Opinion Column

A neck-and-neck election

By Steve Burgess

BC Liberal party leader Christy Clark arrives at the Liberal HQ to speak to supporters after the Provincial election, Vancouver, May 10 2017. Gerry Kahrmann / PNG staff photo)

BC Liberal party leader Christy Clark arrives at the Liberal HQ to speak to supporters after the Provincial election, Vancouver, May 10 2017. Gerry Kahrmann / PNG staff photo)

Remember the Simpsons episode when the family gets a swimming pool and Lisa suddenly discovers she has become very, very popular? Tuesday night, Green Party leader Andrew Weaver magically acquired a swimming pool.

With three Green seats and the Liberals and NDP in a near-dead heat, Weaver is now like a combination of the high school quarterback and head cheerleader.

Imagine the wooing and schmoozing John Horgan and Christy Clark will be doing this week.

"Look, Andrew--I got you a new bicycle!"

"No, look over here Andrew—it's a new Tesla!"

"Damn you and your big money, Premier Clark.”

There wasn't a whole lot of excitement in this campaign. Turns out they were saving it up. This was the closest election in BC in 65 years.

Anyone in this province old enough to remember the last minority government probably also remembers the invention of rock 'n' roll. How close was it?

When former Global News reporter Jas Johal appeared to win his race in Richmond-Queensborough, Global looked to be only a Steve Darling victory away from holding the balance of power. Squire Barnes could have been appointed to cabinet as Minister for Draft Picks. (Darling, the former Global host, eventually lost his Burnaby-Lougheed race to the NDP candidate Katrina Chen. As for Johal, his apparent victory is now the subject of a recount. It was that kind of night.)

As for the pollsters, they pulled a dirty trick on everyone by being almost exactly right. Most polls had predicted a close call with the NDP and Liberals neck and neck. But after the shocking result of the last election we had all collectively decided that pollsters were fools and nincompoops, so for them to turn around and nail the result this time just seems rude and inconsiderate. A person doesn't know what to expect anymore.

The dust has not settled from this vote. There are absentee ballots yet to count and several recounts expected, which will take weeks.

Clark's Liberals could still eke out a majority. But as it stands Andrew Weaver and the Green Party hold the key with their three-seat caucus — not even an official party in the legislature (that takes four seats) yet still the most popular party in Victoria.

I hope Weaver likes flowers and chocolates and candlelight dinners — I have a feeling he is going to be putting on a few pounds in the weeks to come.