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Editorial — Big win for BC Liberals

A relentless campaign focused on the economy worked well for the BC Liberals, and pundits and pollsters got it completely wrong.

The B.C. electorate has decided to re-elect a BC Liberal government, with Premier Christy Clark leading a relentless campaign that was focused on the economy.

Pollsters and pundits were proven completely wrong, as virtually all of them had predicted an NDP win.

Congratulations are in order to the premier and local candidates Rich Coleman and Mary Polak, who are crucial part of her team. The two local Liberal MLAs won by decisive margins, and Coleman as provincial campaign chair played a crucial role in keeping the Liberal campaign moving along and tightly focused.

He said all along that Clark was a brilliant campaigner, and she was just that. Her campaign focused on the economy, day after day, using attack ads to highlight the record of past NDP governments and to define hr opponent Adrian Dix. It clearly resonated with voters, particularly in the Interior and areas of the Lower Mainland outside of Vancouver, where the Liberal picked up significant numbers of votes.

Key examples of that were in Chilliwack-Hope and Port Moody-Coquitlam, where NDP MLAs Gwen O’Mahony and Joe Trasolini, who won seats in byelections a year ago, were defeated by Liberal candidates.

Voters clearly wanted to see the economy continue to grow. They endorsed the LNG projects that Coleman has been busy working on.

They were unhappy with NDP leader Dix’s flip-flop on the Kinder Morgan pipeline in the midst of the election, and saw that as an indication that the NDP would wilt on major economic development projects when environmentalists applied heat.

Many also supported the Liberals because they pledged to keep a close eye on government spending — something the NDP had no intention of doing, as was indicated by their expensive campaign pledges and unwillingness to balance the budget until at least the fourth year of their mandate.

The BC Liberals now need to deliver on their pledges to balance the budget, pursue economic development projects and investment and work towards a brighter future for young people.

The disappointing thing about the election is that so few people voted. It appears that voter turnout only went up by one per cent — to 52 per cent. Almost half the registered voters didn’t bother to take part. This is a bad omen for democracy in the future, particularly as so few younger people voted.