An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.
ARE THE BC CONSERVATIVES really socialists in free enterprise clothing?
Sounds like a ridiculous proposition, but let’s look at the provincial by-election coming up in Nanaimo next week and you tell me.
There’s a full slate of candidates from mainstream parties plus a couple of fringe parties. The New Democrats are favoured to retain the riding, and they’re getting some unexpected help from the BC Conservatives.
Despite Nanaimo being regarded as an NDP stronghold, Liberal candidate Tony Harris is putting up a good fight against New Democrat Sheila Malcolmson, a former MP. The Greens and BC Conservatives are out of the running.
But here’s the catch. A poll commissioned by The Orca opinion website shows the NDP in front with 42 per cent of the vote followed by the Liberals with 38 per cent. That’s within the 5.8 per cent margin of error for the poll.
In other words, it’s a dead heat.
The Greens have 13 per cent and the BC Conservatives are at an uncharacteristically high six per cent. It’s a safe bet that six per cent is coming at the expense of the Liberals. It just might be, then, that the Conservatives’ presence in the by-election will serve to keep the seat for the NDP.
This is of no small consequence. If the NDP were to lose the seat to the Liberals, the two would be tied in the Ledge and there’s a good possibility B.C. would be into a general election.
But a rightwing split keeps the left in power. Maybe it feels good to a party with no permanent leader, no discernable platform and little support to play a key role in the outcome. Or maybe the Tories should be careful what they wish for.
I’m Mel Rothenburger, the Armchair Mayor.
Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and newspaper editor. He publishes the ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.