Since moving to Vancouver Island twelve years ago we’ve lived in Oak Bay, the Cowichan Valley and North Saanich. All three ridings seem to have gone Green tonight.
My own sense is that Green voting is a class and virtue signifier. Oak Bay and North Saanich are very, very well off communities. Cowichan is less affluent but it is very much a retirement world where people live on not terribly generous pensions. But they are fairly secure knowing that their cheques will come.
These three ridings are also, compared to Vancouver and its suburbs, remarkably white.
The NDP and the Liberals have a see-saw battle in the Chinese and Sikh communities. In First Nations communities both parties are competitive. (I note that the winning Green candidate in my riding is a First Nations person named Adam Olsen.) But the Greens are currently confined to largely white enclaves.
Now, here is the thing: in 40 ridings the Green Party broke 15%, in 17 they broke 20%. They ran second in 6 and won 3.
There are two losers tonight: the Liberals and the NDP. And there is one winner: the Greens. They managed to split the NDP vote and likely cost the NDP a majority government.
However, where the NDP and the Liberals have no obvious room to grow their electorate, the Greens have a very good shot at expanding theirs. The fact is that the people who shop at Whole Foods, send their kids to “French Immersion” if they can’t afford private (not for racist reasons of course) and think recycling is an act of benediction are legion. They used to vote NDP, now they have an alternative.
Andrew Weaver may be a lousy climate scientist but he is not an unintelligent man. He can count (so long as it does not involve climate change time series) and there are six ridings where the Greens came second. A rational, non-coalition, support of the Liberals would let him pass legislation of greater consequence than a ban on mandatory high heels for women in serving jobs. The Liberals, who will likely be reduced to a rural rump despite having likely won the most seats, are basically being elected by BC’s version of “deplorables”. Nice people think they are a bit, well, common.
Dr. Weaver, well educated, Oak Bay resident and articulate guy that he is should be able to target those nice, white, very liberal people and peel them away from both the Liberals and the NDP. Plus, Weaver has the children who have grown up on Green ideology masquerading as education.
One winner tonight: the Greens.