VICTORIA (NEWS 1130) – It’s no secret the Kelowna West riding is a Liberal strong-hold, and it has been since that riding was created in 2008.
As Premier John Horgan calls a byelection for that riding, a UBC political scientist says there’s little doubt the Liberals will win back the seat left vacant after former premier Christy Clark left politics last summer.
“It’s part of what used to be already strong Social Credit and then, Liberal territory up there and I looked at the data on that riding and in it’s modern form, it basically runs about 60 per cent Liberal,” professor Allan Tupper explains. “The NDP generally runs a reasonable, but not directly competitive at about 30 per cent quite normally.”
He says it’s likely Ben Stewart will win back the seat he gave up in 2013, so Clark could become Premier, after she lost the Vancouver-Point Grey riding to the NDP.
“It’s definitely a seat the Liberals would anticipate holding,” he adds. “That’s what everybody will be looking for. You know, any number of things could lead to an upset and it’s a very difficult legislature to operate and it’s going to continue to require lots of skills. Some sort of hold in the agreement between the NDP and the Green too is very essential to that.”
The Liberals currently have 41 of the 87 seats in the legislature, but the NDP/Green coalition gives them a combined 44 MLA’s.
Clark’s Liberals tried to form a minority government after the May election, but the party was defeated in a non-confidence vote after the New Democrats and Green party formed an alliance.
Shelley Cook, a former John Howard Society executive director, will represent the New Democrats in the riding, while the BC Green Party has nominated Robert Stupka, an engineer and certified passive house designer.
The byelection is planned for February 14th.