The Provincial Election’s Over – Now What?
Well, wasn’t that an amazing election? OK, perhaps it wasn’t exactly a barn-burner result, and the degree of policy discussion was, shall we say, disappointing. While we don’t know the final results yet (an estimated 500,000 mail-in votes are still to be counted), we do know the NDP will form a majority government.
There are four races where the current margin of victory is less than two per cent of the vote, and six others where the margin is between two and eight per cent. Because we don’t know at this point how many mail-in ballots have been returned in each riding, it’s impossible to tell whether there are enough votes to make a difference, particularly in the latter group. Mail-in votes won’t be counted until November 6 at the earliest, so Premier-elect John Horgan will have to wait a while before he can announce his new cabinet.
There are some significant holes to fill in the cabinet and the biggest one could trigger a musical-chairs-like shift in responsibilities. With Carole James now retired, the first priority for Mr. Horgan has to be filling the Finance Minister slot – which will most likely go to a trusted veteran minister from his previous government. If that person comes from another high-profile ministry (Bruce Ralston? Mike Farnworth? George Heyman? Selina Robinson?), then who will fill their spot? For avid political observers, cabinet predictions are the next “fun activity.” And, speaking of filling seats, let the speculation begin on who will become the next leader of the BC Liberal Party.
This is, however, serious business for BCREA. Particularly in the three ministries that impact us the most – Finance, Municipal Affairs and Housing and Attorney General – BCREA looks forward to working with whoever is named as the minister, though it looks like those initial meetings will be arranged virtually for the foreseeable future.
While housing policy wasn’t a major talking point during the campaign, you can rest assured that BCREA will bring the topic to the ears of the new ministers. The government had many big-ticket items on its plate before the campaign (regulatory shift and the Cullen Commission to name two) that we will pick up with the new government as cabinet members are named and the wheels start to turn again.
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