Thursday, May 31, 2012

Non-Competitive Ridings in BC

Here in BC there are no shortage of ridings that either the NDP or Liberals think they have no hope in and put almost no resources into.   My own riding of Victoria Swan Lake is one example for the BC Liberals as moribund riding.

I understand why a party would not want to spend many resources on a riding they think they have no hope in at all.  There is benefit in using field resources to help build up the weak ridings so that down the road they are ones that a party has a hope of winning.   I think back to the history here in Victoria.   The Victoria riding for years was one the BC Liberals or Social Credit won but then in 1975 Charles Barber won one of the seats for the NDP, in the 1975 election went from 38 seats to 18, I think Victoria was their only gain.   Charles Barber spent many years working at the grass roots to build up support for the NDP.

I know I should be doing more myself on the ground to re-build the BC Liberals on the ground, but I am busy.

Meanwhile over on the NDP side, there is some unhappiness about this in the riding of Nechako Lakes.

Here is a letter this morning from Mike Summers to the NDP that he posted on Facebook:

My letter to the NDP, May 31, 2012. The text as follows;

NECHAKO LAKES AGM, The meeting that wasn't.

Congratulations all.

You have successfully managed to piss away a year, without an AGM in Nechako Lakes.
I have tried to get the executive here to call one. 
Bryron Goerz is no longer taking my calls.
Leslie Kerr is on holidays again. In the time that I have been a member, she has never returned a call. I have spoken to Matt in the office, but in all fairness, he said there isn't much he can do.
I wanted to get a piece of policy submitted, but it has to come from the constituency, and well, there wasn't a meeting. I missed the deadline apparently.

It is now clear to me, that you people have no intention to fight for Nechako Lakes. No intention to fight for democracy.

I formally want to protest the violation of the constitution, requiring an Annual General Meeting, ANNUALLY. It is my understanding that at least two years have lapsed since the last one.

Except for the three of us on this email, don't live here. John Rustad is our MLA.
People are sick of him. We could win if we try just a little bit.
As you know, I have tried to get to work here. But, lack of any organization, has prevented me from doing anything.

In the one meeting we had in a restaurant, I have started a facebook page, featuring the Nechako Lakes NDP.
I am not reaching people. 
And it's not effective.

So, I have a suggestion.
Maybe we ALL should get our shit together, or simply tell John Rustad, not to worry about us. We won't put up any fight.

To say that I am pissed with the NDP, in spite of the fact that I am supporting this amateur organization because I hate the BC Lib/Cons and what they have done and are doing to BC.

And, I made no bones about the fact that I wanted to run here, and that being different than appointing somebody to fill an election spot because you have no volunteers. 

Be forewarned. I am publishing this letter. 

Mike Summers

Mike Summers ran in Nechako Lakes in 2009 for the BC Refederation Party.   He was also the leader of the party in the election but has since quit and joined the BC NDP.


Anonymous said...

This message is not directed towards the roughly 35% of Nechako Lakes constituents who plan to vote for the NDP in the upcoming provincial election. My hope is to communicate with the 65% of voters who clearly share my doubts about the alleged benefits of socialist economics: I’m speaking to disenfranchised Liberals, but especially to Conservatives. And I say to you in particular, consider the facts: Recent polls indicate the NDP will almost certainly form the next provincial government, possibly in a landslide victory. Meanwhile, the Liberals are predicted to retain as few as 9 seats in the legislature, after the May 14th election is over. So, if you’re not one of the 35% of Nechako Lakes constituents who are planning to vote for the NDP, you should perhaps pause to consider the consequences of the NDP’s inevitable rise to power, and the resulting absence in the Legislature of a viable opposition.

Pollsters have identified Nechako Lakes as one of only a few ridings the Liberals could conceivably retain in the upcoming election. But these same pollsters are predicting that the Conservatives, with Dan Brooks as their candidate, are poised to act as spoilers in the May 14th vote.

Currently the polls indicate about 15% popular support for the BC Conservative Party in the Interior and Northern ridings. Obviously this level of support is insufficient to elect an MLA, but it’s more than enough to split the anti-NDP vote. Now consider the implications of vote-splitting in the Nechako Lakes riding: In 2009 John Rustad won Nechako Lakes for the Liberal Party with about 56% of the popular vote, while the NDP received about 35% of votes cast. And the Green Party received about 6% of the vote. But there was no Conservative candidate in the riding to split the anti-NDP sentiment.

However, in the upcoming May 14th provincial election, the outcome in the Nechako Lakes riding could easily be reversed, as a result of Dan Brooks running for the Conservative Party. Provincial polls show the NDP has increased its share of popular support since the last election. It’s also clear that the estimated 15% of constituents who plan to vote Conservative in the upcoming election voted Liberal previously. Therefore, projected Conservative support in the Nechako Lakes riding could conceivably split the anti-NDP vote, thus enabling Ms. Skidmore-Hewlitt to win the election. So here’s a question worth asking: Do non-NDP voters in the Nechako Lakes riding care whether a viable opposition Party exists in the provincial Legislature, after the May 14th election is over?

On his website Dan Brooks tries to reassure Nechako Lakes constituents not to worry about splitting the anti-NDP vote:

The Liberals blame the Conservatives for splitting the vote…I maintain, it’s their own fault!…Make no mistake, the vote splitting argument is asking us to abandon our principles….Voting for the party that does the least amount of damage is not a good reason to vote. You want a good reason to vote….

However, politics is about more than just principle, it’s also about pragmatism. Read between the lines, and you can see Mr. Brook’s true sentiments:

With the stroke of a pen by the BC Liberals, everything I have worked for in the past 15 years is now unsustainable, my business cannot survive, and within 3 years I will be forced to close down. The BC Liberals have destroyed my business…and I intend to hold them to account…

I am indignant at the injustice of the thing. And I realize now, that no excuse the Liberals offer can compensate me for my loss, no excuse is sufficient to pacify me…I am determined to defeat the Liberals.

Needless to say, the above statements do not reflect the spirit of good governance. However emotionally satisfying it may be for Mr. Brooks to defeat the Liberals on May 14th, such an outcome is unlikely to serve the constituents of Nechako Lakes nearly as well.

Make no mistake: On May 14th a vote for the Conservatives is a vote for the NDP. Now more than ever, voting Liberal is the right thing to do.

A Concerned Citizen

Anonymous said...

To Concerned Citizen

Are you sure this isnt John Rustad ?

Anonymous said...

John Rustad is a hard-working MLA who has served the Nechako Lakes riding to the best of his ability.

Believe it or not, I'm not a member of the BC Liberal Party. And the previous posting is not John Rustad's, it's my own.

I will however accept your insinuation as a compliment.