Is there a game changer that can reverse the New Democrats' negative momentum?

With the first week of the election campaign behind us, circumstance seems to be conspiring with incompetence to thwart the provincial New Democrats' election chances. The day before the writ was dropped, on Easter Monday, three environmental groups launched an attack on the party's climate change plank. But the New Democrats failure to rapidly respond to that attack and deploy third party validators in support of their platform meant the criticisms of those groups became - if only for a day - the criticisms of the environmental movement as a whole.

Then, this past Sunday, when Liberal Vancouver-False Creek hopeful Mary McNeil demanded her opponent Ray Lam apologize for "offensive photos" posted on his Facebook page, questions were against raised about the rigor of the New Democrats' vetting process.

Mr. Lam's prompt resignation likely limited the damage those photos may have caused the party. But 2001 and 2005 Liberal campaign co-chair Patrick Kinsella's recent legal threat against the New Democrats, their leader Carole James and Nanaimo candidate Leonard Krog could further effect the credibility of the party and its message - at least in the eyes of the media.

So, with just 21 days left in the campaign, we're wondering if there's a game changer that can reverse the New Democrats' negative momentum. The party's platform won't be of assistance, since many of its planks include past promises rather than new commitments. And you'd think, if the New Democrats had any fresh dirt to throw at the Liberals, they would have done so by now.

That means the New Democrats are left with four identifiable opportunities where the tide could be turned:

* April 22, when the Supreme Court of Canada will hear an appeal by the legislature raid case's special prosecutor to overturn a lower court decision concerning the appearance of a special witness in the trail;

* April 23, CKNW's leaders debate;

* May 3, the televised leaders debate; and

* May 4, when the legislature raid case's pre-trail hearings are scheduled to resume.

But none of those dates are guaranteed to give the New Democrats a boost in the polls - especially when circumstance and incompetence are conspiring against them.


The NDP would have done better with the Ray Lam incident by having Ray Lam call out Campbell for his hypocrisy and then distribute DUI photos of Campbell. It may sound like beating a dead horse, but Campbell opened himself up to a serious line of attack by taking the moral high ground against Ray Lam. Considering Ray Lam will most likely never run again for the NDP, he had nothing to lose either, and if the strategy failed, well then, Ray takes the heat and not the party. All in all, they dealt with that one poorly in my opinion.

I'm not conspiracy theorist, but would I be out of line to suggest that the date of the raid case here has been severely manipulated by partisan factors?

That being said, I'm not sure if the trial date is being manipulated by the BC Liberals to reduce pre-election damage, or by the NDP so that they can have the juicy details revealed during the election. I guess we'll see. But one thing that's remarkable is how such an important trial is occurring right in the middle of a provincial election.

My guess is that the neoLiberals wanted no trial dates at all before May 12.

I have never seen a worse week than this first one for the NDP.

Bottom line is, there is just too much baggage ( with the NDP, and Carole James looks very much out of her element when it comes to the current economic climate (

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