Chris Aikman of the BC Greens garnered 3,292 votes — 11.48 per cent of the popular vote — to place third in the Comox Valley riding behind first-place Liberal incumbent Don McRae and second place NDP candidate Kassandra Dycke in the provincial election Tuesday.
“That’s the way the cookie crumbles, as they say,” said Aikman, a Green candidate in the 2005 election. “We run to try to change the public agenda. I think we’ve gotten things talked about. The day will come where the merits of this will be measured. But we have to accept what voters say.”
Despite pre-election ratings that favoured the NDP, the BC Liberals came out on top and will remain in power.
“It’s going to give the pollsters something to write about for a long time,” Aikman said.
He was happy with what he considers a clean campaign in the Valley, unlike the nastiness that was apparent at times at the provincial level.
“Locally among the four candidates, we had a very good, fair discussion of things. Generally I think we can all feel good about that.”
Green Party of BC leader Jane Sterk finished second in voting behind former provincial NDP leader Carole James in the Victoria-Beacon Hill riding. In Oak Bay-Gordon Head, Andrew Weaver became the first Green elected in North America at the state/provincial level, or non-federal jurisdiction.
“This is a breakthrough,” Aikman said. “It helps to have a Nobel Prize. He shared in that with the national panel on climate change. He ran a very good campaign, very organized.”
Overall, Aikman feels the Greens were better organized than in 2005. In the 2009 election, he notes his party was largely outspent by its competitors. The NDP spent about $111,000 in the Valley constituency, the Liberals roughly $93,000 and the Greens about $3,000. He expects the Green budget was again less than $3,000 this time around.
“That’s a big factor. We do what we can, and we try to put things on the table.”
Aikman feels the electoral system does not favour small parties.
“You don’t generally get seats unless you get 20 per cent of the vote, and then if you get 40 per cent you probably end up winning a majority, so it distorts the response between number of votes and number of seats … (Green Party of Canada leader) Elizabeth May has shown the power of one in this country and she’s an inspiration to us all.
“I guess if there’s a lesson to be learned from this election, it is that maybe we need to work towards electoral reform even harder so that all the different voices are represented in our legislatures. That’s a long-term goal.”