Two days before the election, provincial Liberal pollsters called British Columbians to ask them whether they would "agree or disagree with Carole James and the NDP's policy to allow for a teachers' strike" - this, according a leaked phoned script. At the time, BCTV was reporting the station had "secret documents from the (British Columbia Teachers' Federation) suggesting that teachers could take a strike vote very soon after next Tuesday's election." The polling question was asked by those working at a party call center uncovered by columnist and Public Eye colleague Bill Tieleman. It matches the broadest definition of a push poll - in which questions are used not to collect information but rather raise issues that may encourage people to vote for one party or candidate over another. A version of this article was originally published in today's edition of 24 hours. The following is a copy of that script.
May I please speak to _______________
Hi, my name is _______________ and I am calling on behalf of Gordon Campbell and the BC Liberals.
As you may be aware, a provincial election has been called for May 17th and we are doing a brief poll of your neighbourhood.
1. First of all, do you believe the BC Liberal government is headed in the right direction or do you believe the BC Liberal government is on the wrong track?
A. Right Direction
B. Wrong Direction
C. No Opinion / Don't Know
2. Recent news coverage is reporting a possible teachers' strike this spring. Premier Gordon Campbell says education is an essential service and should be free from strikes. NDP leader Carol James says the NDP would make immediate changes to legislation allowing for strikes at BC schools. Do you agree or disagree with Carol James and the NDP's policy to allow for a teacher's strike?
C. Don't Know / No opinion
3. When the Provincial election is held on May 17th, will you be voting for your BC Liberal candidate, the local NDP candidate, the Green Party candidate or another party's candidate?
A. BC Liberal Party
1. Which Party's candidate would you be leaning toward at this time?
A. BC Liberal Party
F. Won't Say/Hostile
4. Thanks for your Time
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