Notes from a strange election:
• When Grace Lore said she was running for office, we didn’t know she meant literally.
Lore, the NDP newcomer who appeared headed to a win in Victoria-Beacon Hill last night, ran a half marathon every Sunday in the month leading up to the election.
It was a good stress reliever, says the woman who ran with her, Lise Berube.
You might remember Berube from a column in May. Living with stage-four cancer, the 38-year-old mother of two decided that having just completed five rounds of radiation, and with a new chemotherapy treatment about to start, the time was right to run a full marathon. She completed four-plus laps of the Elk/Beaver Lake trail as a solo cancer-charity fundraiser.
What you probably don’t recall was that it was Lore, her friend, who ran in her shadow for the whole 42.2 kilometres (actually, they miscalculated and did 44.4.)
That, Berube says, speaks to Lore’s character. “Grace never says no to anybody who needs help,” Berube says. “Her attitude is, unwaveringly, just to say yes.”
• It looks like John Horgan will be the first B.C. New Democrat premier to win re-election.
Dave Barrett was one and done. So were Mike Harcourt and Glen Clark. The other two, Dan Miller and Ujjal Dosanjh, served without ever being voted in at all.
• After Christy Clark’s Liberals surprised everyone but Clark in beating Adrian Dix’s New Democrats in 2013, the NDP went looking for a new leader.
What’s forgotten now is that Horgan initially refused to run for the job, arguing that it was time for a new generation of New Democrats to take over. Instead, Horgan moved aside and waited for someone younger to jump in. And waited. And waited some more. Finally, Horgan stepped in to fill the vacuum, becoming leader by acclamation in 2014.
Last night, the 61-year-old was well on his way to tying with third-term Gordon Campbell as the oldest B.C. premier to win an election since 68-year-old W.A.C. Bennett in 1969.
He could still be Joe Biden’s son, though.
• Speaking of new generations, take a minute to consider the words of the Green Party’s candidate in Saanich South, Kate O’Connor, who turned 18 — the minimum age for running for election – just two weeks ago.
Asked about relatively low voting among her demographic, she replied: “It ties into this cycle where younger people are criticized and blamed by older people for not being politically engaged, or not being involved in government — and then when younger people like myself step up and try to participate in politics, we’re told that we’re too young and we’re not serious.”
When they’re greeted with smugness or pat-on-the-head condescension, and when the youngest MLA in the legislature is twice as old as you and unlikely to relate to your life, is it any wonder people O’Connor’s age feel disconnected?
“It’s not that young people don’t care,” O’Connor said at a campaign event in Duncan. They just don’t see themselves, and their fears and dreams, reflected.
• Voting by mail might be a pandemic-induced novelty/necessity for B.C., but it’s old hat to our American neighbours across the strait.
People in Port Angeles and the rest of Clallam county have voted almost exclusively by mail since 2001. The entire state of Washington has done so since 2011.
There are two big differences between our system and theirs, though.
First, the Americans count any ballot postmarked by the end of election day, even if it arrives later, whereas we only accept ballots that have been returned by then.
Second, they don’t wait for the polls to close before processing returned ballots. Votes don’t get counted until 8 p.m. on election day, but the preliminary work — opening envelopes, verifying ballots, ensuring they’re in the right jurisdiction — happens as they trickle in. As a result, there’ll be a big whack of results to announce on election night, Nov. 3.
In B.C., mail-in ballots won’t get counted for at least 13 days, as we have to check to make sure that those who voted by mail didn’t also vote in person at a polling station.
• Nostalgia quiz: Remember Pokemon Go? Or the ice bucket challenge? How about the amalgamation debate?
The latter was an election issue in 2017. This time? Crickets. We also heard little about a fix for the Malahat, a frequent-traveller program for B.C. Ferries, or a regional police force, all matters debated in 2017. Call them COVID casualties.