With her provincial Liberal opponent Wally Oppal in the lead by just three votes, independent Delta South candidate Vicki Huntington could still win a seat in the legislature after all the ballots are counted. But Ms. Huntington wasn't the only independent who performed well in the recent election. In Peace River North, Arthur Hadland won 31.95 percent of the vote - coming in second to Liberal Pat Pimm at 43.50 percent. By comparison, in 2005, Mr. Pimm's predecessor Richard Neufeld won 59.37 percent of the vote. So what happened?
In an interview with Public Eye, Mr. Handland explained, "The issue is southern policies are developed in the south by a party structure that doesn't listen to the people. When you elect your MLA, his or her first obligation is to the party. If you look at the constitution of the Liberals - and I think the NDP have it too - the power brokers control the whole structure....It's a democratic dictatorship."
But was there any specific issues, such as Mr. Handland's opposition to the proposed Recognition and Reconciliation Act, which galvanized support for his candidacy? "It was part of it. There were two parts. The Recognition and Reconciliation Act and the lack of debate and transparency in Victoria and the use of closure - I think that was there. And the whole issue of the carbon tax is a real negative for all of us."
So what message should the government take away from the fact an independent candidate almost won Peace River North? "I think there's a strong message going out there that the party system doesn't represent the people," Mr. Handland replied. "The system is broke. And it is really reflected in the lack of voter turnout. People have just thrown up their hands. They see they have no influence, no say in their own affairs."