Here are my lessons learned from the B.C. election campaign:
1) Canadian pollsters have no real idea which way Canadian voters are going to vote.
2) Parties that listen too much to pollsters who say they are 20 points ahead and assume they merely have to "not make mistakes" while on cruise control in order to win are probably headed to defeat.
3) If English Canadian voters have to choose between a flawed Liberal/Conservative and a flawed New Democrat, they'll pick the flawed Liberal/Conservative every time.
4) Running a "positive" campaign in the face of a massively negative campaign by your opponents, will lead to your defeat and victory for your opponents.
5) The 2011 result for the federal NDP was a fluke. The engineers of that 2011 result ran the BC NDP campaign in 2013 and failed miserably. In 2011, during the so-called Orange Crush, it's worth noting the NDP won only a handful more seats in English Canada. Only in fickle Quebec were they quite successful.
6) The attack that the NDP is bad at managing the economy resonates deeply with mainstream, English Canadians, even out on the west coast.
7) With a united conservative option under the BC Liberals, the BC NDP seems incapable of winning. Only when the conservative vote was divided in 1972, 1991 and 1996 did the BC NDP win.
8) Progressive voters interested in replacing conservative governments had better find another party than the NDP. Even after 12 years of BC Liberal rule, the BC NDP actually lost support.
I truly hope that Justin Trudeau continues to grow as a leader of the federal Liberals. Thus far, he's impressed me on a number of fronts. But there is much more work for him to do. The most important is probably learning Lesson #4.