| VANCOUVER, April 11
VANCOUVER, April 11 British Columbia's ruling
Liberal Party and the opposition New Democratic Party were in a
dead heat as election campaigning kicked off in the western
Canadian province on Tuesday, four weeks before voters go to the
A loss for the Liberals on May 9 could derail big oil and
gas projects in the province. NDP leader John Horgan has vowed
to stop Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain pipeline
expansion and has expressed reservations about a liquefied
natural gas terminal that Malaysia's Petronas may
The Liberals are seeking a fifth consecutive term, with a
backdrop of voters opting for change in the neighboring province
of Alberta in the Canadian federal election and in the United
States in the past two years.
The provincial Liberals are not linked to Canadian Prime
Minister Justin Trudeau's Liberal Party and are more
Adding uncertainty to the outcome of the provincial election
is an early jump in support for the BC Green Party and its
leader, Andrew Weaver, said David Valentin, executive vice
president at Ottawa-based polling firm Mainstreet Research.
Although support is up, nearly half of Green Party
supporters say they might change their minds about which party
to give their votes. It is not clear which of the two big
parties would benefit the most.
"That is the X-factor for us right now because we have seen
so many elections where the improbable becomes not just probable
but reality," Valentin said in an interview.
He pointed to the surprise win in 2015 by the left-leaning
NDP in the oil-producing province of Alberta, a traditional
Conservative Party stronghold.
According to the latest Mainstreet/Postmedia poll, which
surveyed respondents April 1-3, 26 percent of voters would back
the Liberals, 29 percent the NDP, the official opposition, 13
percent the Green Party and 9 percent the Conservative Party.
Some 23 percent of voters were undecided.
The issue of fundraising is expected to emerge as a campaign
issue in a province that has few limits on political
contributions. The New York Times in January called British
Columbia the "'Wild West' of Canadian political cash" and said
there was an "unabashedly cozy relationship between private
interests and government officials in the province."
Unaffordable housing could also weigh on the Liberals, who
have been in power for nearly 16 years. With its million-dollar
tear-downs, Vancouver, British Columbia's biggest city, is the
most expensive real estate market in Canada.
(Reporting by Nicole Mordant in Vancouver; Editing by Dan