How much of a threat do the provincial Conservatives, under the leadership of federal parliamentarian John Cummins, pose to British Columbia's political structure?
The party could pose a threat to Christy Clark's governing coalition. But its populism - as represented by Mr. Cummins's "common sense choice" campaign slogan - may also have purchase among disaffected New Democrats. This is particularly true in rural ridings that, federally, switch between electing Tory and NDP candidates. Indeed, Mr. Cummins intends to make a specifically target labour voters, having told Public Eye Radio in October that "these are the kind of people that, I think, that the Liberals ignored and Liberals ignored at their peril."
What can we expect as the provincial New Democrat leadership race enters its final lap?
With the advance poll opening next Monday, you can expect leadership candidates to roll out the last of their major endorsements this week - including both labour and party leaders. That process has already gotten underway, with John Horgan announcing the support of former premier Dan Miller and Mike Farnworth receiving the backing of Jenny Kwan. You can also expect a further sharpening of the candidates' message boxes.
For example, in an email sent to supporters last night, Mr. Farnworth criticized "those that say the way to win the election is by embracing the tactics of the BC Liberals by playing the politics of divide and conquer...by pitting one group of people against another."
Meanwhile, Adrian Dix will likely continue pushing against those who "argue that the way for the BC NDP to win elections is to step closer to the BC Liberal Party, to squeeze out a victory by picking up just a few thousand votes from the 'mysterious middle', by not bothering people too much."