Friday, January 21, 2011

Recall - Comox starting and Oak Bay Gordon Head ending

Comox Valley has been approved for a recall starting on Friday and running till March 22nd.  Here is the text why Don Mcrae should be recalled:
I am proposing the recall of the Comox Valley Member of the Legislative Assembly, Don McRae, because he continues to support the Harmonized Sales Tax and does not represent the clear wishes of his constituents.
During the last election campaign, the Premier and Finance Minister stated that the Harmonized Sales Tax was NOT on their agenda. British Columbian voters re-elected them believing in that assurance. Only seventy-two days later, the British Columbia Liberals, with NO public consultation, debate or enabling legislation, implemented this tax through an order in council. The successful campaign to repeal the Harmonized Sales Tax was a clear message to Mr. McRae and the government, collecting twelve thousand fifty-one signatures, or twenty-five point two percent of registered voters in the Comox Valley Riding.
Don McRae supports an expensive provincial referendum (over thirty million dollars) in September of this year, creating economic uncertainty which is harming many businesses and consumers.
Comox Valley voters deserve honesty and accountability from their elected representatives. A successful recall tells this and future governments that they must openly and fairly represent those who elected them.

This is the sort rant I would expect against the HST, it also means there is likely very little chance of success.   There are still people angry about the HST, but for many people the government has listened by putting the issue to referendum and agreeing to abide by the result no matter the turnout.  At the same time Gordon Campbell has resigned.   The white hot heat of the opposition has been muted and there is no longer the energy out there to get the signatures.

The Comox Valley recall petition has some knocks against it.

  • It was a close result last time and therefore many right of centre will not sign because they are afraid the NDP might win.
  • The voter turnout in the election was only 61% in the last election.   In Oak Bay Gordon Head it was 67%.  Non voters are much less likely to sign the petition
  • The total number of signatures needed is 19,348, the most of any riding in BC and significantly more than the Anti-HST initiative managed to achieve in 90 days.

The Comox Valley recall campaign will have to average 333 signatures a day.   Realistically the campaign will have to manage to get to about 10,000 in the first two weeks to have any hope of reaching the goal.   This is more than 700 per day for the first two weeks.

I really do not like the reasons the recall is being launched but the public has the right to launch a recall for whatever reason they want.   I think the bar set is a very reasonable one because it is achievable by a well organized group that is looking to remove an unpopular MLA.

193 canvassers were registered in the Paul Reitsma recall in 1999 and they collected 25,430 signatures in 60 days  - 17,020 were needed.   That was 60% of the people in the riding.   The bar is realistic and achievable, it is just not achievable when you can not get a majority of the people on board with the idea of recalling your candidate.   The Reitsma recall shows that 19,348 is not unachievable.

The Reitsma recall did not have the fear of the seat being won by the NDP and therefore Liberals could sign the petition without feeling like they were helping the NDP.  It is this one fact that is going to make any recall in a riding that was close in 2009 almost impossible to achieve.

There have two recalls that submitted their signatures but were ultimately short in verified signatures.   In 1997 the campaign against Paul Ramsey the total number of signatures submitted was 600 signatures short so they were not verified.   In 2002 the recall against Val Roddick in Delta South submitted 13,168 and needed 11,949 but 3,169 signatures were not valid.   The organizers did not do their due diligence in that case and check the signatures.

In both these cases the campaigns came close to being successful.   The bar is reasonable and achievable, you just need to have the majority of the people really dislike the MLA.

Meanwhile Oak Bay Gordon Head is chugging along to failure, it looks like the recall campaign will be hard pressed to reach 10,000 people.   This means that even if all the signatures were from NDP voters in 2009, 10% of the 2009 NDP supporters will not have signed the recall.
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