Kootenay-Columbia 2015

An editorial on the state of affairs in the riding, including a then-and-now comparison.

Last night I had the strangest dream. I dreamt that election day never came, but the campaign ground on and on until the end of time — kind of like we were in Hell. Where the advance of one party over the others by a single percentage point in the polls resulted in headlines along the lines of WAR DECLARED! Or MAN LANDS ON MOON!

It has been a long, wearying election, but the final few days are upon us — 12 as of this writing; the period when the knives come out, the final wave of attack ads are launched, and candidates’ knuckles are bloody from knocking on doors and slugging it out (figuratively) with each other.

Here in Kootenay-Columbia, it has been as different as can be from the last election in 2011. This election has shown us a raft of debates. In 2011 there was one debate in Cranbrook, poorly attended and late in the game. Last election Mr. Wilks was seldom seen in the public venues. This time around, he’s right in the mix, taking the attacks and dishing them out. The 2011 election was a gentlemanly affair, everyone seemed more polite. This time around there is much greater element of nastiness and hostility.

The 2011 election was, really, a foregone conclusion. This year, it seems anything is possible. There is a lot at stake here in Kootenay-Columbia, for so many, based on so many factors. A lot of talk of voting strategically, vote splitting, the addition of Nelson to the riding, and the polls, the polls, the polls …

It’s as tight as tight can be here in Kootenay-Columbia. The poll aggregator website ThreeHundredandEight.com has the NDP’s Wayne Stetski (39.3% of the projected vote) and the Conservatives incumbent David Wilks (37.4%) neck and neck. If these figures are accurate, this would amount to an astonishing drop in the Conservative vote — in 2011, David Wilks got almost 56%. The NDP got 33%. But where the Conservatives have dropped, the Liberals have gained (14%, according to the polls, from 3.5% in 2011), as have the Greens (6% in 2011, 10% this year, according to the polls).

The last 12 days of the campaign are going to be interesting in Kootenay-Columbia. Stay tuned for more.