Editorial: How the West was won

In the Kootenay West riding, half of the election ballot was made up of independent candidates.

When the smoke cleared on Tuesday night the might of the province’s two major political parties—the NDP and the Liberals—had won out.

The two parties placed 83 candidates in a total of 85 seats—NDP (33) and Liberals (50)—and they formed the government and the Official Opposition, with only one Green candidate and an independent winning a seat.

It was to be expected, with most ridings having little else to choose from in terms of a roster of candidates other than the NDP, Liberals, Green Party, some Conservative Party candidates and a smattering of 15 other provincial parties.

But in the Kootenay West riding, half of the election ballot was made up of independent candidates. The efforts of both young independent candidates, Joseph Hughes of Nakusp and Glen Byle of Trail, should be lauded.

Byle stepped up and added some thoughtfulness to the election, while Hughes’ knowledge and passion about the region and the issues it faces was a surprising and refreshing face to a faceless campaign.

For those who attended the all candidates forum in Rossland last week, they would have been equally impressed by Byle’s ideals, and Hughes’ professional and confident manner speaking on all issues.

The one hope gained from the 40th B.C. General Election is that the ground and votes gained by the two independent candidates won’t be lost—nor from the other 36 independent candidates province-wide—and a groundswell of independent candidates springs forth in subsequent elections.

The province as a whole could be better served with more independent MLA’s, ones that put the people and the land they represent first, and not party politics.