Independent media needs you. Join the Tyee.

The Hook: Political news, freshly caught

Greens lose ground in Vancouver by-elections

The opportunity to “try out” a Green MLA for six months turned out not to be an appealing one as voters in Wednesday’s two provincial by-elections handed Jane Sterk and Drina Read distant third-place finishes.

Party leader Sterk wound up with less than eight per cent of the Vancouver-Fairview votes and Read got just over five per cent in Vancouver-Burrard. Both tallies represented a decrease from the 2005 totals.

“It’s pretty evident from the results that the other two parties have much more capability to get their vote out,” she said at a small house party in Vancouver’s Shaughnessy neighbourhood. “That’s something we’re going to work on.”

Damian Kettlewell, one of the party’s deputy leaders and the host of the night’s gathering, echoed the sentiment that the playing field was not level.

“Our budget is probably about three per cent of the NDP’s budget and about 1.5 per cent of the Liberals’,” he said. “That makes it tough.”

Still, Sterk felt she had succeeded in raising her profile as the new party leader and expects to do more of that in the leaders’ debate in the spring.

Forging better name recognition was the key objective for the Greens in this campaign, according to Simon Fraser University political scientist Kennedy Stewart who believes running Sterk in this by-election was a good move.

“It’s really not much of an investment for the Greens,” Stewart told the Tyee last week. “She does a couple of weeks of campaigning and gets lots of newspaper coverage and gets in a few debates.”

From here, the Greens plan to hammer out the three to five issues that will form the core of their campaign and to identify their supporters provincewide so they can mobilize them on election day.

They will also push hard for a “yes” in May’s referendum on the single transferable vote, a system that would theoretically benefit smaller parties.

Asked if the Greens could ever win a seat in the current first past the post system, Read answered cheerfully: “We can try!”

Sterk will likely fare better in May when she runs in her home riding of Esquimalt-Royal Roads and said she’d ideally like her party to win four or five seats, before tempering the statement with a dose of realism.

“We’d be happy with one and we’ll accept whatever the voters decide.”

Rob Annandale reports for The Hook.

Find more in:

What have we missed? What do you think? We want to know. Comment below. Keep in mind:


  • Verify facts, debunk rumours
  • Add context and background
  • Spot typos and logical fallacies
  • Highlight reporting blind spots
  • Ignore trolls
  • Treat all with respect and curiosity
  • Connect with each other

Do not:

  • Use sexist, classist, racist or homophobic language
  • Libel or defame
  • Bully or troll
  • Troll patrol. Instead, flag suspect activity.
comments powered by Disqus