I have a 100 per cent, take it to the bank, sure-fire cannot lose election night prediction for you — Kamloops-North Thompson Green candidate Thomas Martin will be incommunicado on the big day.
How do I know this? Easy — we received a press release from campaign manager Matt Greenwood, reminding us that Martin is getting married on election day (Oct. 24) and, as such, he will be unavailable for comment from Friday night through to Sunday morning.
I would hope so. And, in the spirit of all things election-related, advance congrats to the soon-to-be newlyweds.
While Martin gets married, the question remains — will voters decide to divorce candidates in their ridings? And with whom will love be lost and found — or, as in the unfortunate case of Laurie Throness down in Chilliwack, annulled?
Election day is this Saturday and, while the 700,000-plus mail-in vote packages requested means the final results will not be known for about two weeks later, we will have a pretty good idea of which way the political landscape is tilting come Oct. 24.
Proffering political predictions can be a fool’s game, as many of us remember from the shocking 2013 provincial election, which saw the B.C. NDP snatch defeat from the jaws of certain victory. But I shall risk being a fool (those who know me might quip the risk is not that great) and offer up what will happen once the final ballots are counted.
Locally, the two Kamloops ridings will return the incumbent B.C. Liberal MLAs to Victoria. Yes, Todd Stone will win in Kamloops-South Thompson and Peter Milobar will claim a harder-fought victory in Kamloops-North Thompson.
The triumphs will be aided by the power of incumbency in a very strange election campaign in which the most important factor — meeting people — was severely impacted.
But Stone’s re-election will snap a remarkable 117-year streak in the riding of voters always electing a government MLA. Through 32 provincial elections — from Conservative Frederick John Fulton in 1903 to Stone in 2017 — voters in Kamloops-South Thompson (formerly Kamloops) have never elected an opposition member of the legislature. That all changes when the votes in this election are finalized, sometime next month.
Provincially, we will welcome a majority NDP government, with John Horgan and his team riding a well-received pandemic response to the polls, where voters will decide to stick with what they know, rather than risk the unknown during a once-in-a lifetime health and economic crisis.
It will be exactly what happened in 2013, when polls belied what voters were thinking — that the economy and their households were better off in the hands of what they knew, rather than risk handing them to the unknown.
It also helps the New Democrats that Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson simply does not have it. A lack of charisma, incessant complaining about the NDP and ideas that do not resonate with voters will lead to a leadership race in the new year.
Might Stone yet lead the Good Ship Liberal?
There are 87 seats up for grabs in this first-past-the-post election. Here is how they will shake out once final tabulations are complete:
B.C. NDP: 52
B.C. Liberal: 32
B.C. Green: 3
I may be wrong, and I often am, but I’d wager I am closer to being right.