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October 27, 2017 11:58 pm

Cariboo-Prince George a stronghold no more

Thursday, March 3, 2016 @ 3:45 AM

By Bill Phillips

It used to be that Prince George carried the day when it came to voting.

At least that’s the way it was for the Cariboo-Prince George riding, not so much for the Prince George-Peace River-Northern Rockies riding. Even so, winning Prince George was key to taking both riding.

Or so we thought.

Poll-by-poll results of the October 19 federal election, released by Elections Canada this week, show Conservative Todd Doherty, who won the Cariboo-Prince George riding, polled behind Liberal Tracy Calogheros and New Democrat Trent Derrick in Prince George. Doherty managed 6,391 votes in Prince George to Derrick’s 6,741, and Calogheros’ 8,112. In Prince George-Peace River-Northern Rockies, Liberal Matt Shaw garnered 3,297 Prince George votes, while incumbent Conservative Bob Zimmer captured 3,038. New Democrat Kathie Dickie secured 2,004 Prince George votes.

So what does all this mean?

Firstly, it blasts the myth that Prince George is a Conservative stronghold. The split vote that allowed Doherty to win showed that in October. Now we see that Prince George, given viable alternatives this past election, took them.

What does that mean for Doherty and Zimmer?

For Zimmer, not much. He still won the Prince George-Peace River-Northern Rockies riding handily. He knows he needs to work on representing Prince George better, but he also knows he doesn’t need Prince George to win.

For Doherty, if he wants to be more than a one-term wonder, needs to build support in the largest city in the riding. He didn’t just lose in Prince George, he lost big here. More than twice as many Prince George residents voted for someone other than Doherty. That should be concerning for Doherty.

One can easily argue that the riding is more than Prince George, and it is. While Doherty lost Prince George, he won most of the other areas of the riding … Vanderhoof, Quesnel, Williams Lake, and the Chilcotin.

Doherty needs to work on Prince George voters but there is another spanner in the works. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has vowed that the 2015 general election was the last one using the first-past-the-post voting system. Trudeau favours preferential balloting, which sees voters rank the candidates in order of preference. If no one achieves 50-per-cent-plus-one on the first count, then the candidate with the lowest number of votes is dropped off the ballot, and their second choices are counted.

It’s probably safe to make the assumption that in 2015 a majority of those who voted NDP would have made the Liberal candidate their second choice. In Cariboo-Prince George, that would have resulted in Liberal Tracy Calogheros being elected, not Doherty. Of course Trudeau and the Liberals like this system because in most ridings, it favours the Liberals.

The challenge for Doherty, whether our voting system changes or not, is to win more Prince George voters to his side. Whatever happens, it’s unlikely Cariboo-Prince George will be a stronghold for anyone anymore.


Bill Phillips is a freelance columnist living in Prince George. He was the winner of the 2009 Best Editorial award at the British Columbia/Yukon Community Newspaper Association’s Ma Murray awards, in 2007 he won the association’s Best Columnist award. In 2004, he placed third in the Canadian Community Newspaper best columnist category and, in 2003, placed second. He can be reached at billphillips1@mac.com



I really think the voting system has to change to preferential balloting. For too long the winner seems to be the party that got 35% of the popular vote. I see nothing wrong with changing votes to what someone’s second choice was. If your the right candidate then not only will people vote for you as their first choice, but a lot of other people will consider you as their second choice as well.

If you think about it, the article assumes that all the people that voted NDP would have Liberal as their second choice. That is an assumption. Maybe a lot of NDP voters couldn’t see themselves voting Liberal either so maybe the marijuana party is their second choice and the conservatives still win. It’s hardly a given.

So why not move into the 21st Century and truly count what people prefer. We should drop this archaic system where we only get one kick at the can and then everybody grumbles that their vote was wasted.

I completely support electoral reform, however I don’t think most Tories do. In fact, most political experts and pundits think proportional representation would be bad for the Conservatives… anyone who thinks differently can argue with the National Post, the Globe and Mail, among many other sources.

http: //news.nationalpost.com/full-comment/tasha-kheiriddin-why-proportional-representation-would-be-bad-for-the-conservatives

I also think proportional representation whould keep Canada from becoming politically polarized under a two party system like the USA. IMO, a Proportional Representation system would result in more minority governments being elected, with a greater emphasis on a collaborative government requiring third party consensus.

    Canada already is politically polarized between right and left. Half a century ago both Liberal and PC parties were right of center, with the PC’s being just slightly to the right of the Libs. NDP were left and Communist were far left. Since that time Canadian politics has drifted steadily leftward, the Conservatives occupy the space formerly the home of the Libs, the Libs have moved to center left, the NDP have moved farther left in order to distinguish themselves from the Libs, the Commies have all but disappeared and their supporters have melded into the Greens and NDP.

    So what would a Liberal second choice be? Most likely NDP or Green, and vice versa. If your philosophical bent is left, you’ll keep your votes to the left. What would a Conservative second choice be? There really is not second choice for them other than a few fringe parties.

