Thoughts About the BC Election Held on Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Marc Emery BCMP The Toronto Maple Leafs’ historic record as biggest losers in a single game lasted all of one day until the BC New Democratic Party took the title away from them in an even more breathtaking fashion.

In a situation that must have deposed BC NDP leader Carole James smirking today, she – whom, according to the rebels like Jenny Kwan, Adrian Dix and others, couldn’t win an election in BC (despite taking the BC NDP from 2 seats in 2001 to 40 seats in 2009) – won her seat while the BC NDP collapsed spectacularly in unprecedented way.

The NDP was 20 points ahead of the Liberals only six weeks ago. Twenty points! And yet, after election night last night, the NDP was five percentage points behind, and 17 seats behind, a collapse of 25% of the electorate. The Liberals had 45 seats to the NDP’s 40 seats before the May 14 vote. Now it’s 50 Liberals – and of course, this is really the Socred alliance, as the Conservative vote collapsed and fell in line behind the BC Liberals, whose candidates by and large are even more conservative (in the bad way) than the new BC Conservative party.

Current BC NDP leader Adrian Dix has to be the most uninspiring, charisma lacking, vacant ‘leader’ ever, and offered up nothing to the voters of BC that could inspire confidence. No policies, no platform, no campaign. “Just let the Liberals implode” was the whole BC NDP campaign. Astonishing arrogance, such hubris!

The BC Greens have a new leader and their first Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) in climate scientist Andrew Weaver, elected in Oak Bay-Gordon Head, a riding that overlaps federal Green Party leader Elizabeth May’s Saanich-Gulf Islands riding. This is great news for the BC Greens, who have been declining in popularity since the 2001 election campaign when they received more than 12% of the BC vote. It dropped to 9% in 2005, then 8% in 2009 and 8% in 2013 under Jane Sterk’s unfortunately inadequate (and largely invisible) leadership.

The BC Greens could have had a higher percentage but for an unexplainable decision not to run candidates in every BC riding. Huge gaps across the province, in areas like the two ridings in my wife’s hometown Kamloops, did not have a Green candidate – which left a lot of people disappointed. Had the Greens run in all 85 ridings, I believe the total would have exceeded 10% of the total provincial vote. Hopefully in the next election, four years from now, the BC Greens will have a candidate in every riding.

Jodie Emery BC Green Party 2013I am particularly proud of my wife Jodie and her campaign in Vancouver-West End as the BC Green candidate. Despite so much going on in her regular life, Jodie campaigned every day for the final 15 days of the campaign with a shoestring budget of her own money, and received 1,897 votes for 11.1% of the riding total. (Absentee ballots will be counted in the next two weeks and then added to all candidates’ vote totals across BC.) That was an increase over the previous 9% result for the riding, and a doubling of her own personal total of 904 votes in the 2009 BC election campaign as the BC Green candidate in Vancouver-Fraserview.

The BC Green Party under Jane Sterk’s ‘leadership’ failed to marshal any resources for anything resembling a worthy campaign province-wide, and left all of the candidates outside of four in southern Vancouver Island to fend for themselves. Sterk will resign in the days ahead, an inevitability after going nowhere with the party in five frustratingly ineffective years in charge of the BC Green franchise, and Andrew Weaver will be de facto BC Green Party leader. He’ll have the prestige of being a veritable Nobel prize-winning climate change scientist and now MLA for the next four years, and in that time I hope he’ll inspire the next wave of BC Green candidates for the May 2017 election. (In fairness to Jane Sterk, the first Green MLA in BC has been elected under her party leadership, but there isn’t any other accomplishment to note.)

The BC Greens are far more progressive on almost every issue than the BC NDP, who are still the proxy for organized labour unions. As to the BC Liberals, leader Christy Clark proved that chutzpah can win elections. She lost her own seat to BC Civil Liberties Association lawyer and NDP candidate David Eby, so some poor sap of a Liberal MLA will have to give up their safe Liberal seat so Clark can parachute into it and get a seat in the Legislature. Some lucrative government appointment awaits some lucky BC Liberal MLA!

