Editorial: Signs of the end

Trent Ernst, Editor


According to the bible, people waiting for the end of the world should look for these signs: Wars will break out near and far. The nations and kingdoms will proclaim war against each other, and there will be famines and earthquakes in many parts of the world. Stars will fall from heaven, women shall lead, pigs shall fly, and in Alberta, an NDP majority will be elected.

Well, Alberta has elected an NDP majority government with a record number of female legislators. The pigs have flown and the sky has fallen on Cowtown. There are even rumours that Ralph Klein’s tortured ghost has been seen wandering the streets of Edmonton.

Not only that, but Calgary’s popular mayor is Muslim. The national stereotype of Alberta has just shattered on the floor.

Which just goes to show that sometimes stereotypes are completely and utterly wrong.

Take for example the stereotype of BC as a haven for pot smoking, tree-hugging, bleeding heart socialists.

Okay, so maybe not all of BC, but down south, certainly, they’re a bunch of left wing liberal hippies. Or at least, that’s the stereotype. But you’d never know it looking at our political history.

We can basically skip the first thirty years or so, as only two premiers had any official ties to any political party. But starting in 1903 and running until 1941, BC saw Conservative and Liberal governments hold power in fairly equal measures.

In 1941, lasting until 1952, the Liberals and Conservatives formed coalition governments to fend off the crazed, radical socialist hoards of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation, the CCF. This left wing socialist group made its way across the boundary from Alberta, ironically, where it was formed in 1932, though never elected to power there.

In 1952,  the right wing bloc that was the Conservatives and Liberals came to an end as the even more right wing Social Credit Party, whose origins were also in Alberta, came to power in 1952 under W.A.C. Bennett.

Bennett’s fear-mongering about the socialist hoards kept him in power for 20 years, until said socialist hoard squeaked into power with a minority government under Dave Barrett and the NDP (formerly the CCF).

Wacky’s son, Bill, brought the SoCreds back to power in 1975 and it held power until it collapsed under the weight of corruption and scandal under the hapless interim premier Rita Johnston in 1991.

In 1991, Mike Harcourt led the NDP to victory, though some fans of CBC’s “Seeing Things” may have been deceived into voting NDP given Harcourt’s resemblance to actor Louis Del Grande. Harcourt resigned, and was replaced by Glen Clark, who drove the NDP to electoral oblivion when they were reduced to two seats in 2001.

1991 also marked the return of the Liberal Party, jump started by the man who would become one of BC’s more reviled political figures in any political spectrum, Gordon Wilson. With the SoCreds fading fast, many former members jumped ship in 1993 and took over the Liberal Party, ousting the unpopular Wilson and, somewhat reluctantly, putting Gordon Campbell in his place. Campbell won in 2001 and held power for ten years before being replaced by even more Righter Wing cheerleader, Christy Clark.

So if we accept the old Liberal Party as basically right wing (and I do), if we accept the idea that the independent Premiers of BC prior to 1903 were most likely right wing or right leaning rather than lefties and we assume Christy Clark hangs on to power and does not call an early election prior to 2017… we see that 133 years of 146 years of BC history was spent under right wing/right leaning governments.

Stack that up against 13 years of NDP government and it kind of makes the national stereotype about BC ring a bit hollow, doesn’t it?

(Credit: much of this was lifted nearly verbatim from a post on Facebook by my friend Byrun Stedmann, who needs to write more.)