The Party System
Prior to the 1900s, men (and in those days, it was just men) ran for office essentially as independents. There were no formal provincial political parties operating in B.C. at that time. During this period, "group government" was practiced. That is, loose alliances of MLAs formed around various leaders.
That all changed in the
1903 election campaign. Most of the successful candidates ran under the banner of one of the two federally-aligned parties, the Conservatives and the Liberals (both the Labour Party and the Socialist Party of B.C. elected at least one MLA as well).
Since then, political parties have dominated almost every election campaign, and every government has been a party government, although during the 1940s, the B.C. Conservative and Liberal parties came together in a coalition government. During the provincial general election of 2020, there were 17 registered political parties operating in B.C.
For more information on B.C.’s political parties, visit the
Elections B.C. website.
DID YOU KNOW?
In the 1871 election, 3,804 votes were cast for a total of 46 candidates. In the 2020 election, 1,883,632 votes were cast for 332 candidates.