Public Affairs Update Header
April 8, 2013
In This Issue
Party Leaders in the Upcoming Election
Election Issues: Where the BC Liberal Party Stands
Election Issues: Where the BC NDP Stands
How Do British Columbians Feel About the Issues?
Pre-Writ Campaign Analysis
Media Analysis/Share of Voice
Poll Results
The Public Affairs Update is your weekly insight, perspective and analysis on politics in British Columbia and Canada.  This newsletter is brought to you by the largest, and most broadly-based business organization in the province, the BC Chamber of Commerce – the Voice of Business in BC.

In the run-up to and during the BC election on May 14, 2013, we will provide special editions of our Public Affairs Update. These reports will provide information on campaign developments, events, polling, media analyses and industry-specific information.

Party Leaders in Upcoming Election
Christy ClarkChristy Clark was sworn in as the premier of British Columbia on March 14th, 2011. Since then, Clark has positioned herself as a champion of three causes: putting families first, creating jobs, and open government. Prior to her time as premier, Clark was a popular radio host, and before that served as minister of education and deputy minister, among other roles in government and politics during her career.


As premier, Clark has articulated a number of priorities. She has championed B.C.’s LNG potential, likening the resource to that of oil in Alberta. She has also advanced her “Jobs Plan” which incorporates specific commitments to skills training, attracting investment, trade and a balanced budget. More recently, her government has faced criticism over a strategy to attract ethno cultural voters.


Adrian Dix

Adrian Dix is the leader of the BC NDP. He was elected leader in April 2011. First elected as an MLA in 2005, Dix has served as the opposition critic for children and families and health. Prior to becoming party leader, Dix was chief of staff to former B.C. premier Glen Clark. Dix has also worked in the education sector.


Dix’s leadership of the NDP campaign will likely focus on change and presenting the BC NDP as a safe, pragmatic, and compassionate choice for British Columbians who want to see a “new direction”. Dix promises to run a positive campaign focused on a few priorities. NDP promises will include improving skills training, reasserting BC’s responsibility over environmental reviews, and reducing inequality.

Election Issues: Where the BC Liberal Party Stands
Budget & EconomyThe BC Liberals advocate for both cautious spending and growth forecasts. The party is planning to use temporary tax increases, net-zero increases to public sector wages, a reduction in the size of the public sector and the continued growth of the provincial economy in order to achieve fiscal balance.

Health Care

The provincial government has committed to increasing health spending by $2.4 billion over the next three years. Since 2001, it has invested $8 billion in health care capital projects.


The BC Liberals are supporters of the Pacific Carbon Trust and endeavor to tackle climate change. Among other initiatives, if elected the BC Liberals plan to freeze the carbon tax rate for five years.

Natural Resource Development

The BC Liberals are supportive of natural gas development in BC. The government has highlighted the need to develop the resource efficiently in order to remain competiive and obtain benefits. Regarding pipelines and heavy oil, the party introduced five conditions that would shape any provincial approval.

Election Issues: Where the BC NDP Stands
Budget & EconomyThe BC NDP has positioned the Liberals’ budget as a deficit budget. The party points to unrealistic revenue projections for asset sales and argue low expenditures are misleading. The BC NDP has committed to balancing the deficit within the three-year business cycle and have identified the ‘skills crunch’ as an existing challenge for the BC economy.

Health Care

The BC NDP will likely make health care a key priority, especially in regard to training doctors, nurses and other health care providers. The party will likely advocate that the budget’s 2.4 per cent increase in health spending is not a realistic target.Environment

Climate change may be a central component of environmental policy. The party will emphasize measures of environmental oversight, like increasing the powers of the environmental assessment office. The party committed to using carbon tax revenues on projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions.Natural Resources

The BC NDP would likely welcome LNG investment in the province, provided the province keeps greenhouse emissions n check. The party will likely reassert B.C.’s right to scrutinize oil and gas project proposals by opting out of equivalency agreements that the Liberals signed. The BC NDP has opted for made-in-B.C. environmental assessments.

How do British Columbians Feel About the Issues?
The economy (26%) is still the most important issue, followed by health care (20%), leadership (14%) and the environment (9%). Similar to last month, Dix remains ahead of Clark when British Columbians are asked about the best person to handle health care (39% to 16%), education (39% to 17%), the economy (28% to 22%), and federal/provincial relations (25% to 21%). Green Party leader Jane Sterk is still the top option to handle the environment.Source: Angus Reid

Pre-Writ Campaign Analysis
This week, the BC Liberal Party transitioned to a new logo, replacing the previous ‘Christy Clark’ logo to one that focuses on the New BC Liberal team.The previous logo was introduced in 2011, shortly after Clark won the BC Liberal Party leadership race. When the logo was first introduced, the party was rebounding in the polls and Clark’s approval ratings were high.

Mike McDonald, the party’s election-campaign director, has stated publicly that the change is not related to lower approval ratings, and was instead designed to highlight the importance of team members and candidate recruitment.


The NDP began the week by launching an “attack ad” about themselves. People have come to expect these types of tactics from political parties during elections; however the intriguing nature of this ad was that it was a tongue-in-cheek exaggeration of attack ads generally and as such, a criticism of the practice, and potentially an antidote to BC Liberal ads.

The BC Liberals and their third-party supporters have been running attack ads against Dix and the NDP for several months. The focus of these ads has been to remind voters of the NDP’s fiscal record when they were in government during the 90’s. At this point in the campaign, it does not appear those ads have gained much public attention.

The main NDP initiative this week was a press conference during which Bruce Ralston, NDP finance critic, provided a critique of the government’s budget, including disclosure of some areas where the NDP would increase spending. The press conference also revealed that the NDP, should it form government, will undertake a general review of all government agencies and programs.

Media Analysis/Share of Voice
Premier Christy Clark leads Adrian Dix in both traditional news and social media share of voiceOver the past week (March 30 – April 5) Christy Clark generated 60 per cent share of voice – with 619 mentions – across all media types. Adrian Dix trailed at 40 per cent overall share of voice, with 406 total mentions. These numbers are likely to even out as the election campaign progresses.

Despite leading in overall share of voice, the breakdown is closer on Twitter – with Clark generating 57 per cent, compared to 43 per cent for Dix.

Poll Results
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This weekly report produced for the BC Chamber of Commerce by Fleishman-Hillard.  While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information included in this publication as of the date of issue, events and government policies are subject to frequent change.  Therefore, the BC Chamber of Commerce and Fleishman-Hillard cannot assume any responsibility for actions taken solely or principally on the basis on the information contained herein.