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EDITORIAL: New party has potential to alter B.C. politics

There are now four parties in the B.C. Legislature
Bruce Banman’s decision to leave BC United to join the Conservative Party of BC could affect provincial politics. (File photo)

Bruce Banman’s decision to leave BC United and join the Conservative Party of BC changes the dynamics of the British Columbia Legislature.

The most immediate change is that there are now four parties with official party status represented in the Legislature.

At present, the New Democratic Party has 57 of 87 seats in the Legislature. BC United, formerly the BC Liberals, have 26 seats and the Green Party and the Conservative Party of BC each have two seats.

Under the present seat distribution in the Legislature, with a New Democrat majority, the presence of a small party will have little impact on the balance of power among the parties.

However, the power structure in the Legislature could change after the next election, expected in 2024.

Following the 2017 election, the Green Party, with three seats, held the balance of power as neither the New Democrats nor the Liberals had a majority of the seats. A small party can have a lot of significance.

At the same time, while the Conservative Party of BC now has official status in the Legislature, the party will need to prove itself to voters in the next election.

Neither of the two Conservative MLAs, Banman and John Rustad, were elected as Conservatives. Both had been elected as BC Liberals before becoming Conservatives. Will voters elect candidates under a provincial Conservative banner?

With more than a year before the next expected provincial election, now is the time to learn about the parties who will be on the ballot. In the case of the Conservative Party of BC, this is the time to listen to the two members of this party and observe how they conduct themselves.

What they say and do now has the potential to bring about some significant shifts after the next provincial election.

— Black Press