Jody Wilson-Raybould announces that she will run as a independent in the fall election during a news conference in Vancouver, Monday, May 27, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

Jody Wilson-Raybould announces that she will run as a independent in the fall election during a news conference in Vancouver, Monday, May 27, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

COLUMN: Priorities in a divided province following 2019 election

Black Press Media columnist Frank Bucholtz on the fallout for B.C.

Federal election results provide more proof that B.C. is a very divided province politically.

The Liberals won 11 B.C. seats on election night, down from a high of 18 seats in 2018 (after a byelection win). The Conservatives jumped from 10 MPs elected in 2015 to 17. The NDP lost ground, going from 14 seats to 11. The Greens stayed at two, and there is now an independent MP from B.C., Jody Wilson-Raybould, the former Liberal justice minister.

Where the parties hold seats varies dramatically. The Liberals are an urban party, with every seat in the Metro Vancouver area. The Conservatives are a rural and suburban party. The NDP has five seats on Vancouver Island in mostly suburban and rural ridings, with the exception of Victoria. They hold two seats in the Interior, two in Vancouver and two in the Metro Vancouver suburbs. One of those is held by party leader Jagmeet Singh. The Greens hold two Vancouver Island seats. Saanich–Gulf Islands is held by party leader Elizabeth May.

What will this very split representation bring to B.C., under a Liberal minority government?

READ MORE: B.C. shone bright for major parties in 2019 federal election

The NDP theoretically holds the balance of power, but the prime minister has already made it clear he plans to govern without support from any other party. This follows the playbook of his predecessor Stephen Harper, who headed two minority governments from 2006-2011.

The NDP will hold some sway, but the party will not be able to stop the Trans Mountain pipeline project. Both Justin Trudeau and Finance Minister Bill Morneau have made it clear the project will proceed. The Liberals do want to move forward on climate change initiatives, although the party has not been very clear on what steps it will take to meet Paris Accord targets, other than impose a modest carbon tax in provinces that did not have one.

The NDP may have more clout with housing affordability. The Liberals had introduced a National Housing Strategy, but the New Democrats want to dramatically increase the supply of housing. One idea proposed was to get 500,000 housing units under construction, as compared with the Liberal platform calling for 100,000 over 10 years. Lack of supply is a key reason for both higher sale prices and higher rents.

The provincial government on Thursday (Oct. 23) brought in a bill to adopt the United Nations declaration on the rights of Indigenous people, and gradually apply it to B.C. statutes. This proposal has been on the federal to-do list since the 2015 election, but has yet to be completed. It is quite likely that the federal government will move ahead on this front in the near future. One supporter of any move in that direction will be Wilson-Raybould, a former regional chief of the BC Assembly of First Nations.

Infrastructure spending on transportation is important to many. In Metro Vancouver, much of the focus has been on additional funding to expand SkyTrain and improve the bus system.

Outside Metro Vancouver, there have been many calls for highway improvements, particularly to Highway 1 in the Fraser Valley and from Kamloops to the Alberta border. Some projects are underway, but much remains to be done to significantly improve the major artery between B.C. and the rest of the country. B.C. residents will be watching Ottawa closely to see what transportation priorities it brings forward, and when.

RELATED: Scheer says Canada more divided than ever, as NDP and Bloc hold cards close

Frank Bucholtz is a columnist and former editor at Black Press Media

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Quesnel RCMP Detachment is one of seven northern police buildings which can now connect directly to Prince George for daily bail hearings. (Observer File Photo)
Bail hearings going virtual in B.C.’s north

A court pilot project will see virtual courtroom cameras set up in seven RCMP detatchments

FILE – Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs have agreed to sign a memorandum on rights and title with B.C. and Ottawa, but elected chiefs are demanding it be called off over lack of consultation. (Thom Barker photo)
Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs, Lake Babine Nation get provincial funding for land, title rights

Government says it’s a new, flexible model for future agreements between Canada, B.C. and First Nations.

The property on which a residential school (pictured) that was torn down years ago in Lower Post is to be the location of a cultural centre. (Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre photo)
Lower Post residential school building to be demolished, replaced with cultural centre

Project to be funded by federal and provincial governments, Daylu Dena Council

Photo collage of loved ones lost to substance use and overdose. (Photo courtesy Moms Stop The Harm)
B.C. overdose deaths still rising 5 years after public health emergency declared

Moms Stop the Harm calls on B.C. to provide safe supply in response to deadly illicit drug use

Angelique Houlihan gets her COVID-19 vaccine jab last week at the community-wide clinic. (Angelique Houlihan photo)
Vaccine clinic continues this week

Plenty of booking spots available

Vancouver resident Beryl Pye was witness to a “concerning,” spontaneous dance party that spread throughout social groups at Kitsilano Beach on April 16. (Screen grab/Beryl Pye)
VIDEO: Dance party erupts at Vancouver’s Kitsilano Beach to the dismay of onlookers

‘It was a complete disregard for current COVID-19 public health orders,’ says Vancouver resident Beryl Pye

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during Question Period in the House of Commons Tuesday December 8, 2020 in Ottawa. The stage is set for arguably the most important federal budget in recent memory, as the Liberal government prepares to unveil its plan for Canada’s post-pandemic recovery even as a third wave of COVID-19 rages across the country. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Election reticence expected to temper political battle over federal budget

Opposition parties have laid out their own demands in the weeks leading up to the budget

A syringe is loaded with COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to open up COVID vaccine registration to all B.C. residents 18+ in April

Registration does not equate to being able to book an appointment

(Black Press file photo).
UPDATED: Multiple stabbings at Vancouver Island bush party

Three youths hospitalized after an assault in Comox

Selina Robinson is shown in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday November 17, 2017. British Columbia’s finance minister says her professional training as a family therapist helped her develop the New Democrat government’s first budget during the COVID-19 pandemic, which she will table Tuesday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. finance minister to table historic pandemic-challenged deficit budget

Budget aims to take care of people during pandemic while preparing for post-COVID-19 recovery, Robinson said

Each spring, the Okanagan Fest-of-Ale is held in Penticton. This year, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the festival will not be held. However, beer is still available. How much do you know about this beverage? (pxfuel.com)
QUIZ: How much do you really know about beer?

Put your knowledge to the test with this short quiz

Lord Tweedsmuir’s Tremmel States-Jones jumps a player and the goal line to score a touchdown against the Kelowna Owls in 2019. The face of high school football, along with a majority of other high school sports, could significantly change if a new governance proposal is passed at the B.C. School Sports AGM May 1. (Malin Jordan)
Power struggle: New governance model proposed for B.C. high school sports

Most commissions are against the new model, but B.C. School Sports (BCSS) and its board is in favour

Pall Bearers carrying the coffin of the Duke of Edinburgh, followed by the Prince of Wales, left and Princess Anne, right, into St George’s Chapel for his funeral, at Windsor Castle, in Windsor, England, Saturday April 17, 2021. (Danny Lawson/Pool via AP)
Trudeau announces $200K donation to Duke of Edinburgh award as Prince Philip laid to rest

A tribute to the late prince’s ‘remarkable life and his selfless service,’ the Prime Minister said Saturday

Most Read