FOULDS: The socialist hordes are already inside the gates
If nothing else, Todd Stone is optimistic.
The CEO of iCompass Technologies in Kamloops is seeking to secure the B.C. Liberal nomination in Kamloops-South Thompson and succeed outgoing MLA Kevin Krueger.
Based on the popularity of the B.C. Liberals in the eyes of the electorate — yesterday’s funding announcement at Royal Inland Hospital by Premier Christy Clark notwithstanding — it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Stone is already being spoken of as the candidate, even with a nomination meeting yet to be held.
With every day seemingly revealing yet another poll showing the governing Liberals falling faster and faster, can a robust field of candidates be expected?
Stone’s announcement that he is seeking the nomination stands in stark contrast to the roll call of B.C. Liberal MLAs who have decided to pack it in.
Like a salmon returning to the spawning grounds, Stone is swimming against a mighty current — and, when he arrives, he just might find the decaying flesh of a once-formidable political party.
Krueger, Harry Bloy, Kash Heed, Dave Hayer and Murray Coell all decided recently they will not be seeking re-election.
Barry Penner and Iain Black have already quit, while Finance Minister Kevin Falcon and Education Minister George Abbott have yet to confirm a re-election run in the May 14, 2013 vote.
There will surely be more B.C. Liberal MLAs who will decide to opt out of next year’s election campaign — and that means more new faces like Stone’s on election signs provincewide.
Whether that transition is viewed as an exodus or influx depends on one’s viewpoint.
A more crucial point is the comment made by Stone at his announcement at his downtown office this week.
He said the B.C. Liberals can prevail if free enterprisers stick together.
That is the key — if they stick together.
A degree in political science is not needed to understand British Columbia’s two-party system can be seriously impacted by a credible third party.
With the B.C. Conservatives under John Cummins siphoning off more support every day, it is abundantly clear the so-called free-enterprise vote has already been fractured.
B.C. Liberal MLAs have recited the party argument again and again — that free enterprisers need to stick together if we are to keep the New Democrats out of power.
It’s a cry that carries with it a 40-year echo, born from words that left the mouth of W.A.C. Bennett during the August 1970 election campaign, when he warned voters “the socialist hordes are at the gates of British Columbia!”
(This warning was issued despite Bennett’s government engaging in some curiously socialist-style decisions — such as nationalizing BC Ferries and BC Hydro).
Voters then didn’t care and ended Bennett’s 30-year hold on power by electing Dave Barrett and the NDP.
The New Democrat hordes are today already inside the gates and rearranging furniture in the premier’s office, if polls are to be believed.
Yes, the election is 10 months away and that can be an eternity in politics.
Then again, it can also be a split second when issues like the HST, BC Rail and questionable pay raises, bonuses and severance packages are kept in the spotlight.
The riding Stone wishes to represent in Victoria has never elected an opposition MLA.
Will voters cast a ballot for the candidate they truly prefer or for the candidate who will be in government the morning after?
Chances are, they will not be one and the same.