Pollster candidate shafted by executive members

Three executive members of the West Vancouver-Garibaldi provincial Liberal constituency association are planning on resigning over concerns the nominating process in their riding was biased in favour of winning candidate and pollster Joan McIntyre-Pottinger, Public Eye has learned. They include vice-president Kelly Thomas, special events coordinator and fundraising chair Sharron Cant and community events coordinator Ron Erickson.

Neil McIver, the association's policy chair, has already resigned from the executive. But there seems to be some dispute over the reason for that resignation. Mr. McIver, who is on vacation, could not be reached for comment.

According to insiders, the resigning members are convinced their colleagues manipulated the selection meeting dates to prevent competitor and accountant Tim Duholke from signing up supporters. But, in an interview, association president Dave Davenport denied those allegations.

Much of the controversy centres around a motion, passed by the association executive on October 14, recommending "if no further approved or likely to be approved candidates (other than Ms. McIntyre-Pottinger) are identified by Monday, October 25, the candidate selection meeting should be held as soon as possible - that is 42 days after October 25/04. If additional approved candidates appear by October 25, the candidate selection meeting should not be held until early 2005, perhaps in the first week of February."

Fifteen days later, Liberal headquarters approved the association's selection meeting date for December 14, 15 and 16 - which meant candidates couldn't signup any more new members. That decision was made even though Mr. Duholke, who is a partner with Sheinin and Company, advised candidate selection committee chair Bryan Baynham back in August he was interested in running.

But Mr. Davenport says the executive didn't feel a need to postpone the nomination process because Mr. Duholke wasn't considered a serious candidate. After all, he points out the accountant didn't file his nomination package nor join the party until November 2. And Mr. Baynham, who eventually became Ms. McIntyre-Pottinger's campaign manager, says he repeatedly encouraged Mr. Duhloke to submit those papers but didn't receive any response.

In retrospect, Mr. Davenport adds "Obviously (Mr. Duhloke) was serious about (running). But there was no indication of that. And there was a whole lot of people we would have taken seriously before we got to Tim," noting Squamish mayor Ian Sutherland was also considering seeking the nomination.

The resigning executives also seem to have concerns with the Liberal's vote and go candidate selection system, which is being used in some of the larger ridings. Under that system, party members drop off a preferential ballot at a designated location rather than sticking around for a nomination meeting.

That saves time. But it also means candidates may not get a chance to speak, as happened in West Vancouver-Garibaldi. And that could be a violation of Liberal nomination guidelines that state "all nominees will be given the opportunity of addressing the meeting briefly."

At publication time, no complaint about the nomination process has been filed with party headquarters.

Ms. McIntyre-Pottinger co-founded McIntyre and Mustel Research Associates Ltd. with Evi Mustel in 1980. The company did work for the Liberals until Western Opinion Research took over the contract nine years ago. Her candidacy was endorsed by the riding's retiring MLA Ted Nebbeling. She is the past president of the constituency association. The following is a copy of the October 14 meeting minutes.




DATE: Thursday, October 14, 2004
Location: Riding Office (Room #402, 545 Clyde Avenue, West Vancouver, B.C., V7G 1P5)
Attendees: Bill Betts, Brenda Brown, Bryan Baynham, Dave Davenport, Neil McIver, Helene Michaels, Gordon Prescott, Melanie Thomas
Absent: Sharron Cant, Ron Erickson, Bob Faast, Ken Haycock, tom Horler, Paul Lalli, Philip Langridge, Kelly Thomas
Chair: Dave Davenport, President

The meeting was called to order at 7:10 p.m.

It was MOVED/SECONDED (Baynham/Betts) to approve the agenda.

It was MOVED/SECONDED (Brown/M. Thomas) to adopt the minutes of the last meeting dated September 9, 2004. MOTION CARRIED.

Kevin Lee presented the resulted of the Small Business Outreach Program Initiative project he undertook last summer. The initiative's objectives were to ask small business owners in the West Vancouver-Garibaldi riding to comment on the provincial government's performance to date and to determine whether these owners would be interested in establishing a business committee in the riding. 457 businesses were contacted, with 135 business owners or their representatives directly responding to Mr. Lee's questionnaire. The report's findings will be reviewed by Mr. Nebbeling. The riding executive recommends that the findings in this report be forwarded to the Premier's Office and to government policy makers, for their consideration and possible action.

