The BC Liberals didn’t need the three northwestern ridings to secure a majority in the 2013 provincial election, but to lose all three to the NDP must have been embarrassing nonetheless, given that this region was Ground Zero for the riches promised from the prospects of a liquefied natural gas industry.
Premier Christy Clark and her strategists are clearly out to change that now, first with the appointment of former-Haisla Nation chief councillor Ellis Ross as their candidate for the Skeena riding and now with naming Gitanyow deputy chief councillor Wanda Good as their candidate for the Stikine riding.
That both are aboriginal should not be lost on those who think aboriginal issues are the sole preserve of the NDP.
Both have demonstrated that at least within the top ranks of the aboriginal community, the BC Liberals can do business with that community: Mr. Ross with his pro-development stance based on the need for individual and community wealth creation and Ms. Good on the social side through her advocacy work with the provincial government’s plan for better transit along Hwy16.
To win, every party needs to capture a sizeable aboriginal vote and while it would be a mistake to assume the aboriginal community is homogeneous in all aspects, including voting, the NDP would be forgiven if they start hearing footsteps behind them.