British Columbia general election, 2009
The 39th British Columbia general election was held on May 12, 2009, to elect members of the Legislative Assembly in the Canadian province of British Columbia. The British Columbia Liberal Party (BC Liberals) formed the government of the province prior to this general election under the leadership of Premier Gordon Campbell. The British Columbia New Democratic Party (BC NDP) under the leadership of Carole James is the Official Opposition.
The election was the first contested on a new electoral map completed in 2008, with the total number of constituencies increased from 79 in the previous legislature to 85. Under amendments to the BC Constitution Act passed in 2001, BC elections are now held on fixed dates which are the second Tuesday in May every four years.
A second referendum on electoral reform was held in conjunction with the election.
The election did not produce a significant change in the province's political landscape. The BC Liberals, who have been in power since the 2001 provincial election, were returned to power, constituting the first time in 23 years a party has won three elections in a row. As a result of the seat redistribution, both the Liberals and the New Democrats gained seats, and both parties increased their popular vote by less than one per cent over 2005. Each party lost two incumbent MLAs: the BC NDP's Jenn McGinn and Charlie Wyse, and the Liberals' John Nuraney and Wally Oppal were defeated. All other seat changes in the election resulted from the new seats or from retiring incumbents.
Voter turnout was 50.99% of eligible voters (1,651,567 registered voters).
Political parties 
British Columbia Liberal Party 
Leader: Gordon Campbell
The BC Liberal party dropped from 72 to 46 seats in the legislature after the 2005 provincial election. Having formed a majority government since 2001 the party promoted its own track record as the government. Much of the party's platform was revealed in the 2009 Budget which included a three-year fiscal plan including revenue expectations, tax measures, and spending priorities. The budget proposed cost savings from reduced budgets in half of the ministries, 76% less government advertising, public sector wage freezes, and less spending on government travel costs, contracted professional services, and discretionary spending. The budget plan proposed to increase spending by $4.8 billion over 3 years for healthcare, $300 million over three years for social services, and $800 million more annually for education, as well as some new funding for childcare, policing, victims services, and social housing. The BC Liberal platform, some of it already promised in the budget, advocates hospital improvements in Surrey, Victoria, Vernon, Fort St. John and Kelowna; travel and accommodation assistance to families who must travel long distances to be with their children when they are receiving care; new measures to help remote communities get new access to fresh fruit and vegetables; provide citizens electronic access to their health records; establishing voluntary five-year-old kindergarten classes; establishing a law school at Thompson Rivers University, a medical school at UBC Okanagan, and a Wood Design and Innovation Centre at UNBC; doubling the BC Training Tax Credit; exempting the first $20,000 of seniors' pension income from income tax; legislating a Residents Bill of Rights for seniors living in residential care facilities and a registry for residential care aides; installing cameras to monitor school yards and high-risk public areas; outlaw dumping of raw sewage into the Strait of Juan de Fuca and help build a new sewage treatment plan for Greater Victoria.
New Democratic Party of British Columbia 
Leader: Carole James
Under Carole James' leadership the NDP won seats to 33 in the 2005 election and two by-elections in 2008. Among other points, its platform involved repealing the carbon tax, instituting a cap and trade plan of greenhouse gas emissions, adopting California's tough vehicle tailpipe emission standards, expanding the capacity and efficiency of public hospitals, instituting health care wait time guarantees, a 1-year small business tax holiday, freezing post-secondary tuition fees, hire more Crown Prosecutors, restoring public oversight to BC Ferries, restricting raw log exports, increasing the minimum wage to $10/hr indexed to inflation, placing a moratorium on new private run-of-the-river power projects, reinstating the Buy BC program, creating a new Rural Economic Development Fund, and promoting farm gate sales of agricultural products (including meat).
