An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.
OH, HOW FAR they have fallen.
The recent resignation of Gina Myhill-Jones as the NDP candidate in Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo is symbolic of the general state of the New Democrats’ fortunes in Canadian politics right now.
Myhill-Jones was a candidate who did little more than fill a place on the ballot for the NDP. No matter what her convictions and party loyalty, she was never going to rise higher than a third-place finish at best.
The loss of even a place-holder candidate is a severe embarrassment for the party but it’s typical of what’s going on at the national level.
Gone are the heady days when Jack Layton led the party to official opposition status in the Orange Crush of 2011, with the NDP taking 103 seats in the federal election.
The NDP’s star burned bright but briefly, turning into an Orange Crash in 2015, and there’s been no sign of resurgence since, certainly not under the leadership of Jagmeet Singh.
National pollsshow the NDP hanging on to third place some 20 percentage points behind both the Liberals and Conservatives and barely higher than the Greens.
If the election was held now, the New Democrats would hold roughly 20 seats, likely losing a few to the Green Party.
In Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo, their chances look similar to the national picture. No matter who they come up with to replace Myhill-Jones, it’s going to be a two-party race, and the NDP isn’t going to be in it.
The local election will be between the Liberals and Conservatives, just as the federal election will be.
Far from being the threat they once were, the NDP is on the brink of annihilation, and there will be some deep navel-gazing to be done after it’s all over.
Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and former 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.