Between political homes - The Orca
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Between political homes

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Like a lot of Vancouver residents, Scott Harrison used to support the BC Liberals, but has gone astray. The numbers show he’s not alone.

This Urban Coastal British Columbian is searching.

In my case, I’m looking for a BC Liberal leader that can redefine what “free enterprise” looks like for the next 20 years while addressing the needs, desires, and dreams of my community.

I joined the BC Liberal Party in 1993, but cancelled my membership when the writ dropped in 2017, and have not voted for them since, because I did not see my values and the principles reflected in those campaigns.

I wondered if this was just me.  So, I did some research.

Take a look at this table. Since 2005, the total number of BC Liberal Votes in Vancouver has gone from 102,142 to 73,944 in 2020. That’s a 28,198 vote drop – enough that you can’t just blame mail-in ballots.

 

From 2005 to 2020, the number of total votes cast in Vancouver increased by more than 12,000. But for BC Liberal votes in the city, 2017 saw a sudden drop – down 14,680 from 2005. And again, that’s with 39,465 more people casting ballots that year.

What’s even more shocking is the drop in MLAs in Vancouver. When the BC Liberals first ran on the revenue-neutral carbon tax, they increased their seat count in Vancouver. In 2020, they won 2 seats out of 11.

This kind of loss happens when Urban Coastal voters don’t see their values and concerns reflected in your message and policy ideas.

So, it looks like I’m not alone in Vancouver. This makes the stakes in the upcoming leader’s race even bigger.

The BC Liberals have one chance to define what it means to be a modern free enterprise party. If the party doesn’t change, they will continue to lose in Vancouver (perhaps even Vancouver-Langara). They will continue to dominate in rural BC, but that alone does not mean more MLAs, or a realistic chance at forming government.

It’s not just Vancouver. The demographics of many suburban communities are changing fast, and receiving lots of new residents from urban and coastal BC. They bring those perspectives with them.

Put another way: the NDP has two MLAs in Chilliwack.

BC needs someone who understands and can connect to the province of today and lay the foundation for real future prosperity.

To win the 2024 election, the new BC Liberal leader will need ideas that work in urban and coastal BC. They’ll need to bring new people into politics and welcome back those who left, for whatever reason. Even – and especially – those that don’t currently have a political home.

Scott Harrison is born and raised Vancouverite, father of two boys, community builder, entrepreneur, retired paperboy and political geek.

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