British Columbia

It's been 2 years since the B.C. NDP formed government. How is it faring?

Thursday marked two years since the NDP took power in British Columbia — with John Horgan being sworn in as premier on July 18, 2017 — and there has been no shortage of storylines to follow since.

Housing policies have been aggressive and climate change is a let-down to voters

Premier Horgan takes an oath with Lieutenant-Governor Judith Guichon as he's sworn in as premier at Government House in Victoria on July 18, 2017. (Chad Hipolito/Canadian Press)

Thursday marked two years since the B.C. NDP took power — with John Horgan being sworn in as premier on July 18, 2017 — and there has been no shortage of storylines to follow since. 

Sanjay Jeram, a senior lecturer in political science at Simon Fraser University, has been watching intently for the last two years — keeping an eye on where the NDP has delivered on promises and where voters may be disappointed. 

Housing is one area where the provincial government could be "most pleased," he said. 

"No one could disagree that they've been fairly aggressive with the slew of various taxes and measures that they've introduced," Jeram said. 

"Now, obviously there's divided opinions about how successful they've been in terms of affordability — most of the price reductions have been in more expensive properties — but certainly it has brought a little more enthusiasm."

Housing policies over the past two years have been 'aggressive' but the impact on affordability for the average renter is debatable. (David Horemans/CBC)

But for many voters, climate change is a sticking point. 

"That's where voters are most disappointed with this government,"  Jeram told CBC's On The Coast.

"They haven't fulfilled the promise of trying to block the pipeline extension and that's certainly hurting their numbers."

The problem with the pipeline, Jeram said, is that the NDP has become "wedged" on the issue — losing support from those for and against the pipeline. 

"They're losing both sides on that," he said.  

Vancouver students protest climate change in May. Jeram says it's an issue that seems to most concern British Columbians — even those too young to vote. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

Green alliance 

The NDP is in power because of a Green Party alliance that was formed post-election and, although there seemed to be a lot of uncertainty around that partnership in the early days, Jeram said it's been relatively successful. 

"For those watching from outside of B.C., it's definitely a good example of how there are options other than majority government," he said. "An informal coalition can work."

But that doesn't mean it makes a significant difference when it comes to final decisions. 

"I'm not sure that the actual policy results that we've seen over these two years really would be that much different with a majority NDP government," Jeram added, mentioning issues like electoral reform and the Kinder Morgan pipeline. 

"The NDP has definitely worked with the Greens on these issues but, ultimately, they haven't really had to make any big sacrifices."

But, he said, it's a partnership he expects to see last the next two years. 

"Given that the Greens have dealt with the various crises of this coalition and they have not tried to bring down the government — a lot can happen in two more years, but it seems as though they're likely to see it through to the end of the four-year term." 

This week marks two years since the NDP took power in British Columbia — with John Horgan being sworn in as premier on July 18, 2017 — and there has been no shortage of storylines to follow since. 10:11

With files from On The Coast

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