Green Party of British Columbia 
Leader: Jane Sterk
The Green Party ran a full slate of candidates, as it did in 2005 when it won over 9 percent of the vote but no seats in the legislature. Its new leader was Jane Sterk, a former Esquimalt councillor. It supported the BC-STV proposal in the referendum. The party released its platform in a book titled British Columbia's Green Book, 2009—2013. Amongst other points, it advocated balanced budgets, reducing taxes on industry and business while increasing taxes on pollution, creating a Green Venture Capital Fund to invest in green collar jobs, directing 1% from the PST to municipal governments, allowing municipalities to issue municipal bonds, creating a provincial police force, reducing tuition fees by 20%, increasing funding to post-secondary institutions, refunding full tuition fees to graduates who work and live in the province for five years after receiving their degree, banning use of cosmetic pesticides, expanding the Medical Service Plan (to cover chiropractic, physiotherapy, eye exams, massage therapy, routine physical exams, and counselling for addictions), creating a Guaranteed Livable Income by unifying all current income support programs, supporting harm reduction practices, regulating cannabis, halting river-based hydro projects pending a review of the environmental assessment process, re-establishing BC Ferries as a Crown corporation, halting the Gateway Program, using usage based insurance for ICBC rates, and creating a BC Legacy Fund from oil and gas royalties for municipal and rural community projects.
Minor parties 
|British Columbia Conservative Party
Leader: Wilf Hanni
The Conservatives nominated 24 candidates, up from seven candidates in 2005 when they won 0.55% of the vote. In spite of his low profile party leader Wilf Hanni participated in a leaders' "Forum" in May 2009. Their platform advocated, among other points, competitive and performance-based healthcare delivery within a publicly funded system, opposing the Recognition and Reconciliation Bill with Aboriginal peoples, returning treaty responsibility to the federal government, repealing the carbon tax and opposing a carbon trading system, expanding resource development (including offshore drilling), reducing the PST by 1%, harmonizing the PST with the Federal GST, eliminating the Property Transfer Tax, rolling back salary increases of MLAs and senior government employees, permitting parents more choices in which schools to send their children to and funding the schools accordingly, repealing the Corren Agreement, reducing tuition fees for students who meet certain standards in post-secondary education, light rail transit in southern Vancouver Island and in Chilliwack, eliminating tolls on bridges (including a proposed toll on the Port Mann Bridge), work requirements on public projects for criminals serving time in jail, a new program to address small crime separately from more serious crimes, creation of a program called Communities That Care to strengthen family dynamics and reduce negative youth behaviors, publishing a Criminal Offenders Registry, creating a substantive appeal process beyond the BC Human Rights Tribunal, enact a 'Right to a Free Vote' legislation for MLAs to freely vote in the Legislature, hold votes for federal senators, and implement a preferential voting system for provincial elections.
|British Columbia Libertarian Party
The Libertarian Party ran six candidates in this election, as it did in 2005. The party supported reducing government involvement in delivery of health care, education, and car insurance; reducing taxes as services are privatized; and reducing government regulation on guns and drugs.
|British Columbia Marijuana Party
Leader: Marc Emery
The Marijuana Party ran one candidate in this election and endorsed the Green Party. In 2005 it ran 44 candidates, while in 2001 it ran a full slate.
|BC Refederation Party
Leader: Mike Summers
The Refederation Party nominated 22 candidates, up from four candidates in 2005 under its previous name the "Western Refederation Party of BC". The party mainly advocates for direct democracy based on the Swiss model, the creation of a provincial constitution, and re-negotiating with the federal government the terms of confederation. According to its website its platform also includes the creation of a provincial police force, homogeneous schools and classes of students with similar abilities, reinstating alternative medical options (such as physiotherapy, dental, and chiropractic) into the Medical Services Plan and placing the Medical Services Plan under the jurisdiction of Insurance Corporation of British Columbia, making WorkSafe an enforcement agency only by moving its insurance component to ICBC, a moratorium on run-of-river hydro projects and fish farms, holding a referendums on the Trade, Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement and the sale of Crown Corporations, and a judicial review of the sale of BC Rail.
