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Meanwhile… West of the Rockies

This Magazine Staff

While federal polticians waste time and attract attention over a possible election, the citizens of British Columbia have a real fight on their hands: trying out oust an irresponsible (neo)Liberal government.

Unfortunately, progressives in B.C. are up against some serious obstacles. After four years of a privatization, slash-and-burn agenda that has gutted public services, filled the coffers of big business and left marginalized citizens to suffer, Gordon Campbell’s government has been playing nice lately. With one-time cash infusions to education, rural communities and seniors, for example, this is your basic game of electioneering — and it may be working. But as The Tyee‘s Barbara McLintock points out, the BC Liberals’ own budget documents show no willingness to maintain propped-up funding in many areas.

Meanwhile, the most obvious alternative to the Liberals, the NDP, are having trouble rebuilding from their massive defeat in the 2001 election. No one seems to know anything about leader Carole James, and concerns persist that the NDP is merely the party of big unions. The party’s platform was released yesterday, but with only a month before the May 17 vote, is there enough time for them to win?

In the last election, the BC Green Party made it on the radar by garnering around 12 percent of the vote (including mine), and their presence threatens to cut into NDP support as well.

Some of the best coverage (although mostly Vancouver-centric) can be found at The Tyee, Terminal City and the excellent political blog Paying Attention, which are doing their part to offset the Liberal-friendly coverage of CanWest’s media outlets: four of the daily newspapers and the top TV newscast in the city.

All in all, it makes me wish I was back in Vancouver. Nothing like a heated election to get the juices flowing!

Anyone in B.C. have some insight on the early stages of the election for the rest of us?

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