I don't know and haven't checked what the legal time limits are for calling this by-election.
That being said, I thought that I would provide some thoughts from a historical perspective.
The May, 1981 by-election was the first which ever crossed my radar screen when Rafe Mair had earlier resigned his Kamloops seat, which was considered a swing riding to that time, always electing a government MLA.
At that time, Dave Barrett was attempting to broaden the NDP's appeal and a centrist-type, Howard Dack, then Kamloops city councillor, was the nominated candidate.
Claude Richmond (current House Speaker BTW) was nominated by the Socreds.
Then Vancouver Sun political columnist Marjorie Nichols parlayed an internal opinion poll (which party?) which showed the NDP 20 points in the lead and stated that the NDP could run a broom and get elected in the riding.
Before the May 24th long weekend, when the vote was held, Claude Richmond, Socred, surprisingly took the seat.
At that time, the Socred government was vilified for the tax fee increases and other matters since the 1979 provincial election.
Thereafter, I also recall 6 by-elections, the "6- pack" as Mike Harcourt so proclaimed in terms of by-election victories by the NDP after Bill Vander Zalm took over the Socreds helm during the period between 1986 through to 1991.
At that time, Vander Zalm seemed to be a parochial ruler, so to speak, who took the Socreds into so-con territory and was involved in scandals of his own making - Fantasy Gardens, breach of trust etc.
Many members of his own cabinet resigned and IIRC some even moved to the opposition benches.
Former Socred ridings like Oak Bay - Gorden Head fell to the NDP as moderate Socreds stayed home in droves and ultimately switched to Gordon Wilson's Libs in 1991.
In the present circumstances, of the 7 Surrey provincial ridings, Surrey Panorama Ridge could be considered the Surrey swing riding.
The 1996 results of NDP - 47, Lib 40.3 should attest to this.
From an analytical perspective, the provincial Libs do not carry the same stigma as the Vander Zalm Socreds of the late 1980's.
In this instance they may have more in common with Bennett's Socreds during the peak of the housing boom in May, 1981 although that does not mean the Libs will win the seat.
If and when the by-election is called the likely more motivated voters of the NDP will elect the eventual winner.
I've seen the internal opinion poll released by the NDP for the riding, but based upon previous experience with such polls from all parties, I would prefer to see an independent poll such as those commissioned by Compas during the recent federal election.
[ 06 July 2004: Message edited by: Centrist ]