“A fantastic result.”
That’s how NDP MLA Robin Austin described Nathan Cullen’s win and the margin by which he won.
Not that it was a surprise, he said, since when you had a strong MP, lots of people wanted to vote for him – and not just those who would describe themselves as NDPers.
Austin recalled that in his door-knocking sessions for Cullen he had met people who told him they were not really NDP supporters but admired Cullen for his smarts and his work effort and were therefore going to vote for him.
“He crossed all kinds of party lines and that in part explains why he has won so convincingly.”
On the national result, Austin admitted, “I never dreamed the NDP would become the official opposition in Canada.”
He was therefore “excited and thrilled”.
And hoped the party could now prove that it was a government in waiting instead of being marginalized as “left wing people who don’t understand the economy and what it means to families.”
While congratulating Harper on his victory, Austin said he was “very, very nervous to think the Conservatives have a majority” given they were “offside” on a number of issues in the Northwest.
“And the first topic that comes to mind is their treatment of the Enbridge pipeline and tankers off the West Coast.”
Asked what implications the NDP’s national performance could have for the provincial election expected later this year, Austin said he hoped it would translate to the provincial vote but suspected it would not.
“The so-called orange crush only really happened in Quebec,” he pointed out, adding the NDP picked up only eight seats throughout the rest of Canada. Therefore, “I don’t think it’s going to have a big impact on the provincial scene.”
Predicting the BC election would be “an absolute dogfight”, Austin said the New Democrats had to present a platform that made British Columbians understand the party had a different focus as to what it would do with the economy, “to make it work for everybody and not just the few who have benefited in the last 10 years.”
If the party could make that argument, it had a good chance of winning.
“If we can’t, we won’t,” Austin said.