|Communist Party of British Columbia
Leader: George Gidora
The Communist Party of BC is the provincial branch of the national Communist Party. It had three candidates running in the 2009 election, as it did in 2005. The CPBC campaigned against BC-STV in favour of Mixed Member Proportional representation. It advocates progressive tax based on ability to pay, raising the minimum wage to $16/hour indexed to the cost of living, ending the $6/hour training wage, holding a public inquiry into the sale of BC Rail, banning raw log exports, requiring by legislation the processing of timber locally for export, banning evictions for the purpose of renovation, scrapping the Gateway Program, holding elections for the TransLink board with a $1 single zone fare for the Lower Mainland, removing guns and tasers from transit police, eliminating tuition fees, expanding the apprenticeship program, lowering the voting age to 16, withdrawing from the Trade, Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement, and reintegrating BC Transmission Corporation back into BC Hydro.
|Nation Alliance Party
Leader: Wei Ping Chen
The Nation Alliance Party is a new party that nominated two candidates in this election, both in Richmond ridings. The party seeks to promote the rights of ethnic minorities and recent immigrants. Among other points, it advocates promoting participation in the public affairs, promoting non-violence, and opposing racialism.
Leader: Charles Boylan
The People's Front is the provincial wing of the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) which generally advocates, among other points, increased spending on health, education and other social programs, a moratorium on the debt, hereditary rights of the Aboriginal peoples, recognition of the equality of all languages and cultures, instituting recall elections, and rights for individuals to initiate legislation. It nominated four candidates in this election, down from five in 2005 and 11 in 2001.
|Reform Party of British Columbia
Leader: David Charles Hawkins
The BC Reform Party nominated four candidates. It had only one candidate in the 2005 election but nine in 2001 and a full slate of 75 in the 1996 election. According to its website, its platform includes, amongst other points, replacing the provincial income tax with a sales tax and a business tax on gross receipts, use of an employee payroll credit, repudiation of any carbon taxes and carbon credit trading, re-establishing public equity in BC Investment Management Corporation, re-establishment a Grand jury system, restrictions on judicial reviews of legislative actions, and elections for local provincial court judges.
Leader: John Ince
Billing itself as "the world's first sex-positive party", the Sex Party nominated three candidates in Vancouver ridings, as it did in 2005. According to its website, its platform includes, amongst other points, requiring sexual health and hygiene education in schools, requiring school districts to establish professional support programs to address discrimination of sexual minorities, providing provincial funding for institutes studying and teaching human sexuality or researching sexuality policy issues, reserve designate areas for nudists on all public parks and beaches larger than one hectare, establish a Sex Worker Empowerment Program as an agency providing counseling, education, and advocacy to sex workers, requiring municipalities to treat sex toy businesses as other retail businesses, repeal sex negative regulations, requiring all long term care institutions to articulate a sexuality policy that is non-judgmental about residents' sexuality, creating a Sex-Positive Press Council to expose overt and subtle censorship in BC media, changing Victoria Day to Eros Day to celebrate and encourage sex-positive expression, and proclaiming Valentine's Day a statutory holiday.
|Western Canada Concept
Leader: Doug Christie
The Western Canada Concept had one candidate running in this election, down from two candidates in the 2005 election. The party strongly advocates independence for western Canada, and amongst other points advocates for anti-abortion legislation, strong private property rights, balanced budgets, promotion of cultural assimilation rather than multiculturalism, and compulsory public service with a volunteer armed forces.
|Work Less Party of British Columbia
Leader: Conrad Schmidt
The WLP is an anti-materialist political movement that hopes to achieve socialist and green ends through, among other things, the promotion of a four-day, 32-hour work-week. The party had 2 candidates down from 11 in 2005. The 2005 BC election marked the debut in Western politics of any registered party expressly driven by the ideology of voluntary simplicity.
