Can a positive campaign win an election? B.C. will soon find out
Published Sunday, May 12, 2013 3:00PM EDT
Last Updated Sunday, May 12, 2013 4:03PM EDT
With two days of campaigning left before British Columbians head to the polls, Adrian Dix’s NDP is maintaining its lead over the governing BC Liberals. However, recent polls suggest the once significant gap between the two parties is beginning to narrow.
According to an Angus Reid Public Opinion poll conducted exclusively for CTV and the Globe and Mail, B.C.’s NDP hold a nine-point lead over the Liberals.
While Dix appears poised to win Tuesday’s election, his lead has dropped from what was seemingly an insurmountable advantage of up to 19 points.
BC Liberal Leader Christy Clark, on the other hand, has run an unrelenting negative campaign against Dix, branding the NDP as representing the end of economic growth in B.C.
So far, Dix has refused to respond to the attacks.
As the gap between the two parties narrows, some political insiders have questioned whether a positive campaign, something that’s been recently touted at the federal level by Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, can see success.
Political strategist Martyn Brown, the long-serving chief of staff to former BC Liberal premier Gordon Campbell, says a positive campaign is easier to win when there’s “an appetite for change.”
“I think fundamentally Adrian Dix has caught on to a significant shift in attitude across the country today, and I think Justin Trudeau has caught on to that as well,” Brown told CTV’s Question Period on Sunday. “People are tired of the negative, personal attacks, American-style of politics.”
Brown said he expects to see an NDP majority following Tuesday’s vote.
“The only question in my mind is the size of the NDP majority.”
Brown added, however, that Dix’s positive campaign may not necessarily see success in other elections.
“You can’t just lay back and let others beat you up,” he said. “You have to show why there is a need for change, explain how your policies will bring in change people will want…That doesn’t mean you have to be personal.”
B.C. election results to have federal implications
The outcome of the May 14 B.C. election may have implications at the federal level.
Dix has voiced his opposition to the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline proposal and said he’s unlikely to support a proposal to twin a Kinder Morgan pipeline from Alberta to B.C.
Dix has also said he would take B.C. out of a current agreement with the federal government that sees Ottawa ultimately make decisions on resources projects, such as pipelines, and challenge Ottawa’s authority over environmental approvals on such projects.
Meanwhile, Clark has promised to move ahead with natural gas fracking in B.C., which could pose a challenge to Alberta’s oil dominance.