The provincial New Democrats may want to leave the past behind. But their past doesn't seem to want to leave them alone. Former New Democrats MLAs, including Helmut Giesbrecht, Evelyn Gillespie, Harry Lali and Steve Orcherton are seeking or considering seeking a nomination for the next election. And, if they win those nominations, the Liberals will find it much easier to ask British Columbians this ballot box question: "Do you want to re-elect the same politicians who gave you ten years of mismanagement."
But, according to provincial executive and constituency association sources, New Democrat leader Carole James remains reluctant to discourage those former MLAs from getting back into elected politics.
Reason number one: Ms. James doesn't confront, she conciliates. And telling a party member where to stick their nomination papers is very confrontational. Number two: Prime Minister Paul Martin's decision to interfere with the federal Liberal's candidate selection process has made it difficult for other party leaders to do the same without attracting unwanted media attention. And number three: there's no guarantee Messrs. Giesbrecht, Gillespie, Lali or Orcherton will win their nominations bids, making it unnecessary for Ms. James to get involved. But, then again, there's no guarantee they won't.
That means, if Ms. James won't convince those would-be candidates to stand aside, the provincial New Democrats will need to recruit someone who can. The shortlist includes Canadian Labour Congress president Ken Georgetti, the former president of the B.C. Federation of Labour, his successor Jim Sinclair and former provincial New Democrat president Bruce Ralston. Current party president Jeff Fox would also be a good choice, as would former senior staffers John Horgan and John Heaney. Both Messrs. Horgan and Heaney work for IdeaWorks Consulting Inc., the collectivist commune where the New Democrat's policy shop went when their bosses got tossed out of government.