    So no, Tories don’t support Trudeau’s electoral reform because they recognize it as the establishment of unending, left wing rule. Considering what has happened to jurisdictions that are continuously lefty ruled, there’s a depressing future ahead of us.

It’s ridiculous to believe that the kind of voting system proposed by Trudeau’s Liberals will somehow make the country more democratic. Where is the evidence that other countries who elect governments by preferential ballot, or some other form of supposed proportional representation, have governments that their citizens are more satisfied with than countries still using first past the post? I’ve never seen any, from anywhere. Their governments all seem to still fall just as far short of giving their citizens the results they want as ours do. Now why do you suppose that is?

    Because the left generally wins, the governments are almost invariably minorities and must make coalitions to govern, and minority coalitions tend to spend, spend, spend, hurting business, burdening business and citizen alike with a plethora of regulations and confiscatory taxes while going ever deeper into debt.

    Go to YouTube and search for “Bill Whittle, The Most Shameful Injustice” for examples.

Phillips forgot to mention the extreme bias of the mainly left wing media for the liberals. It was so obvious and put into question the fairness of the election when people are constantly bomb barded with anti conservative rhetoric. People like Phillips ignore the media involvement and its anti democratic implications. But then democracy is not part of the liberal left mime.

The bias of big media should be a major concern no matter ones political leanings.

    That’s right using actual numbers and political science is such a lefty thing . And big fossils are just pumping hundreds of millions of dollars into left wing think tanks and media just like they feed into the righties . Sometimes I think you actually believe the stuff you write . You poor poor righties . Sadly both PG ridings didn’t vote stratigicly . It’s going to cost you . It already has . Remember the federal gas tax kickback scheme . Nothing for PG .

      Oh dear what about all the kickbacks from the hewlet foundation, Rockefellers into the green scam, left side of the political spectrum. You lefties are so easy. Hey hows your imaginary solar system doing?

    The bias of big media is a major problem in BC and Canada, but the bias in not in favour of the left. Evidence – editorials the day before the last Federal election in Canada’s largest papers were all saying that Mr. Harper was Canada’s savior.

      What papers? I’m thinking National Post, Toronto Sun, Edmonton Sun editorials may have come out in favour of Harper but they also have a practice of presenting all sides, something that lefty media never do.

      The rest of the media were singing the praises of rock-star candidate Justin. The PG Citizen was heavily biased against Harper, the CBC was actively campaigning for Trudeau and actively campaigned against Harper. News reporting is a minor portion of CBC programing, much more of their content is commentary and it was ALL opposed to Harper.

    There’s left wing mainstream media? Where? Every major newspaper and television station in Canada was pro-conservative leading up to the last election. Editors were forced to write (or even copy/paste) pro-conservative editorials and all post media papers ran full page ads supporting the Cons. Which mainstream media was left wing?

    Are you referring to the CBC which the CPC spent 10 years trying to kill? Gee, I wonder why they’d lean left. They certainly weren’t allowed to publish editorials supporting the liberals.

      You have to be kidding.

      Editors were forced to write (or even copy/paste) pro-conservative editorials? Where did you get that idea? This isn’t the Soviet Union. Any attempt to force an editor to do that would result in every paper in the country condemning them. Full page ads supporting the Conservatives were PAID FOR by the Conservatives. The only force was the law that the media must accept paid advertising from all parties, no matter what their editorial position is.

      The CBC weren’t allowed to publish editorials supporting the liberals??? What prohibited substance were you on during the election??? Their coverage that I heard was 100% anti-Conservative!

      What colour is the sky in your world?

Not sure what point Bill is trying to make with this article. There were a number of extenuating circumstances around the last election that have to be considered.

1. The turnout of voters in 2015 over 2011 was an additional 10,216 voters.

2. The NDP basically got the same number of votes in 2011 as they did in 2015 ie; 2011-13,135 2015-13,879.

3. No significant change to the Green Vote.

4. The Conservatives dropped approx. 4755 votes and fell from 24,443 in 2011 to 19,688 in 2015.

5. The Liberals picked up 14,721 votes ie; 2,200 in 2011 to 16,921 in 2015.

So where did the Liberal gains come from?. We could say that they picked up the 4755 Conservative votes, that means than they actually picked up another 10,000+ new voters.

So the crux of this issue is not whether or not this riding is a Conservative stronghold. Obviously if you can lose 4755 votes, and still win the riding by 2767 votes over your nearest rival you have to be in a fairly strong position.

So the question then becomes. Can the Liberals hold on to their huge gains in the next election?. Considering that the bulk of their support came from new voters and disenfranchised Conservatives, this seems highly unlikely. Not only do they have to hold on to the votes that they received in 2015 they would probably have to increase their vote by at least 2500.

Without the anti Harper vote, and with the bloom coming of the flower child Justin, the probability of that happening is not very good.

It will come down to who will be the new leader of the Conservatives, and how well Trudeau does in the next four years. If the first 4 months are any indication, things don’t look so good.

    My paycheck tells me I’m not voting for Trudeau! I can make more as a labourer than as an apprentice! Isn’t that sad…

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