B.C.'s other political parties
Last Updated: Monday, May 4, 2009 | 2:42 PM PT
Most British Columbians are familiar with the province's most popular political parties, the Liberals, the NDP and the Greens, but there are 29 other parties also registered with Elections BC for the May 12 election.
While most are unlikely to win the election, or even capture a seat, they could affect the outcome by drawing votes away from the main parties in close races.
Here's a selection of some of the other political parties. For more information on registered parties check out the Elections BC website.
B.C. Conservative Party
B.C.'s modern day Conservative party traces its roots to 1903 when the provincial arm of the federal Conservative party was first organized in B.C. Until the 1950s, the Conservatives dominated B.C. politics, but eventually lost support to the Liberals, and then the Social Credit party.
The party has undergone many changes and has not held a seat since 1986, but recent polls have shown a base of support, particularly in the Fraser Valley east of Vancouver and the southern Interior. In 2008, the party underwent a merger with the British Columbia Unity Party and in February 2009, its leadership survived a challenge that went all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada. The current leader is Wilf Hanni.
The party ran seven candidates in the 2005 provincial election and is running at least 14 candidates in the 2009 election. Ideologically, the party favours a limited role for government and emphasizes personal freedom and responsibility for citizens.
B.C. Marijuana Party
The B.C. Marijuana Party (BCMP) was formed following the 2000 federal election by prominent marijuana advocate Marc Emery, who remains the party's president despite facing extradition to the United States for selling marijuana seeds from Canada by mail-order.
In 2001, the party received 51,206 votes or 3.22 per cent of the popular vote, but captured no seats. In the 2005 election, the party fielded 44 candidates, who won a total of 11,519 votes, or 0.64 per cent, again without winning a seat.
While the party plans to run two candidates in the upcoming vote to meet the province's election rules, it will be supporting the Green Party of British Columbia, according to the BCMP website.
B.C. Refederation Party
With a slogan of "Less Ottawa – More B.C.!," the B.C. Refederation Party advocates a fundamental reform of the way the province is governed.
The three main policy initiatives of the party are:
- Installing a B.C. constitution that would place the people as the ultimate authority, rather than the premier-chosen Lieutenant Governor.
- New referendum and recall legislation to allow citizens to pass or veto changes in government directly.
- Renegotiating with Ottawa provincial rights the party believes were unlawfully infringed on by the federal Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
The party, which is led by Mike Summers, is running 22 candidates in the 2009 B.C. General Election. In 2005 the party ran four candidates and won just over 650 votes in total. The party was formed in 2000 as the Western Independence Party of B.C., and advocated western separatism before adopting its current name and platform.
B.C. Social Credit Party
The Social Credit party is a mere shell of the political machine that dominated the province's political scene for four decades between its inception in 1949 and the 1991 election, when it essentially collapsed. The party has not had an elected member since being shut out in the 1996 election, when it garnered a mere 0.4 per cent of the vote.
The party is reportedly not entering any candidates in the upcoming election and has no leader.
Communist Party of B.C.
The Communist Party of B.C., the provincial arm of the Communist Party of Canada, traces its roots back to 1945, when it was known as the Labour Progressive Party.
In 2001, the party nominated four candidates, who received a total of 381 votes, or 0.02 per cent of the provincial total. None were elected.
In 2005, the party nominated three candidates, who won a total of 227 votes, or 0.01 per cent of the provincial total. Again, none were elected.
The party plans to run three candidates in the upcoming election.
Reform Party of B.C.
The Reform Party of British Columbia (Reform B.C.) was registered in 1983.
The right-wing party ran four candidates in the 1991 provincial election and received 2,673 votes, or 0.18 per cent of the popular vote. In 1994, the party was officially recognized with four MLAs sitting in the legislature. They were defectors from the collapsed Social Credit party.
In the 1996 election, Reform B.C. nominated candidates in all 75 ridings and garnered 146,734 votes, or 9.27 per cent of the popular vote. The party retained two seats in the legislature, while two sitting MLAs were defeated. Candidates from the party failed to gain any seats in the 2001 and 2005 elections.
The Sex Party
The Sex Party was founded in British Columbia in 2005, with a goal of promoting a sex-positive culture and positive attitudes towards sexual education, indecency laws and prostitution
In the 2005 provincial election, the party nominated three candidates, who won a total of 305 votes, or 0.02 per cent of the provincial total. None were elected.
The party plans to run three candidates again in 2009.
Work Less Party of B.C.
The Work Less Party of British Columbia was formed in 2003, with its primary goal being a 32-hour work week. The party had 11 candidates in the 2005 provincial election, who won a total of 1,496 votes or 0.09 per cent of the provincial total. None of the candidates were elected.
In that election, the party said its goals were to champion the economic, environmental and social advantages of a reduced work week, endorse candidates from other parties who support a shorter work week, and encourage people to vote. The party's slogan is "Workers of the world relax."Work Less Party of B.C.
Corrections and Clarifications
- The B.C. Refederation Party would seek to renegotiate provincial rights with the federal government, not pull the province out of Confederation as was originally reported in this article. May 9, 2009 | 6 p.m. PT