The New Democrats could be writing themselves out of British Columbia's biggest political storyline, relegating the party to a bit part on the provincial stage. Since January, anti-harmonized sales tax campaigner and former premier Bill Vander Zalm's name has been mentioned in the press 2060 times, according to the Canadian Newsstand database. By comparison, New Democrat leader Carole James - who has taken a more nuanced position on the tax, has been mentioned 658 times in total - including articles and letters that have nothing to do with the HST. That's an incredible gap - and one that could grow wider in the coming months as Mr. Vander Zalm launches recall campaigns against Liberal MLAs. In her defence, Ms. James would likely say she's just practicing practical rather than populist politics. But her position also leaves the New Democrats open to attack should there be a viable alternative to their party in the next election.
September 26, 2010