24 Hours: Get ready for Silly Season in 2011

voting sign
Get used to seeing these voting place signs in 2011

This is my column from Thursday’s 24 Hours newspaper

Are you ready for silly season, folks? This is what happens when election time is rolling near. With so many upcoming contests 2011 promises to be a doozy.

There are the votes we know are coming – BC Liberals choose a new Premier in February, and the NDP look for someone to replace Carole James in April. There is the HST referendum currently scheduled for September 24th, but possibly moved to an earlier date.

Gordon Campbell is hinting he’ll step down once his party chooses a new leader. And if recall organizers get required signatures, it’s goodbye Ida Chong in Oak Bay-Gordon Head. Both of these situations would automatically trigger by-elections.

There are all the municipal campaigns happening in November, but some are suggesting that a Provincial election might happen this year too. Out in Ottawa, the Conservatives must be asking themselves with their high poll numbers if now is the time to drop the writ.

With so much unpredictability, it’s going to be hard to forecast exactly what will happen in the year ahead. But I get paid to do it, so here’s my best shot.

You can count on plenty of showboating by candidates for office. Note recent motions by Vision Vancouver councillors eager for a little media attention.

One of them put forward a motion to protect consumers from big bad telcomms looking to alter their Internet pricing, and the other demanded an apology in a confused debate about a national magazine article. It didn’t have much to do with governing cities, but it earned plenty of ink.

In 2011 I bet we have silly season on steroids.

There won’t be many changes around Metro Vancouver mayors with the possible exception of Rick Green in the Township of Langley. Coquitlam’s Richard Stewart should be re-elected in spite of recent emotions around homeless shelters.

Powerful mayors like Dianne Watts, Derek Corrigan and Malcolm Brodie are certain to be re-elected barring any unforeseen controversies.

In Vancouver, on the other hand, things are not so staid. A recent poll indicated a horse race could break out for the mayor’s job if the NPA present a good candidate. A re-balancing of power away from Vision Vancouver is a likely outcome in November, with many of Gregor Robertson’s caucus facing possible election losses.

As for Robertson himself, he’ll be tough to beat provided his handlers keep him in his bubble until Election Day.

On the federal scene, if the polls hold for Harper, you can bet an election will be called by the fall. Back in B.C. however, the new Premier will not be looking for a mandate.

Once you get the top job, why would you risk losing it when it’s yours for two years?

- post by Mike

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