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VIDEO: Green-NDP vote-splitting a 'non-issue': Weaver

BC Green candidate Andrew Weaver responded to concerns about third party vote-splitting in the upcoming election on Shaw TV's Voice of BC last night, calling it a "non-issue."

"It's an issue that's raised when people are scared," the University of Victoria climate scientist said. Weaver and Green Party leader Jane Sterk were in the hot seat on the show, hosted by Vancouver Sun columnist Vaughn Palmer.

With a provincial voter turnout rate of about 50 per cent in 2009, Weaver said the fear of his party siphoning off votes from the BC NDP, in particular on the south Island, is unfounded. (Tyee election reporting team member Tom Barrett tackled the subject of "demon vote-splitting" in detail here.)

"In the last election, more people did not even bother to vote in Oak Bay-Gordon Head, for example, then voted for either of the other two candidates. So you've got 12,700 odd people not voting, and you've got 11,000 or something voting for each of the other candidates," Weaver said.

"Number two, many people in British Columbia end up voting against something as opposed to for something. So people vote Liberal because they don't want to vote NDP, or vice versa. We're offering them something to vote for.

"The third thing is why people think the Greens only take from the NDP. I don't understand why they think that. I look in my riding… we have as much support from the collapse of the Liberals as we do from the NDP. In fact, frankly, in the last few weeks, we've seen them in droves coming from the Liberals. I don't even think the Liberals are even in the race in Gordon Head," Weaver said.

Catch Sterk and Weaver on Voice of BC above.

On the show Sterk and Weaver also talked about their party's plan for B.C.'s energy future -- one that would see a higher carbon tax, a burgeoning clean tech sector with investments in solar and geothermal -- and one where liquified natural gas does not appear to factor in (Weaver called the Liberal plan to compete in the LNG market "a pipe dream" that resulted from a "lack of creativity in decision-making").

This election, Sterk said her party won't run candidates against four independents, including Arthur Hadland in Peace River North, and that she hopes to present a slate of 70 contenders.

"We're not going to do what we've done in previous campaigns, which is to simply put someone on the ballot," said Sterk. "They have to be well-qualified, they have to be professional, they have to be able to speak to our issues, and they have to be people that ordinary people in the riding would say, 'That's a person I can vote for.'"

BC Conservative leader John Cummins and BC NDP leader Adrian Dix will be on the show in coming weeks.

Robyn Smith is The Tyee's election editor.

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