|Your Political Party
Leader: James Filippelli
The party nominated one candidate in 2005 and two in 2009. Among other points, it advocates publishing reports explaining where every tax dollar is spent, free votes in the legislature, making all campaign promises legally binding, requiring MLAs hold public townhall-style meetings at least once every four months, labelling products sold in BC indicating environmental standards, adding generating capacity to existing dams, opening run-of-river dam project areas to recreational use, providing periodic written statements detailing the cost of each citizen's use of the health care system, provide forgivable loans to post-secondary students who continue to live and work in BC after graduation, permit more private post-secondary institutions, requiring all people serving time in jail to work to pay for the cost of their incarceration, legalization of marijuana, eliminate the property transfer tax, disallow restrictions on secondary suites and minimum home sizes, harvesting all Pine Beetle affected timber immediately, limiting the total allowable yearly fishing catch (rather than regulating length of the fishing season), require weekly educational programs for anyone receiving welfare payments, provide before and after school childcare, permitting private insurance companies to compete with ICBC.
Timeline of the campaign 
April 10, 2008, passage of the Electoral Districts Act, 2008 moving BC from 79 to 85 constituencies.
April 14, 2009, the campaign will officially begin when the writ is issued.
April 24, 2009 1pm close of nominations for the election.
May 12, 2009, Election day.
CKNW had a debate of the three leaders on April 23 from 8:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.
CBC Radio One had a debate of the three leaders on April 21 at 7:30 a.m.
Opinion polls 
|Ipsos Reid||May 9, 2009||||47%||39%||10%||4%|
|Angus Reid Strategies||May 7, 2009||||44%||42%||10%||4%|
|Mustel Group||May 7, 2009||||47%||38%||12%||3%|
|Environics||May 2, 2009||||47%||36%||13%||5%|
|Angus Reid Strategies||April 28, 2009||||42%||39%||13%||6%|
|Mustel Group||April 7, 2009||||52%||35%||13%||-|
|Angus Reid Strategies||March 25, 2009||||43%||37%||13%||7%|
|Ipsos Reid||March 24, 2009||||46%||35%||15%||4%|
|Mustel Group||February 10, 2009||||52%||36%||12%||1%|
|Mustel Group||January 15, 2009||||47%||33%||16%||4%|
|Election 2005||May 17, 2005||-||45.8%||41.5%||9.2%||2.9%|
|Party||Party leader||# of
|2005||Dissolution||Elected||% Change||#||% Change|
|New Democrats||Carole James||85||33||34||35||+6.06%||691,564||42.15||+0.63|
|Reform||David Charles Hawkins||4||-||-||-||1,106||0.07||+0.05|
|Nation Alliance||Wei Ping Chen||2||*||-||-||818||0.05||*|
|People's Front||Charles Boylan||4||-||-||-||401||0.02||+0|
|Your Political Party||James Filippelli||2||-||-||-||335||0.02||-0.01|
|Work Less||Conrad Schmidt||2||-||-||-||322||0.02||-0.07|
|Western Canada Concept||Doug Christie||1||-||-||-||235||0.01||-0.01|
- Source: "Statement of Votes: 39th Provincial General Election". Elections BC. 2009. Retrieved December 26, 2011.
- The BC Refederation Party was previously known as the Western Refederation Party.
- Names in bold indicate party leaders and cabinet ministers.
- The victorious Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) for each district has a coloured bar to the left of his or her name.
- Incumbents who did not seek re-election are denoted by †
- Because of the realignment of electoral boundaries, most incumbents did not represent the entirety of their listed district during the preceding legislative term.
