NDP hopes to make gains in B.C. during federal election as Conservative MPs retire

Federal NDP candidates are hoping to gain new ground in B.C. in the upcoming election as some long-time Conservative MPs retire.

“I think the Conservatives are losing ground in B.C.,” Vancouver East MP Libby Davies told the Straight by phone from Ottawa following a nonconfidence vote that found the Harper government in contempt of Parliament.

Davies argued the departure of Conservative “stalwarts” such as Stockwell Day, John Cummins, and Chuck Strahl from could lead to new opportunities for the NDP during a campaign.

“We feel very strong about making some very good gains in B.C.,” she said. "There’s going to be some very interesting races."

Doug McArthur, a public policy expert at Simon Fraser University, predicted the party does have the potential to gain some new seats in B.C. He predicted some ridings such as Burnaby-Douglas will largely be Conservative-NDP contests.

“I think the NDP has some reasons for optimism about improving its number of seats a little bit,” he said.

He said the Liberals could see some decline in seats, while the Conservatives and the Greens could make some gains.

Davies said affordable housing will be one of the key issues for the NDP during the election campaign, which is expected to be launched Saturday.

“That was one of the most glaring emissions in the federal budget, there was no mention of housing in all 350 pages,” she said. “It’s a huge issue in Metro Vancouver. I actually cannot believe that the Conservatives just don’t get it.”

She said other campaign issues will include protection of B.C.’s north coast from oil tanker traffic, climate change, immigration, seniors and childcare.

“What kind of connects it all is I think a real loss of confidence in the Conservative government,” said Davies. “It is about who wins and who loses. Why is it that these big banks get massive corporate tax cuts, when other people are hurting so badly?”

Davies said the NDP, which supported the Liberal nonconfidence motion along with the Bloc Quebecois, would have voted against the budget once it came to a vote.

“We’re members of Parliament, we represent our constituencies, we represent the public interest, and when Parliament by a majority expresses its non-confidence in the government and finds contempt, that is a really serious matter, so I think Stephen Harper has got nothing to be proud of,” she said.

Davies expressed her disappointment with what she said were efforts on the part of the Conservatives to stop a bill aimed at allowing better access to affordable medicines for developing countries.

Bill C-393 passed in the House of Commons and was sent to the Conservative-dominated Senate.

“We found out that the industry minister Mr. Clement sent an e-mail to Conservative senators telling them not to vote for it, and this is a bill that passed in the House of Commons,” said Davies.

“I think people feel it’s just so undemocratic and so high-handed and so outrageous that they would dare to kill something that actually is of very basic importance to people globally.”

Other bills that will die in the Senate include Bill C-389, B.C. MP Bill Siksay's bill on transgender rights.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper is expected to meet with the governor general Saturday to trigger a May election.

Comments (10) Add New Comment
UWSofty
Go NDP. Send the HarperCons packing.
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Rudy Haugeneder
Rebel. Get interested. It's fun.
This is the election when the Green Party of Canada jumps from its normal 10 percent of the popular vote to 15 percent -- enough for a handful of seats in Parliament and a strong pro-enviro ­nment and social conscience voice led by Green Party leader Elizabeth May.
Just think, Greens in Parliament -- and honest political discussion that counts. What more could one ask for to get Canadians interested in politics?
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nic
Rudy - Sadly, the Greens will never get a seat in Parliament until we change the electoral system.
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Terry J. Nanaimo
Layton and the NDP tried to get poverty-line Seniors $5.00 a day. I can respect that. I trust Jack Layton.

Harper says $2.00 a day is enough. He plans to spend the other $3.00 on Jets and Jails. I can't respect that. I don't trust Stephen Harper.

Trust has been broken. Respect has been lost.

Vote for Change.
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Taxpayers R Us
lol oh man, only the NDP.

"That guy's retiring- we should forfeit all of our property and savings and give it to socialists..we've been wrong all these years!"
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Terry J. Nanaimo
@ Taxpayers R Us.....Thank-you for your comments and your respect.

Reading the article / speaking to the issues takes effort and requires brainpower. I'm on your side with encouragement.

First, put down the smoke, pull up the pants, wipe your nose and read on.
As a capitalist and market economy supporter, I need a balance of rules, regulations and taxation in order compete with a reasonable chance of success.

The keyword is balance which includes (surprise)... people and Social Justice issues. Business likes a healthy,educated work force, safety, hospitals, good roads and bridges. The cost of business goes up when social values get ignored.

Harper agrees; these things are fundamental. Yet his ultra-conservative agenda increases the social deficit by under-funding/ ignoring CPP, GIC, Healthcare in remote communities, to name a few issues. This won't be good for the country down the road.

Give yourself some credit, stop the knee-jerk insults, "crack a book", read - then write.

Meanwhile, Harper gave no respect, he'll get no respect. Its time to throw the b*stard out.





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Aspen
Who is going to be the NDP candidate for Vancouver Centre?
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Looking for Real News
The conservatives have lost the trust of Canadians.

For this governemnt to fall under a contempt of parliament would have been considered a scandal for any party other than the one whose backers control the mainstream media. It would have been a big scandal only a few years ago. I dont hear the press pounding the drums on this and that leaves most of us cynical. Harper and his crew have got to be sent packing!

Anyone trying to blame the opposition parties for this election need to give their heads a shake. Harpers polling #'s were looking good for a crack at a majority (shudder) and the conservatives have manipulated it to try and appear to be the victums. This gov't has had us all bent over grabbing our ankles and we wonder where has all of the money gone? It certainly hasnt been invested in the care and keep for our most vulnerable citizens.Harper should slink away in shame.
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Taxpayers R Us
@Terry

I agree with you on the Harper bit, that guy is a scourge and needs to go.

But I find that the idea of voters' ideologies so easily shifting between such extremes on the basis of people retiring and Harper being Harper makes me laugh.

Between socialist and middle-of-the-road (in theory), sure..between conservative and middle-of-the-road, sure.

But Republican to Socialist? Do you foresee any NDP supporters backing Harper if their favourite tree hugger retires or shows their true colours?

Not bloody likely.

Just so you know there, Terry - I did read the article first, I always do, with Gwynne Dyer's writing being the exception that proves the rule. Oh,and I don't smoke ;)
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Eastendian
I am scared that this election is going to give the Cons a majority.
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