British Columbia is the land of sea and mountains and political parties that seek to reflect the — how shall we say this? — unique brand of politics found in Lotusland. You’ve been hearing plenty about the BC Liberals, the NDP, and the Greens in advance of May 9, less about the 114 candidates running for one of the minor or fringe parties. Another 35 are running as independents or with no ballot affiliation.
It’s worth noting Social Credit existed as a fringe movement before becoming a political dynasty in 1952. Today, the ballot box. Tomorrow, the world.
Here is who else is stumping for your vote:
4BC Leader: Erik Deutscher of Victoria Candidates: One. Xaanja Ganja Free, an artist, in Oak Bay-Gordon Head. Missed opportunity: Candidate’s name (“Free, Ganja”) likely to garner more votes than party’s platform. Motto: “The province should not be played like a chess board because the people are not pawns.” Maybe not so crazy: Term limits, guaranteed income, more transparent tenant-landlord dispute hearings. World’s not yet ready for: Legalized solicitation of prostitution, right to work (no union or professional association obligations), cigarette smoking in private businesses. Achievement: First alpha-numeric party name to appear on a B.C. ballot. Web: 4bcparty.webs.com Twitter: @4BCParty
BC Action Party Leader: Vacant. Candidates: Two. John Crocock (Richmond North Centre) and Errol Edmund Sherley (Delta South). Belief system: Professional people make the best solons. Maybe not so crazy: Wireless control systems to synchronize traffic lights; move Family Day to third week of February like every other province with a mid-winter vacay. Likes: Compassion, entrepreneurship, patriotism. Achievement: Fine use of stock photos on party website and Facebook page. Web: bcactionparty.ca Twitter: @BCActionParty (Note: B.C. Action Party hasn’t Tweeted.)
BC Cascadia Party Leader: Troy Gibbons Candidates: Two. Billy Gibbons (Port Coquitlam) and Reuben Richards (Powell River-Sunshine Coast). Cranky: House of Commons, the Senate and the B.C. Legislature are “illegitimate by default.” Policy: British Columbia should join a union with Washington and Oregon. The party insists it is sovereigntist, but not separatist. Which sounds like they’ve found someone more interesting, but are not yet ready to commit. Promise: To create a debt-free sovereigntist currency for the bioregion of Cascadia. Website: bccascadiaparty.org Twitter: @BCCascadians
BC Conservative Party Leader: Vacant. Candidates: Ten. One in Vancouver, two on Vancouver Island, five in Vancouver suburbs. Principle: Equality for all, special privileges for none. Advantage: Pollsters include the party as an option. Leaderless party riven by infighting has polled as high as 10 per cent. Disadvantages: Has not formed government since 1928. Last elected an MLA 37 years ago. Good news: Brand name with recognition. Bad news: Down from 56 candidates just four years ago. Good news: Lack of Conservative standard-bearer on ballot benefits BC Liberals. Website: bcconservative.ca
BC Citizens First Party Not to be confused with: BC First Party. Leader: Phillip Ryan, an Australian who moved to Vancouver six years ago. Candidates: One. The leader is running in Vancouver-False Creek. Slogan: “Giving priority to British Columbia’s Canadian citizens, ahead of wealthy overseas citizens and corporations who buy influence.” Main policy: B.C. citizens first. Duh. It’s in the name. Boss policy: $15 minimum wage, 20-day leave for all workers. Unexpected policy: All homes and workplaces to be inspected for earthquake survivability. Bad typo: Results of inspection “to be displayed on a plague at the main entrance.” Website: bccitizensfirst.ca Twitter: @BCCitizensFirst
BC First Not to be confused with: BC Citizens First Party. Leader: John Twigg. Candidates: One. John Twigg in North Island. ThatJohn Twigg?!: Until March, Twigg was policy and communications director for the BC Conservative Party. In the 1970s, he was press secretary to NDP premier Dave Barrett. Little known fact: Twigg took over as leader from Salvatore Vetro, who earlier founded the None of the Above Party of B.C. Dislikes: Politicians “beholden to outside interests.” Trumptastic: No Trump rip-off, BC First was founded in 2010, back when The Donald was firing underachieving Gen Xers on TV. Website: bcfirst.ca Twitter: @BCFirst
BC Refed Leader: Vacant. Candidates: Three. Dan Cebuliak (Mid Island-Pacific Rim), Terry Hand (Parksville-Qualicum), Liz Galenzoski (Surrey-Panorama). Likes: Swiss-style direct democracy. Dislikes: How other parties make and break promises to gain power. Hard to argue: “BC Refed is unlike every other political party.” Missed slogan opportunity: “Time to Swatch to direct democracy.” Website: refedbc.com Twitter: @RefedBC
BC Social Credit Party Leader: Vacant. For the past 17 years. Candidates: Two. Michael Henshall (Fraser-Nicola) and James Crosty (New Westminster). Legacy: Ruled B.C. for 36 years, my friends. Unofficial motto: Better Socred than dead. Political bedfellow: Brad Bennett, son of Social Credit premier Bill Bennett and grandson of Social Credit premier W.A.C. Bennett, advises BC Liberal premier Christy Clark. Failed Social Credit initiative of the past: In 1970, Socred backbencher Agnes Kripps denounced a “nasty little three-letter word,” insisting “sex” be replaced by BOLT — Biology on Life Today.
