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Expert: COVID-19 pandemic making B.C. election more robotic on campaign trail

Nanaimo polling station. (Liza Yuzda, NEWS 1130 Photo)

A Professor from the University of Victoria says BC's election has been a dull affair so far

David Black says the COVID-19 pandemic is making things more robotic on the campaign trail

VICTORIA (NEWS 1130) — B.C.’s election has been held mostly online because of the pandemic, a method that a political communications expert says could squeeze voter enthusiasm out of the campaign.

Professor David Black at Victoria’s Royal Roads University says the virtual town halls, Zoom meetings and emails to voters can’t replace the tension and excitement of public all-candidates meetings and community rallies.

“It just produces the ability for us to see these revealing moments, and to see a leader, you know, challenged or shaken or, or some part of him or her, you know, show up in a way that might be off message and off-brand,” Black explains.

Voters in B.C. will elect a new government Oct. 24 after New Democrat Leader John Horgan called a snap election.

Black says Tuesday’s 90-minute televised party leaders debate could provide one of the campaign’s few unscripted events.

Horgan recently held a virtual town hall meeting where questions from participants were read to him by NDP candidate Ravi Kahlon.

Shannon Daub, the B.C. director at the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, says the pandemic has forced families, businesses and political parties to embrace online communications.

Voters in B.C. will elect a new government in just about two weeks, on Oct. 24.