Northern British Columbia 
|Nechako Lakes||John Rustad
|North Coast||Herb Pond
|Peace River North||Pat Pimm
|Arthur A. Hadland (Ind.) 2,899
Sue Arntson (Refed.) 58
|Peace River South||Blair Lekstrom
|Prince George-Mackenzie||Pat Bell
|Prince George-Valemount||Shirley Bond
|Andrej De Wolfe
|Don Roberts (Refed.) 113
Gordon Dickie (Cons.) 780
|Skeena||Donny Van Dyk
|Michael Brousseau (Cons.) 893||Robin Austin|
- ^a - Previously held by BC Liberal Richard Neufeld, who resigned his seat on January 19, 2009, following his appointment to the Senate on December 22, 2008.
|Columbia River-Revelstoke||Mark McKee
|Kootenay East||Bill Bennett
|Wilf Hanni (Cons.) 1,612||Bill Bennett|
|Kootenay West||Brenda Binnie
|Zachary Crispin (Comm.) 204||Katrine Conroy|
|David Duncan (Cons.)1,083||Corky Evans†|
Okanagan, Shuswap and Boundary 
|Kelowna-Lake Country||Norm Letnick
|Mark Thompson (Cons.) 2,531
Daniel Thorburn (Refed.) 51
Silverado Socrates (Ind.) 130
|Chris Delaney (Cons.) 2,095
Wendy Dion (Refed.) 78
|Beryl Ludwig (Cons.) 2,374
Chris Emery (BCMP) 361
|Dean Skoreyko (Cons.) 1,972
Gordon Campbell (Not Affil.) 1,397
Thompson and Cariboo 
|Cariboo North||Bruce Ernst
|Dian Brooks (Refed.)
|Kamloops-North Thompson||Terry Lake
|Wayne Russell (Refed.) 251
Keston C. Broughton (Work Less) 124
|Kamloops-South Thompson||Kevin Krueger
|Maria Dobi (Cons.)
- ^b - Krueger sought re-election in the adjacent redrawn riding of Kamloops-South Thompson
Fraser Valley 
|Abbotsford South||John van Dongen
|Gurcharan Dhaliwal (Cons.) 1,019
|John van Dongen|
|Abbotsford West||Mike de Jong
|Dalbir Benipal (Cons.) 1,043||Mike de Jong|
|Benjamin Besler (Cons.) 2,672||John Les|
|Hans Mulder (Cons.) 1,198
Dorothy-Jean O'Donnell (P.F.) 93
|Fort Langley-Aldergrove||Rich Coleman
|Gail Chaddock-Costello 7,492||Travis Erbacher
|Jordan Braun (Refed.) 387||Rich Coleman|
|Maple Ridge-Mission||Marc Dalton
|Ian Vaughan (Reform) 325||new district|
|Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows||Ken Stewart
Chum Richardson (Ind.) 202
|Surrey-Green Timbers||Rani Mangat
|Surrey-White Rock||Gordon Hogg
|David Charles Hawkins (Reform) 464||Gordon Hogg|
- ^c - Brar will seek re-election in new riding of Surrey-Fleetwood
Richmond and Delta 
|Delta North||Jeannie Kanakos
|Marc McPherson (Cons.) 756||Guy Gentner|
|Delta South||Wally Oppal
|Vicki Huntington (Ind.) 9,977
John Shavluk (Ind.) 60
|Richmond Centre||Rob Howard
|Kang Chen (NAP)
|Richmond East||Linda Reid
|Wei Ping Chen
Vancouver's eastern suburbs 
|Burnaby-Deer Lake||John Nuraney
|Burnaby North||Richard T. Lee
|Richard T. Lee|
|Coquitlam-Burke Mountain||Douglas Horne
|New Westminster||Carole Millar
|Port Coquitlam||Bernie Hiller
|Port Moody-Coquitlam||Iain Black
|Donna Vandekerkhove (Refed.) 82
James Filippelli (YPP) 198
David Hutchinson (Cons.) 385
Michael Halliday (Ind.) 73
|Andrew Stevano (Refed.) 118||Wally Oppald|
(Work Less) 198
Donna Petersen (P.F.) 76
|Vancouver-Mount Pleasant||Sherry Wiebe
|Vancouver-Point Grey||Gordon Campbell
|Vancouver-West End||Laura McDiarmid
(Not Affil.) 36
- ^d - Wally Oppal sought re-election in riding of Delta South
- ^f - Previously held by BC Liberal Carole Taylor, who resigned on December 22, 2008
North Shore and Sunshine Coast 
|North Vancouver-Lonsdale||Naomi Yamamoto
|Ian McLeod (Cons.)