Christian Heritage Party of B.C. Leader: Rod Taylor, a 65-year-old former lumber grader who lives in Telkwa. Candidates: Five. Rod Taylor in Stikine, one in Surrey-Guildford, and three others in Abbotsford, the buckle of the Fraser Valley Bible Belt. Likes: Candidates of “high moral and ethical standards.” Dislikes: Government regulation, abortion, first-past-the-post balloting, having to pay for other people’s abortions, marijuana, “recreational sex,” hell. Did we mention abortion? Mentions of God in mission statement: Three. Mentions of the Creator in the same: Two. Mentions of God in 23-page policy statement: One. Mentions of abortion in the same: Nine. Website: chpbc.ca Twitter: @CHPCanadaLeader
Communist Party of B.C. Leader: George Gidora, a 62-year-old computer technician. Candidates: Six. One on Vancouver Island, one in Surrey, two in Vancouver, two in Kamloops. Slogan: Workers of the world, unite. Alternative slogan: You need to work all the Engels to get good Marx. Likes: Dictatorship of the proletariat, the Internationale, Trabants. Dislikes: Bourgeois imperialism, running-dog lackeys, putting the interests of the wealthy elite ahead of the working people. Little-known fact: Esquimalt-Metchosin candidate Tyson Strandlund’s middle name is Riel. The 24-year-old student was born after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Website: cpcbc.ca
Land Air Water—The L.A.W. Leader: Mervyn Ritchie, former editor and publisher of Terrace Daily News. Candidates: One. The leader in Skeena. Motto: “Don’t break the LAW, make the LAW.” Principles: Protect all life-sustaining elements; promote alternatives to petroleum; respect all indigenous rights. Dislikes: Petroleum products, Site C dam, transportation of diluted bitumen. Bold proposal: Legalize all drugs. Founding meeting: At the McDonald’s in Terrace in 2015. Favourite band: Earth Wind and Fire (presumed). Website: thelandairwaterpartyofbc.ca
Libertarian Leader: Clayton Welwood, who handles finances for a global construction contractor. Candidates: Thirty. Twenty-eight of them are men. The leader is running in North Vancouver. Slogan: “Lower taxes. More choice. Real freedom.” Likes: Ayn Rand, unfettered capitalism. Dislikes: Carbon tax. Drug laws. Taxes. Laws. Bold proposal: A tax form no larger than a postcard. Other bold proposal: Allow private alternatives to BC Hydro, BC Ferries, TransLink, BC Lottery Corporation, Insurance Corporation of B.C. Favourite song: “Taxman” by the Beatles (presumed). Website: libertarian.bc.ca Twitter: @BC_Libertarians
Republican Party Leader: Wei Chen. Candidates: One. Lawrence Chen in Richmond-Queensborough. Full name: B.C. New Republican Party. Suggested slogan: “No, not that Republican Party.” Principles: Lower taxes, protect environment, promote economic development. Trivia: Lawrence Chen was a B.C. Conservative candidate four years ago. Website: 6048805866.com
Vancouver Island Party Leader: Robin Richardson, a 74-year-old Harvard-trained economist. Candidates: Four. All in the Greater Victoria area. Purpose: To make Vancouver Island the 11th province. Rationale: Vancouver Island is a unique place. Hey, we’ve got more people than PEI or New Brunswick. Timetable: Separation referendum in 2021, negotiations with Canada completed by 2022, provincehood by 2023. Big-name candidate: Willie Nelson in Langford-Juan de Fuca. (No, not that Willie Nelson.) Trivia: The party leader represented a Toronto riding as a member of Parliament for 272 days. He was defeated by a challenger named Neil Young. (No, not that Neil Young.) Bold proposal: Extend the Esquimalt & Nanaimo Railway from Victoria to Campbell River, from Duncan to Youbou to Bamfield, from Parksville to Port Alberni to Tofino. Website: vanisleparty.com Twitter: @VanIsleParty (The party’s lone Tweet directs to a Facebook page. The link is broken.)
Your Political Party of BC Leader: James Filippelli, an electrical foreman in highrise construction. Candidates: Ten. Eight in Vancouver and two in Surrey. Achievement: The YPP is running as many candidates as the BC Conservatives. Principle: Transparency in government. Bold proposal: All contracts and statistics by the province, municipal governments, ICBC, BC Hydro, and First Nations governments to be made public. Likes: Town hall meetings in every constituency every four months. Dislikes: Proposed Jumbo Glacier ski resort. Website: yppofbc.com Twitter: @YPPOFBC
Sitting this one out: Eleven of the 29 political parties registered with Elections BC are not running candidates this election. Among them are the BC Marijuana Party, the BC Excalibur Party, the B.C. Peoples Party, the People’s Front, the Cultural Action Party, the Work Less Party (slogan: “Workers of the world, relax.”), the Platinum Party of Employers Who Think and Act to Increase Awareness, and the Unparty: The Consensus-Building Party, which apparently hs come to an agreement to take their party name at face value.