplemented their environmental campaign with some stuff scalped from the NDP – free pharmacare for all, free dental care.

“Over the course of the last few months I had the opportunity to speak with thousands of people in the riding about the issues that matter to them,” said Manly.” I will join Elizabeth May in Parliament with their concerns front and centre in my mind. I will work hard every day for the next five months to deliver for them.”

As I suggested before the election, Greens get their vote out. Did they get out all their supporters  or are there still some among those who stayed home left to build on for October?

The federal election will be different – a change in government is at stake, and across the nation it will be Liberals versus Conservatives. Does that mean here it will be Green against the Conservative? Not likely, never count out the NDP, they are already regrouping.

It’s easy to play the numbers game with the election result, but you can’t directly compare vote totals from last night to 2014. There were just over half the number of voters in the byelection. However, the percentages of total votes cast pretty well tells the story. It’s simple mathematics – the Green party, in round numbers, gained 20 per cent, the NDP lost 10 per cent and the Liberals lost 10 per cent. The Conservatives’John Hirst gained close to two per cent.

The October campaign started this morning, but we are used to it  – a referendum, a civic election, a provincial byelection and a federal byelection. We’re used to 24/7 campaigning. Save those lawn signs, you’ll need them.

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