There are currently 425 members in the riding and it is expected that the membership will irse to 500 members by christmas.

6. MLA REPORT - Ted Nebbeling
No report was given.

The Candidate Search Committee, whose members include Bryan Baynham, Neil McIver and Ken Haycock, met three times and identified and approached four potential candidates. To date, only one candidate submitted the appropriate paperwork and that candidate has subsequently been approved by Headquarters. Having conducted a thorough search over a three month period, Mr. Baynham asked that the committee be disbanded as its mandate had been met.

It was MOVED/SECONDED (Betts/Brown) that, if no further candidates have been approved by Sunday, October 24, 2004, the Candidate Search Committee will be disbanded and that, until then, no further committee work will be done. MOTION CARRIED.

With the Executive's approval, Dave Daveport will recommend to Liberal Headquarters that, if no further approved (or likely to be approved) candidates are identified by Monday, October 25, 2004, the Candidate Selection Meeting should be held as soon as is possible - that is, 42 days after October 25, 2004. If additional approved candidates appear by October 25, 2004, the Candidate Selection Meeting should not be held until early in 2005 - perhaps in the first week of February.

8. FALL FUNDRIASER - Dave Davenport (for Ron Erickson)
The ted Nebbeling tribute Dinner, originally scheduled for November 25, 2004, has been postponed until early Spring 2005, closer to the actual date of Mr. Nebbeling's retirement.

9. PRESIDENT'S REPORT - Dave Davenport
Financial Position of Riding
An Income Statement, for the period January 1, 2004 to October 13, 2004, and a Balance Sheet, as of October 13, 2004, were tabled for the Executive's information.

Cash Flow Forecast
A Cash Flow Forecast, for the period April 2004 to October 2005, was tabled, for the Executive's information.

Volunteers for Convention
Melanie Thomas, Dave Davenport, Andrew Pottinger and Helene Michaels have volunteered their time at the November Provincial Convention and General Meeting taking place at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler from Thursday, November 4-6, 2004.

10. DATABASE UPDATE - Bill Betts and Neil McIver
The revised database update cost estimate is $17,000.

There was no other business.

The meeting was adjourned at 8:45 pm.


that's funny - according to your attached minutes, it doesn't even look like the now disgruntled executive members bothered to show up to the "important" Oct 14th executive meeting??? If the other candidate was so interested in running, why did he wait so long to jump in?

Typical whiners -- we hear this nonsense all the time when nominations are going on. What is the party supposed to do, wait until everyone has signed up the SAME number of members? How can anyone prove that they had that kind of support in the first place?

Am I missing something here? As someone interested in the West Vancouver - Garibaldi 'process' I have learned that Tim Duholke received an e-mail from Bruce Strongitharm on October 25th saying, that both he and Ian Sutherland, mayor of Squamish had met the requirements of the Executive resolution.

Was it ever in doubt that Duholke or Sutherland would qualify? I seem to remember Duholke was one of the seven members of the 2001 B.C. Fiscal Review Panel that reported to Premier Campbell on the status of British Columbia's finances after the May 2001 election. Sutherland, as stated before, is the current mayor of Squamish.

While Sutherland decided to opt out of the contest, Duholke didn't. Based on the above it is obvious Duholke met the qualifications set out in the riding executive's October 14, 2004 meeting and he did it on time. Those minutes stated,

"With the Executive's approval, Dave Daveport will recommend to Liberal Headquarters that, if no further approved (or likely to be approved) candidates are identified by Monday, October 25, 2004, the Candidate Selection Meeting should be held as soon as is possible - that is, 42 days after October 25, 2004. If additional approved candidates appear by October 25, 2004, the Candidate Selection Meeting should not be held until early in 2005 - perhaps in the first week of February."

Why did the riding executive feel the need to rush to judgement? Clearly there were three candidates who met the criteria as of October 25, 2004. Had the meeting been held in February, as Duholke was promised, he would have had ample time to sell memberships, hold get to know you meetings and gather support for his bid.

I can certainly understand the disgust and disappointment felt by the disgruntled riding executive. I am surprised that not more of the executive would feel that way. Perhaps they were too busy trying to protect one of their own, Ms. McIntyre-Pottinger, a former riding president.

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