|NDP leadership debate - is party moving Forward or Backward |
by allowing voting to start before official debates end?
It was a great federal New Democrat leadership debate in Vancouver this afternoon.
Informative, entertaining and enlightening.
But I have one great big complaint - and it has nothing to do with any of the candidates.
Why is the federal NDP holding the last of its official leadership debates with voting for a new leader already well underway?
And why is long-suffering British Columbia subject to that old feeling we used to get on election night before staggered voting hours were introduced - that voters back East had already decided the results before our first ballots were counted?
We would turn on the TV and find that CBC, Global and CTV had already called the election!
So if the party feels these debates don't matter to NDP members and won't make any difference in candidate choices - then the ballots should have been sent out before the first debate even took place.
Obviously that's not how they feel and it didn't happen.
So if debates do matter and can change minds - then bloody well don't allow voting to take place until they're over!
What's worse is that British Columbia members have been strongly warned by the NDP that their ballots need to be in the mail by Monday March 12 to ensure they are counted.
That's less than 24 hours after the debate series ended. Anyone concerned about getting their vote in has already popped it in the mail.
What's still worse is that after the debate, attended by 350 in studio and hundreds more in overflow rooms at CBC, I talked to at least four people who said they had changed their minds after watching - but couldn't change their votes! They had already mailed in the preferential ballot.
So what about the thousands more NDP members watching the CBC NewsNetwork broadcast or online?
We in BC are well-known for our grievances against the East, Ottawa and Central Canada.
We don't like feeling left out.
So why did the federal NDP just do it again?