Jody Wilson-Raybould announces that she will run as a independent in the fall election during a news conference in Vancouver, Monday, May 27, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

Jody Wilson-Raybould announces that she will run as a independent in the fall election during a news conference in Vancouver, Monday, May 27, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

COLUMN: Priorities in a divided province following 2019 election

Black Press Media columnist Frank Bucholtz on the fallout for B.C.

Federal election results provide more proof that B.C. is a very divided province politically.

The Liberals won 11 B.C. seats on election night, down from a high of 18 seats in 2018 (after a byelection win). The Conservatives jumped from 10 MPs elected in 2015 to 17. The NDP lost ground, going from 14 seats to 11. The Greens stayed at two, and there is now an independent MP from B.C., Jody Wilson-Raybould, the former Liberal justice minister.

Where the parties hold seats varies dramatically. The Liberals are an urban party, with every seat in the Metro Vancouver area. The Conservatives are a rural and suburban party. The NDP has five seats on Vancouver Island in mostly suburban and rural ridings, with the exception of Victoria. They hold two seats in the Interior, two in Vancouver and two in the Metro Vancouver suburbs. One of those is held by party leader Jagmeet Singh. The Greens hold two Vancouver Island seats. Saanich–Gulf Islands is held by party leader Elizabeth May.

What will this very split representation bring to B.C., under a Liberal minority government?

READ MORE: B.C. shone bright for major parties in 2019 federal election

The NDP theoretically holds the balance of power, but the prime minister has already made it clear he plans to govern without support from any other party. This follows the playbook of his predecessor Stephen Harper, who headed two minority governments from 2006-2011.

The NDP will hold some sway, but the party will not be able to stop the Trans Mountain pipeline project. Both Justin Trudeau and Finance Minister Bill Morneau have made it clear the project will proceed. The Liberals do want to move forward on climate change initiatives, although the party has not been very clear on what steps it will take to meet Paris Accord targets, other than impose a modest carbon tax in provinces that did not have one.

The NDP may have more clout with housing affordability. The Liberals had introduced a National Housing Strategy, but the New Democrats want to dramatically increase the supply of housing. One idea proposed was to get 500,000 housing units under construction, as compared with the Liberal platform calling for 100,000 over 10 years. Lack of supply is a key reason for both higher sale prices and higher rents.

The provincial government on Thursday (Oct. 23) brought in a bill to adopt the United Nations declaration on the rights of Indigenous people, and gradually apply it to B.C. statutes. This proposal has been on the federal to-do list since the 2015 election, but has yet to be completed. It is quite likely that the federal government will move ahead on this front in the near future. One supporter of any move in that direction will be Wilson-Raybould, a former regional chief of the BC Assembly of First Nations.

Infrastructure spending on transportation is important to many. In Metro Vancouver, much of the focus has been on additional funding to expand SkyTrain and improve the bus system.

Outside Metro Vancouver, there have been many calls for highway improvements, particularly to Highway 1 in the Fraser Valley and from Kamloops to the Alberta border. Some projects are underway, but much remains to be done to significantly improve the major artery between B.C. and the rest of the country. B.C. residents will be watching Ottawa closely to see what transportation priorities it brings forward, and when.

RELATED: Scheer says Canada more divided than ever, as NDP and Bloc hold cards close

Frank Bucholtz is a columnist and former editor at Black Press Media

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Heather P. (Right) and Hope Buy-Low Foods store manager Pauline Newbigging (left) show off Heather’s winnings as she enjoys free groceries for a year. The prize package from Buy-Low, one of six chain-wide, is valued at more than $5,000. (Photo/Pauline Newbigging)
Hope Buy-Low shopper wins free groceries for a year

Prize package from MYNR app valued at $5,200

Signs geared to protecting salmon habitat were damaged at the Fraser River near Chilliwack. (Facebook)
New signs for protecting Fraser River habitat near Chilliwack vandalized

Fishery officers want off-road users to enjoy river resource in the ‘least damaging way possible’

A real estate sold sign hangs in front of a Canadian property Friday, Nov. 4, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy.
Fraser Valley Real Estate Board breaks sales records 6 months in a row

‘Levels never seen before in the 100-year history of the FVREB’

(Black Press file photo)
Harrison Mills boy, 11, dies from ‘extensive injuries’: Homicide team

Agassiz RCMP were called out Friday to assist with a child in medical distress

Rendering of proposed homeless shelter and supportive housing facility on Rowat Avenue and Trethewey Avenue in Chilliwack. (BC Housing)
Supportive housing and shelter proposed to replace the Portal in Chilliwack

Province looking to fast-track hybrid proposal for 50 supportive homes and 40 shelter spaces

The area on Cordova Bay Road where ancestral human remains were discovered Feb. 22. (Submitted photo)
Human remains discovery a reminder of B.C. Indigenous culture dug up and displaced

‘These are the people who inspired and birthed the generations that we now have here’

Older rental apartments are prime candidates for renovations, and could result in lost affordable housing stock. (Zoë Ducklow photo)
B.C.’s renoviction overhaul a good start, but won’t preserve affordable stock, lawyer says

And still no protection for people who can’t pay rent due to COVID-19

(Photo by Marissa Baecker/Shoot the Breeze)
B.C. WHL teams to hit the ice with Kelowna, Kamloops hub cities

Kelowna, Kamloops centres chosen to host B.C. WHL teams for 24-game regular season

A memorial to Hudson Brooks outside the South Surrey RCMP detachment. (File photo)
Surrey officer who fatally shot Hudson Brooks recounts ‘absolutely terrifying’ incident

Const. Elizabeth Cucheran testified at coroner’s inquest Tuesday morning

The machines are akin to ATMs and allow drug users at risk of overdose to get hydromorphone pills dispensed to them after their palm has been scanned to identify its unique vein pattern. (CANADIAN PRESS)
Feds dole out $3.5M for ‘vending machines’ to dispense safer opioids in B.C.

The machines are located in four cities across Canada, including Vancouver and Victoria

Kelowna’s lakefront visitor centre is one of 130 around the province. Tourism businesses have been hardest hit by COVID-19 restrictions on travel. (Destination B.C.)
Tourism, small business getting COVID-19 help, B.C. minister says

$300M grant program has delivered $50 million so far

The incident happened in downtown Castlegar. Photo: Betsy Kline
Castlegar teen recounts stabbing after stranger breaks into grandmother’s house

The unnamed teen survived a terrifying attack Feb. 21

Most Read