Pundit and former provincial New Democrat MLA David Schreck has rejected a suggestion he's fired the first shot in a possible future battle to unseat Carole James. Despite flagging personal poll numbers, Ms. James has said she intends to lead her party in the 2013 election. But Mr. Schreck is looking for a constituency association to sponsor a resolution directing the New Democrats' executive and provincial council to "develop and ratify, no later than December 1, 2010, appropriate regulations for the election" of a leader using the one-member, one-vote system that was approved at the party's 2003 convention. Among the reasons listed for that resolution: "many members and supporters of the BC NDP would like to see a leadership election."
But, in an interview with Public Eye, Mr. Schreck said the purpose of the resolution "is to make sure - when and if a leadership race is held - the rules are in place. Right now, the constitution calls for one-member, one-vote. But it leaves it up to the executive to set the rules. And this has never been done before. We could end up with an election that makes the Afghan election look honest. So there are a lot of challenges to be resolved and they need to get on with the work."
"If I wanted to call for a leadership race I would make an explicit resolution doing that," he said when asked if this was part of an attempt to oust Ms. James. "I think that issue needs to be dealt with two years from now. It's too early to deal with it now. If circumstances are - two years from now - the way they are now a leadership race will be necessary. But Carole could end up tremendously increasing both the party's position - which is already 14 points ahead of the Liberals and her own standing in the next two years. But I just want to make sure the rules are in place so, if a leadership race is necessary, people know what the rules are."
If Mr. Shcreck finds a sponsor for his resolution, it could be debated at the party's upcoming November convention. The following is a complete copy, which was obtained by Public Eye.
WHEREAS the New Democratic Party of British Columbia has never elected a Provincial Leader through a ballot of all individual members of the party;
AND WHEREAS Article X11 of the Constitution provides that the Provincial Leader shall be elected through a ballot of all individual members of the party subject to appropriate regulations developed by the Executive and ratified by Provincial Council;
AND WHEREAS many members and supporters of the BC NDP would like to see a leadership election;
AND WHEREAS potential candidates need to know the regulations for an election prior to deciding whether to run;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Executive and Provincial Council be directed to develop and ratify, no later than December 1, 2010, appropriate regulations for the election of the Provincial Leader.