Keeping it Real…

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This Time … a Green Vote Really IS a Liberal Vote!

April 24th, 2017 · 31 Comments

Few voters, provincially or federally, have ever expected the Greens to actually win an election and take power.

They can’t win this time either … but Green supporters can wield more power than ever before … determining the outcome!

I have voted Green … both federally (before they became wildly extreme) and provincially … partly as a protest vote, partly to encourage their environmentally positive ideas, and partly to give them a financial boost under public-funding incentives.  (However, over the years, as an independent voter, I have also voted for every other major party as well.)

But let’s keep it real: almost no one believed the Greens would ever actually win or that the Green  vote was large enough to materially affect the election results, under our first-past-the-post electoral system.

Not so this time.

In the 2013 BC election, the Greens captured 8.15% of the popular vote … compared to 44.13% for the Liberals, and 39.72% for the NDP.

Of course, it would have been POSSIBLE for the NDP to win over enough Green votes to propel themselves past the Liberals into power …but it would have required a major proportional shift in Green numbers.

Not this time.

Green voters could ultimately decide whether the Liberals will win another four years in power or if the NDP take over.

In a recent Mainstreet/PostMedia poll, the Greens drew 15% support province-wide and 38% on Vancouver Island. The NDP scored 32% support province-wide, while the Liberals came in at 30%.

Province-wide, that’s DOUBLE the Greens’ accomplishment in the last BC election … still nowhere close to achieving office   … but substantially more than last election … large enough numbers that if enough were exercised  strategically to defeat the Liberals and went over to the NDP,  Green power could end the Liberal reign.

The NDP believe they can do that on their own …  but they’re also no doubt very aware how help from Green supporters could almost guarantee it.

And Green supporters would no doubt influence an NDP government’s policies more than they now affect the Liberals.

Of course, I realize there are dedicated Green activists/voters who could never be swayed, and their belief in the long term message/ideology of the party should not be underestimated.

BUT what about those who are  Green “light” …. they like some of what they have heard and/or they just want to protest?

How THEY end up  casting their ballots could have a major impact in the May 9 election result.

Which makes what the two Opposition leaders’ say Wednesday night in their TV debate more intriguing than ever.

Harv Oberfeld

(Reminder: You can get First Alerts of all new postings on this BC blog by following @harveyoberfeld on Twitter.  No spam. just blog alerts.  And you can hear h.o. talk about the election on )



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Little in Promises/Platforms for MOST of Us!

April 19th, 2017 · 81 Comments

No wonder voter turnout is so dismal.

Anyone who listens to the politicians, reads the party platforms, hears the speeches and follows the news accounts of all the promises made will soon realize ….  if they really stop and think … there’s VERY LITTLE in any it for MOST of us!


I know we’re supposed to vote for the collective good: what’s best for society; what will help those who need it most; what will protect the planet; and, what will make our grandkids proud.

Let’s keep it real: more often than not, people vote PRIMARILY  their own interests: what will be best for THEM … lower taxes, cut costs and provide better services they actually need and use.

I used to vote more based on ideals …when I was working, made a good salary, had money left over at the end of each pay period, and was willing to contribute more to help repair the world.   And regularly hummed “We are the world …”


Now, 11 years after living on a BCTV pension that has not had a single cost of living increase, no medical coverage, no dental, etc. I have  …like so many others … struggled with (in addition to all the usual personal spending cost increases) HUGE boosts as well in EVERY government-imposed and regulated living cost, including provincial income tax, federal income tax, municipal taxes, school taxes, transit taxes, regional taxes, parking fees and residential permit fees, ICBC charges, Hydro fees, gasoline taxes and, of course sales taxes (provincial and federal) on almost everything else.  And don’t get me started once more on MSP.


So, like MANY other voters, I have been watching the promises, this time wondering:  What’s in it for ME???

And like MANY other voters, the answer is: not very much.

Foreign buyers’ home tax; empty house speculation tax; higher property tax transfer fees for homes over $3 million; eliminating grizzly bear hunt in the Great Rain Forest; $10/month or free daycare; $400 annual rent subsidy; urgent care centres in underserved areas;  increased spending on education; interest-free student loans; higher welfare and disability rates or basic guaranteed income program; more park rangers …. all wonderful for those who need them … but NONE of them will do anything to help pay MY bills.

In fact, they’ll likely make things WORSE for most of us in the middle, who they’ll hit to pay for them all.

Elimination of bridge tolls; BC/coastal ferries price freeze; lifetime capital gains tax on more than $750,000; removal of the surtax on those earning over $150,000/year; increases in corporate tax rate; millions for high speed internet in rural areas; Site C dam construction …or cancellation; and, boosting corporate tax rate; higher carbon taxes …. NO BENEFITS for me to rush to the polls.

But again, those of us who benefit least or not at all, will be hit to pay for these promises.

Many of us could benefit, however, from a Hydro freeze … but only temporarily; scrapping MSP … but likely not for years more; free foot-passenger ferry rides weekdays for seniors … they’ll probably raise parking rates at terminals to compensate; and a freeze in ICBC rates …again, only temporary, at best … all in all,  really NOT MUCH for most middle class voters!

And who knows what unannounced plans, increases, fees and surcharges the leaders/parties have not told us about or will develop to force middle income voters to pay for all those things mentioned that will benefit their big supporters and target bases!

The scary truth … in the end, whoever does win, the vast majority of us will gain little or nothing … but will just end up paying more, more, more for programs that benefit others.

Maybe that’s why BC provincial election turnout of eligible voters has fallen from 70.5% in 1983 to 59.1% in 1996; 50.9% in 2009; and, 55.3% in 2013.

Harv Oberfeld

(Reminder: Leaders’ Debate… this Thursday April 20 on News 1130 (on air and on Internet) from 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m.  Listen closely to see what promises YOU will benefit from …or just be hit for more taxes/fees.  )

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