If the provincial New Democrats lose the election, May 18, 2007 might be the date they lost it. That's when party leader Carole James announced her caucus would be voting against a controversial MLA compensation package - but opting-in to its "gold-plated" pension plan. At least that's how a mechanic from Vernon described it on Sunday evening's debate, when he asked Ms. James and Liberal leader Gordon Campbell, "Why did politicians support a two percent wage increase for the workers" while giving themselves a bigger piece of the taxpayer pie.
In fairness, the New Democrats have been donating the raise they received as part of that package to charity. But the fact they're benefiting from its pension plan makes it almost impossible for Opposition members to criticize the Liberals for passing the legislation which made that plan possible. And - at a time of economic turmoil - such criticism could have been a ballot box winner for the New Democrats.
After all, the compensation package puts politicians "in the same league as the executives at the big banks at the U.S. with their huge bonuses as the company is sliding in the toilet." If only the New Democrats had been able to foresee it.