Burning new bridges

At the Victoria-Hillside provincial New Democrat nomination meeting, party leader Carole James said she believes the "politicians of British Columbia have a choice. We can exploit the divisions that naturally exist in our province or we can bridge them. Mr. Campbell believes in burning bridges and I plan to build those bridges." It's a message she delivered many times before. But, increasingly, it seems many of her supporters don't think that promise should include spanning the widening gulf that exists between Ms. James' party and the Liberals - unfortunate, since it is this gap which many British Columbians are really concerned about.

For example, during the same meeting, the chair Bruce Partridge described Premier Gordon Campbell as "evil" and then went onto say he wouldn't mention sitting MLA Sheila Orr's name because "I don't want to pollute the place." Ouch. Of course, Mr. Partridge isn't the only New Democrat with an acid tongue. Attacks of this kind are par for the course during an election year. And the Grits will do their own share of name-calling, as they have in the past. But the vitirol behind the New Democrat's rhetoric could make it increasingly difficult for Ms. James to continue selling herself as the great conciliator, opening up a possible angle of attack for the Liberals.


So a NDP'er thinks Campbell's "evil." I'm not too sure if that's really news. Or incompatible with Carole's desire for responsible and balanced government that bridges ideological divides.

And hey, at least Partridge didn't say that the best way to get rid of the Liberals was to pile their cabinet into a car with an impaired driver and get them drive the Fraser Canyon highway. Bonus points if you can identify the person who made this comment about the NDP.

But Sean's point is well taken - time for individual New Democrats to dial back the rhetoric and let Carole do her job of bring British Columbians together.

As far as the Victoria Hillside nomination goes, I am glad to see it went to Rob Flemming. Steve Orcherton is a nice enough guy, but he really did himself in during the leadership race by rehashing Svend Robinson's silly denunciations of "the mushy middle". It went over well with some party traditionalists, ... the same ones whose fondest hope is that the next NDP Govt will get into the very same petty hassles with the press and business as the first two did. No thanks.

The best thing I read was one Steve Orcherton supporter saying later: "I voted for Steve, not against Rob". The feeling was very up beat in the room, even for the 'losing' side of the contest.

I think Carole wants to build bridges with the people in BC in general, not neccessarily with the few dozen in power right now.

It was an interesting news conference. Carole’s comments in support of Rob, and the direction she would like to take the NDP are now on record as being in the “same direction” for the NDP. I wonder what she would have said if Steve had won – clearly he represents the side of the party that she does NOT support. Should be interesting once Harry Lali or the next hardliner enters into the game. The fun is soon to begin.

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