Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Vancouver Quadra by-election - lots of candidates to vote against

Bill Tieleman’s 24 Hours Column

Tuesday March 11, 2008

The invisible byelection


Elections are won by men and women chiefly because most people vote against somebody rather than for somebody.

- Franklin Pierce Adams, U.S. columnist

If you're wondering why voters aren't Obama-like excited about Canadian federal politics, a short visit to the Vancouver Quadra byelection would quickly explain it.

Joyce Murray is the front running Liberal candidate, a disastrous former B.C. Liberal cabinet minister responsible for slashing environmental protection and wildlife staff in Premier Gordon Campbell's first term.

Campbell even eliminated the word "environment" from Murray's portfolio, making her: "minister of water, land and air protection."

Then there's the Green Party's Dan Grice, whose own leader unsuccessfully tried to block his candidacy! Elizabeth May took the unprecedented step of writing every Quadra Green Party member begging them to not nominate Grice.

May's March 2007 letter, obtained by 24 hours' Ian King, said: "A vote for None of the Above or a vote to re-open the nomination process would be appreciated. Either decision would give ... the opportunity to secure a high-profile candidate." Ouch.

And don't forget the invisible woman! Conservative candidate Deborah Meredith is dodging almost every riding debate and media interview, hardly a winning strategy for a party that finished 12,000 votes behind the Liberals in 2006.

Meredith's own "Campaign News" website shows no items since a Feb. 11 newsletter. Yikes!

Isn't the byelection on? The previous posting is dated Oct. 31, 2007. Was being a Tory candidate simply her Hall-oween costume?

That leaves NDP candidate Rebecca Coad, a young University of B.C. political science student with impressive energy but little hope of bringing the NDP from its third place finish in 2006 to first.

Grice's own blog shows perhaps why May took the unusual step of trying to block his nomination.

Grice notes that he grew up "rooting for" the federal Reform Party but says he gave up on them: "due to the rise of social conservatism in their platform."

Grice also wrote on a Green Party blog discussing legalizing marijuana that: "As a candidate, I want to be vocal about this but I am afraid this will stereotype us as the 'marijuana party?'" In an e-mail to me, Grice said he never "hides his opinions."

But it's Murray who has the really dubious political background.

As WALP minister, it was Murray who ended moratoriums that blocked new salmon fish farms and the hunting of grizzly bears, saw pesticide and waste management regulations watered down and 1,800 ministry jobs cut.

Perhaps as a result, Murray lost in her provincial re-election bid in New Westminster in 2005 and then lost a federal Liberal try in 2006 in New Westminster-Coquitlam.

This may be one byelection where voting against candidates makes the most sense.


RossK said...

Mr. T.

Looks like the stealth candidate did, indeed, cross Main Mall to show up for at least one debate at UBC. Not that it did her much good, apparently, with the target last audience.

And regarding Ms. Coad's candidacy.....do folks running things not realize how much impact students on the Point Grey campus can have given the predicted low turnout?


Anonymous said...

Fun article!

I'll have to show it to Elizabeth May, she just flew into town to support us for the final push.

Visit www.DanGrice.com to see the rest of my blog posts :-)

Budd Campbell said...

Bill, you might want to look at the Livable Region Blog and see what a perfectly obvious piece of Liberal promoting spin has been posted there by Andrew E. He endorses Joyce Murray in terms so glowing I cannot repeat them!

It backs up my theory that the Westside environmental NGOs are controlled by Liberals and are an instrument by which they defeat the NDP using green rhetoric, and conning the NDP into adopting election blowing "dumb and dumber" statements.

Anonymous said...

Bill, you have made a living tearing down others, yet I dont see you offering your name up for any nomination.

What horrible past must you have to be such a bitter, angry old man?

* said...

"fun article?? good god...dan grice IS a tool.


Anonymous said...

I think you could say the same thing about enviromental NGOs in Victoria as well, Budd Campbell. They even print David Anderson's rhetoric (i.e., his oil tanker issue). One way to become a green Liberal is to join the Green Party and then betray it such as Brionny Penn.

Dan Grice said...

Oh come on Vancouver Manifesto, Bill and I have a little bit of history.

Usually he calls me a snake oil salesperson supporting electoral reform, and I issue funny press releases mocking him and the other 4 people who think that our electoral system functions properly.

The only correction is that the letter from Elizabeth was sent to a nomination meeting after one of the EDA wanted to extend our 6 week long nomination contest.

Elizabeth and I are on great terms, she has come out twice to Vancouver, and spoken at UBC and twice in Kitsilano on our behalf.

Budd Campbell said...

"I think you could say the same thing about enviromental NGOs in Victoria as well, Budd Campbell."

Can't argue with that at all. Liberals have a certain skill for taking control of the field of play, and then manufacturing a public opinion climate that suits their partisan needs. Controlling advocacy groups and the media are two of the most obvious gambits.

Bill Tieleman said...

I'm not old!!!

Anonymous said...

Today, Friday March 14th, Stephane Dion and Michael Ignatieff will be holding a rally for Joyce Murray at her campaign office near 16th and MacDonald. Tonite Ignatieff will be holding a $100 per person fundraiser for Joyce at the Vancouver Museum, while Dion will be shuttled off to Surrey to hold a $10 a ticket fundraiser for Sukh Dhaliwal.