By Bill Tieleman, 24 hours columnist
Is the BC Liberal Party polling the Vancouver-Fairview provincial riding to find out who they could run to replace outgoing New Democratic Party MLA Gregor Robertson?
Vancouver’s Mustel Group is fielding a major poll asking whether government statements about the provincial carbon tax claiming it is revenue neutral are believable and which party leader would make the best premier.
But perhaps the most interesting section – given exclusively to 24 hours by a reader polled last week – asks if they recognize and would vote for a number of potential candidates for all parties.
Included in the list are Rick Peterson, an investment firm owner running for the B.C. Liberal nomination, Vancouver city councillor Kim Capri, who recently said she won’t run for the Liberals, federal Green party deputy leader Adriane Carr, Hospital Employees Union secretary-business manager Judy Darcy, who lost the 2005 NDP nomination to Robertson, and Cambie Street business activist Susan Heyes.
BC Liberal Party spokesman Chad Pederson couldn’t say if his party was responsible but added it doesn’t comment on polling. NDP spokesperson Holly Read and Green party leader Jane Sterk both said their parties are not polling.
Heyes said her Hazel & Co. clothing store in the riding has suffered huge losses due to Canada Line rapid transit project construction.
“The B.C. Liberals must be worried that compensation for Cambie Street merchants will be a big issue in the byelection,” she said.
Pollster Evi Mustel confirmed her firm is fielding the questions but is subcontracted to “an eastern company” and is not otherwise involved.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION NOT PUBLISHED IN 24 HOURS
Heyes said the only party should would consider running for is the NDP due to Robertson's strong stand in favour of compensation for merchants who have been devastated by the lengthy cut and cover construction for the Canada Line - which businesses had been told would be done by bored tunnel so as not to disrupt street traffic.
Other questions include:
Is B.C. on the right track;
Is B.C. better or worse off than the rest of Canada;
What is B.C.’s key issue;
Have you heard about the carbon tax and what do you think of it;
Do you believe promises it will be revenue neutral;
What do you think of Gregor Robertson’s performance;
Which party would you vote for and which is your second choice;
How likely are you to switch to your second choice;
Who did you vote for last election;
What is your impression of B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell, NDP leader Carole James and Green leader Jane Sterk;
Demographic information questions like age group, income level and gender.
Evi Mustel said her firm does not undertake polling for provincial political parties but will accept fielding - telephoning - work as a subcontractor for other pollsters. That means, she said, Mustel Group is not involved in designing the poll or analysing, merely fielding it and passing on the raw data.
Heyes was one of the founders of Do RAV Right, a group of Cambie Street business and home owners who fought to force TransLink and the provincial government to used a bored tunnel construction process as had been promised instead of the cheaper and more disruptive cut and cover tunnel system being used by InTransit BC, the private contractor, and construction firm SNC-Lavalin.
A lawsuit by Do RAV Right to block the use of cut and cover failed in BC Supreme Court and the BC Court of Appeal.
Many Cambie Street merchants have declared bankruptcy or simply shut down their businesses due to the loss of customers caused by the construction, while others - like Tomato restaurant - have moved to other parts of the city.