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B.C. election: The stories within the story

Last Updated Oct 24, 2020 at 10:05 am PST

(CityNews)
Summary

We're taking a look at some of the stand-out storylines in this provincial election, ahead of polls closing

From controversy in Chilliwack-Kent, to younger candidates vying for your vote, here's some of what we're watching

The polls close at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 24

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) — The usual storylines play out whenever an election is held, whether it be a municipal, federal, or, in this case, a provincial one.

Here are some of the ones we’ll be keeping an eye on as the polls are set to close at 8 p.m. this Saturday.

Chilliwack-Kent

Dogged by opponents during this campaign for his right-wing views on issues connected to the LGBTQ community, Chilliwack-Kent candidate Laurie Throness resigned from the BC Liberal Party just over a week before the vote, after he described the BC NDP promise to provide free birth control as having “a whiff of the old eugenics.”

Throness followed that up by announcing the following day that he would remain in the election, and will sit in the Legislature as an independent if he’s re-elected.

The Chilliwack-Kent riding will be an interesting one to watch, as Throness is up against another independent candidate, a representative for the Libertarian Party, as well as candidates for the NDP and the Greens. Chilliwack-Kent is considered a very conservative riding, with Throness — already a two-term MLA — easily winning the riding in 2017. As such, it remains to be seen whether the electorate continues to stay the course with Throness as an independent, and whether he could play a role in the eventual formation of the next government.

Youth candidates

This year has seen a number of young people step up to the plate. While its not unusual for young people to wade into the political fray, the fact there are three people under the age of 20 contesting this year’s election does speak to the desire of younger people to campaign for change.

The youngest candidate contesting the vote is Kate O’Connor. Seventeen years old when she announced her campaign to run for the BC Greens, Elections BC is allowing her to run in Saanich South because she just recently turned 18. And while the polling doesn’t seem to be in her favour, if O’Connor were to somehow pull out an upset, she would become the youngest person ever to take up a seat in the Legislature. By comparison, New Democrat Bowinn Ma held the previous title of ‘whipper-snapper’ in Victoria at the age of 35.

Political Rookies

As one political observer suggested just ahead of the writ being dropped, “it’s often good for political parties to say goodbye to the old to make way for the new.” This comment had nothing to do with age — but rather experience.

Ahead of John Horgan pulling the trigger on the election, the New Democrat leader had shed seven of his cabinet ministers, who decided not to run in the snap election. This includes his long-standing and steadfast deputy, Carole James, who had earlier announced her intention to step aside for health reasons. However, the other six decided they did not (for various reasons) feel they could come along for the ride with their NDP colleagues. Not all of their replacements on the ballot are political neophytes, but it does create an interesting dynamic, as these people are competing for seats which might otherwise have been likely ‘locks’ for the New Democrats.

The BC Liberals and — to an even greater extent — the BC Greens are running many political rookies as well. As such, the portrait for the Class of 2020 in Victoria is certainly going to look a lot different to 2017 once the outcomes are finally decided, whenever that might be.

Mother Nature

This year’s “COVID vote” has generated a record number of mail-in ballots, with many fearing the idea of standing in line among their fellow voters. However, polling places throughout B.C. are still going to be open through Saturday, with each party pressing to ‘get out the vote.’

But for those who might otherwise be hesitant to vote in-person during a pandemic, will the added hassle of rain, snow, or wind be the straw that breaks the camel’s back and keeps them from voting? And if this becomes more than just a thought experiment, who would gain or lose by having a low turnout on voting day?

These are just a few of the numerous story lines which are likely to emerge and be discussed at length through Saturday night.

Don’t forget, polls close at 8 p.m. You have until that time to cast your vote. If you have a mail-in ballot you haven’t submitted, you can drop that off at a polling station before that cutoff.

Join us starting at 7 p.m. for our B.C. Votes 2020 coverage, on-air and online. We’ll have the latest on these stories and more as the results start coming in.

Join us for full coverage of B.C. Votes 2020 starting at 7 p.m. Saturday. Follow Paul James on Twitter for the latest on these stories and more, and listen live for his reports