"I think I reflect the opinion of almost every British Columbian when I say, its about time."
That was West Vancouver-Garibaldi MLA Ted Nebbelings reaction to the long-awaited election, called Wednesday.
British Columbians will go to the polls May 16, four years and 50 weeks after the last provincial election. And if the Liberals win, as expected, Nebbeling said they will bring in legislation setting the third Thursday in May of every fourth year as election day in B.C., meaning the next election will be held May 17, 2005.
Nebbeling said the NDP government of the last year has been a "token government, serving special interest groups rather than all of B.C."
"People want an opportunity to tell the government what they think of the last 10 years, particularly the last five years," Nebbeling said.
The NDP has governed for the last decade but is on its third premier since the 1996 election. Glen Clark resigned in August of 1999 after an RCMP investigation into the awarding of a casino licence to his neighbour. Dan Miller filled in as interim party leader and premier until the NDP elected Ujjal Dosanjh leader last year.
Dosanjh has used the last year to try and rebuild the NDPs reputation but polls have consistently shown his party is as much as 50 percentage points behind the Liberals. A recent Vancouver Sun-Compas Research poll showed the NDPs support at just 17 per cent of decided voters. However, Dosanjh fares better than his party in polls which ask voters to chose between him and Liberal leader Gordon Campbell.
In the West Vancouver-Garibaldi riding, Nebbeling a former Whistler mayor will be challenged by the NDPs Barrie MacLeod, a Lions Bay psychologist, Bowen Island resident Peter Tatroff of the Green Party and Squamishs Robert Adam of the Marijuana Party. Other nominees may come forward up to 15 days after the Writ was issued.
There were 75 seats up for grabs in the last provincial election. There will 79 MLAs elected this time around.
Results of 1996 provincial election
Candidate Party Votes % Vote
Ted Nebbeling Liberal 11,478 56%
Brenda Broughton NDP 5,981 29%
Jim Mercier Reform 1,322 6%
Roland French PDA 660 3%
Peggy Stortz Green 496 2%
Mike Becker Social Credit 94 0%
Tunya Audain Libertarian 80 0%
Muriel Down BC Conservative 61 0%
David Grayson Natural Law 36 0%
Party Seats Change % Vote
NDP 39 (-12) 39%
Liberal 33 (+19) 41%
Reform 2 (-4) 9%
PDA 1 (-1) 5%