Clark won by standing up for something while the BC NDP seemed to stand for nothing. The Liberals hammered the NDP for its apparent policy-less drift, and the accusation resonated with voters. Premier Christy Clark has done the Boston Bruins one better, no doubt – a political come-from-behind that I doubt is equaled in any province over the last 30 years. It’s a shame that her government is filled with regressive troglodytes like Mary Polok, Rich Coleman, RCMP-kissy-face Daryl Plecas, and numerous others.

But the Liberals also now have former Vancouver Mayor Sam Sullivan, who (if he resists being whipped into line by Premier Clark) actually believes in legalization and ending prohibition. And the drug policy reform movement has another hope in newly-elected BC NDP MLA David Eby, but both of these two parties are so controlled by (largely inept and corrupt) leadership that I doubt we’ll ever hear Sullivan or Eby seriously ever criticize the police or prohibition ever again, and certainly not while in the legislature. As former Liberal MLA Kash Heed showed, and current NDP MLA Nicholas Simons reminded us, the Legislature is where anti-prohibitionists go to “shut up and never be heard from again” in any meaningful and relevant way.

Thankfully, this was the last election in the USA or Canada that I’ll ever be absent from participating in as a result of my current exile. I’m excited to be Jodie’s campaign manager if she seeks to run in Canada’s 2015 federal election as the Green Party candidate for Vancouver Center, which includes all of the provincial riding Vancouver-West End where she ran in this time. We’ll raise serious money to do an effective election campaign with mail-outs, phone banking, advertising, more buttons and signs, and an organized volunteer campaign. Jodie and I have worked together for our entire relationship as a “campaigning couple”, and she did her best in this election while I’ve been imprisoned so far away, but I know we’re both eager for my return home so we can campaign as a team again.

Marc Emery
Marc Emery

Marc Emery is a Canadian cannabis activist, entrepreneur, and politician. Known to his fans as the Prince of Pot, Emery has been a notable advocate of international cannabis policy reform for decades. Marc is the founding publisher of Cannabis Culture and Pot TV.



  1. Anonymous on

    For me it was the lack of a platform with the NDP, but the turning point I believe was when Adrian came out and said on tv that he oppossed the Kinder Morgen pipeline. You could almost hear the people changing their mind’s. As much as we want to end prohibition, to just so no to
    all industrial challenges was a mistake. People need jobs and the gov. needs tax dollars.
    I am against the gateway but believe that other projects could be looked at.

    The day can’t come to soon, that we smokers will have our day in the sun. Just this week I find myself having to take a pee test for work after forty years of as a safe worker. Well it won’t be the first time I tell them to take their job and shove it.

    My thoughts are with you Marc, come hame soon and good like with that job application in Washington state.
    Your friend Kelly Anton

  2. Anonymous on

    Heading into the campaign for the recent election I was contemplating voting NDP to help ensure the defeat of the Liberals. Then the phone rang and a person claiming to be a union representative tried to convince me to vote for the NDP. That phone call was for me the deciding factor; there was no way I was going to vote for a party being endorsed by reprehensible unions. The Greens got my vote, and in my riding they came very close to winning: in Saanich and the Islands the Greens, the Liberals, and the NDP all ended up within a few hundred votes of each other. Next time we have an election I will help to promote the Greens to help nudge them up to the top.

  3. Anonymous on

    Yes! Exactly what I was trying to share with my family. Unfortunately, they all thought that I was doing more harm by voting Green, than NDP.
    As lack luster as the Green’s were, at least they posted their platform before hand. I also loved that they posted principles that would guide them. I wish NDP or the Liberals would post their principles, rather than making it up on the spot.
    On 4/20 I looked to the NDP media looking for a hint of campaign direction and found nothing worth my time.
    The voter apathy is the biggest enemy, how can I trust any Government elected by 23% of the voters? We have lost passion, we need to invigorate the population.

    Looking forward to your return Marc. Be well.


  4. Anonymous on