The provincial New Democrats are promoting Hamish Marshall, a prominent federal Conservative member, as one of three keynote speakers at their upcoming convention. But that was news to Marshall, who is also the research director for polling firm Angus Reid Strategies Inc. In an interview with Public Eye, Mr. Marshall said the party spoke with him two months ago about being a member of a panel at the convention. But he hadn't heard anything about it since. "I thought I was going to talk for five minutes about where polling was going in the 21st century and some ideas for how political parties can better use polling," he explained.
But Mr. Marshall, a member of the Tory's national council and Prime Minister Stephen Harper's former strategic planning manager, instead got top billing in an email sent out last week to New Democrats.
"I'm going to make a phone call," he said.
In the meantime, though, Mr. Marshall had this to say about what he might tell New Democrats if asked for his thoughts about the state of the party.
"Looking at the numbers, I think the biggest single change since the election has been the erosion of Gordon Campbell and the BC Liberals' economic credibility. But that's been coupled not with an increase in economic credibility for the New Democrats. And that's the gap they have to close."
"They can't just hope by default that - in three years - the BC Liberals are still going to have economic credibility problems. They actually have to show they can take a leadership position on this that's in tune with what the people of British Columbia want to see," he concluded.
That - and perhaps better coordinating the scheduling of their keynote speakers!
Also booked, according to the email, are Rahaf Harfoush - who spent three months as a member of then American presidential candidate Barack Obama's new media team - as well as Jerome Ringo, chairman of the National Wildlife Federation and President of the Apollo Alliance.