Can David Eby defeat Christy Clark in the by-election in Vancouver-Point Grey?

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      On Wednesday (May 11), polls open at 8 a.m. for the much-anticipated by-election in Vancouver-Point Grey. (To find out where to vote, go here.)

      Most commentators say it's a shoo-in for Premier Christy Clark, who is running in the constituency vacated by former premier Gordon Campbell.

      Between 1996 and 2009, Campbell benefited from the way anti-Liberal votes split between his NDP and Green opponents.

      In addition, there's a strong B.C. Liberal organization in the constituency, so the party will have already identified likely supporters. They can expect to receive calls tomorrow reminding them to vote.

      Many commentators have suggested that Point Grey residents will like having a premier as their representative, which will offer an added incentive to vote Liberal.

      Finally, UBC students are on a summer break, which could diminish support for the NDP and Green parties.

      So is this one a done deal?

      I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest the answer is "no".

      Here are some wildcards to consider:

      Ӣ The governing party has not won a by-election in B.C. since the Socreds took Kamloops in 1981. Even Point Grey fell to the NDP after Socred Kim Campbell resigned, clearing the way for a by-election on March 15, 1989.

      Ӣ The winner of that 1989 by-election was a professional, New Democrat Dr. Tom Perry, who was running against financial analyst Michael Levy.

      Ӣ Traditionally, West Side voters have preferred voting for professionals. This was demonstrated by the numerous times that left-wing lawyer Harry Rankin was elected to council with the support of West Side voters. In 1999, only two COPE council candidates, Dr. Fred Bass and lawyer Tim Louis, were elected, thanks in part to their support on the West Side.

      Ӣ The NDP candidate in this election, Eby, is a lawyer with a high public profile. His opponent, Premier Clark, is not a professional in a riding dominated by a university.

      Ӣ Education is important to residents of this constituency, and Clark's record as education minister in the first Campbell government was less than stellar.

      Ӣ NDP supporters are highly motivated to defeat Clark. Many B.C. Liberal supporters, on the other hand, would have preferred another member of caucus to become leader ahead of Clark.

      Ӣ The NDP is riding a wave of momentum, which was on display in the federal election.

      Ӣ The Liberal brand took a beating in the federal election. Even though the provincial party has no connection to the federal Liberals, this could still have a bearing on some voters.

      ”¢ B.C. Green support fell significantly in the 2009 election. The party is running a relatively unknown rookie candidate, Franí§oise Raunet, in this by-election.

      Ӣ A former Conservative candidate, Eddie Petrossian, and a B.C. First candidate, Danielle Alie, could siphon off a few votes on the right side of the spectrum.

      Generally, constituencies with higher incomes vote Liberal, whereas low-income areas are more likely to vote NDP. This favours the B.C. Liberals, because there are lots of wealthy people in Point Grey.

      However, constituencies with a high percentage of tenants tend to skew NDP. This area has a significant number of renters, though not as many as other areas of town.

      If these tenants defy expectations and show up at the polls in huge numbers, it could be a long night for Clark.

      All things considered, pundits are pretty confident that Clark will win in a walk in tomorrow's vote. If they're wrong or if Eby even makes it close, you now know some of the reasons why.




      May 10, 2011 at 11:58pm

      I hope you're right, Charlie, but I'd be surprised if this riding elects anyone but Clark. Take away the students and it's really not as progressive as it could be—one only needs to look at the support for Campbell or Deb Meredith to see that.

      6 5Rating: +1


      May 11, 2011 at 12:14am

      The BC Liberals have no moral compass, only money and the markets and their own bottom line. We all know the BC New Democrats have always had our better interests at heart, because they do have the moral values that we all have. The values of empathy and caring for each other and our communities. David Eby has shown that empathy and those values in his work with the BC Civil Liberties.

      9 7Rating: +2

      monty/that's me

      May 11, 2011 at 8:15am

      Let's hope Eby wins. The media keep ignoring some hard facts: Ms. Christy did not complete her studies at SFU, so she is a high school graduate. She went overseas to study, but did not complete the program. She has blatantly misused public funds: riding around in a streetcar with wheels? who else can access that? declaring a housing project for 30 persons? There is a need for 6000 subsidized homes in Vancouver, only 600 have been produced so far. There is a Food Bank on the West side. I did not hear her address this issue. Finally, her rudeness and arrogance in refusing to show up at a debate (which have been totally mis-characterized by Hansen, with his fresh perm) is unacceptable. When John Cummins recently declared for the Conservatives, someone at CKNW played the tape of "Girly-girl's interview. She was screaming at him. This for Premier?

      8 4Rating: +4

      Fan'o Truth

      May 11, 2011 at 8:19am

      Finally, UBC students are on a summer break, which could diminish support for the NDP and Green parties.

      The last two provincial elections were also held in early May, so students were off to their summer jobs then too. Yet Premier Campbell's margins were just over 2,000 votes, safe from any recount, but hardly safe in a larger sense.

      8 7Rating: +1


      May 11, 2011 at 8:52am

      No, he can't beat her.

      The consistent historical support for Campbell, despite everything he did, ought to be obvious enough to answer the question.

      8 4Rating: +4


      May 11, 2011 at 9:12am

      No moral compass?? Hmmm. Let's see. Glen Clark comes to mind as an NDPer with high morals for sure ;-) The moment the NDP took power in the past was the same moment they started paying back the promises to big business. Come on! The NDP scares the heck out of me. If you want morals, vote Green :)

      8 6Rating: +2


      May 11, 2011 at 10:17am

      Question - What is Eby's position on the HST? I cannot seem to find anything indicating HST vs GST & PST. Does anyone know where I might find such information?

      8 8Rating: 0

      East Van Damn

      May 11, 2011 at 10:47am

      OK Shepsil...let's see if this gets by The Straight's editorial censors. Have you heard Eby's "moral value" stand on polygamy and pornography freedoms?

      8 8Rating: 0


      May 11, 2011 at 10:48am

      Just what qualifies Eby to be elected to public office?

      12 8Rating: +4