Thursday, January 6, 2011

The next recall - Comox Valley?

The choice of Comox Valley as the next recall target is a huge error on the part of the Recall organizers for several reasons.

First off it only makes it look like recall is there to get vacancies where the NDP can win the by-election.   Comox Valley was moderately close in 2009 with less than five percent between the NDP and Liberals.  Choosing ridings that the NDP would seem to be able to easily win in a by-election is not going to bring out a lot of people on the right side of the spectrum to work for recall or to sign the petition.   The more partisan a recall looks, the harder a time it will have in succeeding.

Second, the Anti-HST petition did OK but not brilliant in the Comox Valley.  They achieved 10,215 signatures or 21.3% of the voters - the petition was submitted with 12051 signatures but 1836 of them were not valid.  If one looks to the ridings that did best with the Anti-HST petition, Boundary Similkameen and Cariboo Chilcotin both managed to get more than 30% of the people to sign the Anti-HST petition.

Third, the logistics of the Comox Valley recall is difficult because of the high number of signatures needed to succeed.   For recall to succeed they need to collect a minimum of 19152 signatures in 60 days.  This is 320 signatures a day for 60 days.   Realistically the campaign needs at least 20,000 signatures to allow for errors and deal with challenges to any signatures and this means more like 333 signatures a day.  

Fourth, the media reports speak of the campaign having 212 people willing to volunteer for recall.   This is not an astounding number given the task that needs to be done and given the nature of the riding, this is not Oak Bay Gordon Head where you can walk from one end to the other of the riding in an afternoon, though on the other hand there are several town centres where you can set up and expect most people to see the petition and get a chance to sign it.   Since there are places to easily meet the people, I would expect most people that are willing to sign the petition to sign it within the first two weeks.

The problem with choosing Oak Bay Gordon Head and now Comox Valley is that it will create the narrative in the media, and therefore the public's mind, that recall will not be able to succeed.   The anger and populist ground swell there was for the Anti-HST petition is no longer there and bad choices for recall is going to dampen it further.  The upshot of this is that the two ridings were the odds were highest for recall to succeed, Cariboo Chilcotin and Boundary Similkameen, will no longer have any chance of success because the public will not come out to support the effort.
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