Ron Gamble (Reform) 232
|North Vancouver-Seymour||Jane Thornthwaite
|Gary Hee (Cons.)
|Powell River-Sunshine Coast||Dawn Miller
|Allen McIntyre (Refed.) 249||Nicholas Simons|
|West Vancouver-Capilano||Ralph Sultan
|David O. Marley (Ind.) 1,489
Eddie Petrossian (Cons.) 710
|West Vancouver-Sea to Sky||Joan McIntyre
Vancouver Island 
|Alberni-Pacific Rim||Dianne St. Jacques
|Dallas Hills (Refed.)
|Comox Valley||Don McRae
|Paula Berard (Refed.) 266
Barbara Biley (P.F.) 120
|Cowichan Valley||Cathy Basskin
|Jason Murray (Cons.) 924
Michial Moore (Refed.) 139
|Linden Shaw (Refed.) 271||Leonard Krog|
|Nanaimo-North Cowichan||Rob Hutchins
|Ron Fuson (Refed.)
|North Island||Marion Wright
|William Mewhort (Ind.) 333||Claire Trevena|
|Bruce Ryder (Refed.) 251||Ron Cantelon|
Greater Victoria 
|Esquimalt-Royal Roads||Carl Ratsoy
|Juan de Fuca||Jody Twa
|Oak Bay-Gordon Head||Ida Chong
|Jessica Van der Veen
|Saanich North and the Islands||Murray Coell
|Saanich South||Robin Adair
|Douglas Christie (West Can.) 235||David Cubberley†|
|Victoria-Beacon Hill||Dallas Henault
|Saul Andersen (Ind.)
|Victoria-Swan Lake||Jesse McClinton
|Bob Savage (Refed.)
|Wikinews has related news: BC election writ drops; referendum campaigns underway|
- BC Liberals. "British Columbia Liberal Party platform". Bcliberals.com. Retrieved 2011-05-15.
- BC NDP election platform
- British Columbia's Green Book, 2009—2013: A Better Plan for British Columbia[dead link]
- Campbell's Challenge from the Right: The BC Conservative Party, Bill Tieleman, The Tyee, April 7, 2009
- "British Columbia Conservative Party platform". Bcconservative.com. Retrieved 2011-05-15.
- "BC Libertarian Party statement". Libertarian.bc.ca. 2009-05-13. Retrieved 2011-05-15.
- Pablo, Carlito (2009). B.C. Marijuana Party endorses Greens for provincial election The Georgia Straight. Accessed May 2, 2009.
- BC Refederation Party policies[dead link]
- Platform statement from the Communist Party of BC.
- "Nation Alliance Party platform". Nationalliance.com. 2007-07-25. Retrieved 2011-05-15.
- MLPC. "Marxist-Leninist Party of Canada program". Mlpc.ca. Retrieved 2011-05-15.
- "Reform Party of British Columbia platform". Reformbc.net. Retrieved 2011-05-15.
- "Sex Party provincial platform". Sexparty.ca. Retrieved 2011-05-15.
- "Western Canada Concept Party of BC principles". Westcan.org. 1989-03-15. Retrieved 2011-05-15.
- "Work Less Party". Work Less Party. Retrieved 2011-05-15.
- Elections BC
- BC Election 2009 by Sacha Peter with comprehensive information on the election
- Election Prediction Project - BC 2009
- UBC ESM Election Prediction Voter Transition Matrix
- TrendLines Research Weekly chart tracking of the Federal & BC seat projection models
- Legislative Assembly Library Election Weblinks
Party platforms 
In order of release
- Conservative Party Platform (A Clear Vision for British Columbia)
- Green Party Platform 2009 (A Better Plan for BC)
- New Democratic Party Platform 2009 (Take Back Your BC)
- Liberal Party Platform 2009 (Keep BC Strong)