Prediction: Libs will win one Island seat

Catching election fever would be no fun if we were not able to make predictions we may later hope the reader forgets.

Catching election fever would be no fun if we were not able to make predictions we may later hope the reader forgets. This week, I offer two.

First prediction: World champion paralympics athlete Michelle Stilwell will be the next Liberal MLA for the riding of Parksville-Qualicum here on Vancouver Island. Stilwell is a compelling “star” candidate who was nominated by acclamation to replace Ron Cantelon. You may remember that Cantelon was a two-term MLA who announced his retirement late last year. The former agriculture and lands minister and caucus chair suffered a heart attack last year, but returned to the legislature after his recovery.

In 2009, Cantelon racked up the biggest Liberal victory on the Island, defeating his NDP rival by 3,600 votes. That solid base of support and Stilwell’s unique persona should be enough to keep the riding in Liberal hands.

Second prediction: Ms. Stilwell will be the only Liberal elected on Vancouver Island. (I hope Ida Chong reads this.)

I know you’re thinking I’m way out on a limb with this prediction. I beg to differ. The Liberals have yet to nominate candidates in half of Vancouver Island’s 14 ridings. Premier Christy Clark says the slow pace of candidate selection here is a deliberate strategy to release, for the public’s sequential amazement, the best candidates the party can attract.

“We’ve staged all of this,” Clark told reporters at a Comox Valley Chamber of Commerce gathering. Gag me with Pinocchio’s nose. The only thing that is staged is the premier’s lame attempt to mask her party’s state of despair.

There is no question the party is experiencing a pre-election crisis of confidence. In the past year, no less than 18 Liberal MLAs have announced their resignations, including heavy hitters like Kevin Falcon, George Abbott, Pat Bell, Colin Hansen, Joan McIntyre and Blair Lekstrom. Another three, including former premier Gordon Campbell, quit mid-term.

Behind the closed doors of caucus the walls are not thick enough to mute the rising angst of the remaining panicked MLAs who must march to almost certain defeat. And, in a few ridings, the only available Liberal candidates willing to plug the resignation gaps and fall on their swords are constituency presidents.

For those of you out there clinging to the faint hope of a Liberal campaign miracle, I refer you to ThreeHundredEight.com, a definitive non-partisan poll reporting website that is committed to reporting polls responsibly and has earned a reputation for accurate analysis.

Compiling data from four different polling firms in the field over the past five weeks, ThreeHundredEight says there is a 95.5 per cent probability the NDP will be elected in May. It predicts the NDP will elect 62 MLAs to the Liberals’ 22 with one independent. The popular vote B.C.-wide will be 48 per cent NDP to 31 Liberal. Here on Vancouver Island, ThreeHundredEight predicts the popular vote spread will be greater, 53 per cent to 25, and the NDP will sweep all 14 seats.

ThreeHundredEight’s current analysis leans most heavily on a new post-budget poll by Angus Reid Public Opinion that gives the NDP a commanding 16-point lead. Angus Reid vice-president Mario Canseco says one of the most telling findings is the number of voters — 59 per cent — who say it’s time a different provincial party was in power. And, here’s a surprise, even 29 per cent of Liberals feel that way. M

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Everett Bumstead (centre) and his crew share a picture from a tree planting location in Sayward on Vancouver Island from when they were filming for ‘One Million Trees’ last year. Photo courtesy Everett Bumstead.
The tree planting life on Vancouver Island features in new documentary

Everett Bumstead brings forth the technicalities, psychology and politics of the tree planting industry in his movie

Scaredy Cats television series has turned Empress Avenue in Fernwood into a Halloween themed neighbourhood. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)
PHOTOS: Trick or treat! Halloween comes to Fernwood in January

New television series Scaredy Cats filming in Victoria

Cindy Foggit plays the lead role of Eliza in Passion and Performance’s film production Eliza: An Adaption of a Christmas Carol. (Courtesy of Rachel Paish)
Victoria adult dance studio releases modern adaption of A Christmas Carol

Instead of usual stage performance, dance studio turns to film

There are many options for enjoying a meal out locally during Dine Around and Stay in Town, on now through Feb. 7. (10 Acres Commons)
Dine Around Stay in Town Victoria carries added importance during pandemic

Special menu items for eat in or takeout/delivery, staycation deals available through Feb. 7

Peter Crema and Harmony Gray (from left), past participants of the Nanaimo Art Gallery’s Code Switching teen art group, at work in ArtLab in 2019. The NAG will be expanding the space thanks to a $75,000 arts infrastructure program grant. (Bulletin file photo)
Nanaimo Art Gallery, Nanaimo Aboriginal Centre receive new arts infrastructure funding

Province announces recipients of funding through B.C. Arts Council program

Ty Wesley, Nicole Darlington and Cameron Macaulay (from left) performed in the Beholder Entertainment production <em>Gender Sucks!</em> in the 2020 Nanaimo Fringe Festival. (Video still courtesy Sam Wharram)
Nanaimo Fringe Festival artist lottery open to local and B.C. playwrights

Organizers hope to stage plays in-person at indoor and outdoor venues this summer

Canadian singer-songwriter-actor Joëlle Rabu will join her son, Nico Rhoades, for a livestream performance courtesy the Tidemark Theatre Jan. 29. Photo submitted
Mother/son powerhouses Joelle Rabu and Nico Rhodes join forces for Island livestream

Campbell River’s Tidemark Theatre hosts online music revue

Dr. John Hooper is the new conductor of Island Voices. Photo supplied
Island Voices welcomes new conductor

Dr. John Hooper to lead mid-Island based choir

Jorie Benjamin does a modern dance performance to ‘La Vie en rose’ by Édith Piaf, Louis Gugliemi and Marguerite Monnot, choreographed by Elise Sampson during the Cowichan Music Festival’s Highlights Concert at the Cowichan Performing Arts Centre on March 1, 2020. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Cowichan Music Festival cancelled for 2021

The festival had already been limited to solo performances only for 2021

<em>Chinook Salmon: Breaking Through</em> by B.C.’s Mark Hobson was selected among 13 entries as the winner of the Pacific Salmon Foundation’s Salmon Stamp Competition.
Stained-glass lighting casts a win to B.C. salmon artist

Painting of chinook is Mark Hobson’s third win in annual contest

Apollonian means “serene, calm, or well-balanced; poised & disciplined”. The natural photo art for the album includes Vancouver Island mountains, rivers and beaches. Scenes from the Cowichan River, Witchcraft Lake, Pipers Lagoon, Wall Beach and other popular Island recreation destinations accentuate the album. (RICHIErichieRichie Music Publishing photo)
Serenity Now! Richie Valley debuts third LP dubbed Apollonian

Apollonian means “serene, calm, or well-balanced; poised & disciplined”

Most Read