Top of Mind - June 13, 2011

Last week, The Vancouver Sun's Doug Ward reported several hundred Surrey residents had dual New Democrat and Liberal memberships while both parties were holding leadership races. How much legs will this story have?

Unfortunately, not much. The winners of those races - Adrian Dix and Christy Clark - did so with support from that community. So there's little incentive for their backers to draw attention to this issue. For example, the story has gone almost unmentioned on the #bcpoli twitter feed, which is dominated by New Democrat and Liberal partisans. It's possible the BC Conservatives, the Greens or an organization such as IntegrityBC could give the issue some oxygen. But unless the media keep its alive, it's more likely this will be a one day story.

Will Christy Clark be successful in her bid to help Seaspan Marine Corp. secure part of a $35 billion federal contract to win new naval vessels?

Politically, there's a number of factors going against that success.

As already noted by the Vancouver Observer's Ian Reid, the bid is being made just seven years after the province's shipbuilding industry was trashed to explain British Columbia Ferry Services Inc.'s decision to construct its new super c-class ferries in Germany.

The Liberals also have a longstanding tradition of not supporting the kind of subsidies which might be necessary to win that bid, a point underscored by The Globe and Mail's Justine Hunter.

But the bid could provide a pretext for government to provide a comparable kind of support for the shipbuilding industry, giving Ms. Clark a political win of sorts regardless of whether British Columbia secures the naval vessel contract.

Last week, provincial Green leader Jane Sterk announced she will be running in Victoria-Beacon Hill during the next election. What are her chances of winning there?

Ms. Sterk is hoping to replicate her federal counterpart Elizabeth May's recent electoral success in Saanich-Gulf Islands, by focusing her efforts on Victoria-Beacon Hill. But Ms. Sterk isn't as well-known as Ms. May. Her likely opponent, former New Democrat leader Carole James, has a better public profile than Gary Lunn, who was the incumbent candidate in Saanich-Gulf Islands. And it's unclear whether the BC Conservatives will be able to create a four party split in Victoria-Beacon Hill or if the Greens would benefit from such a division. Nevertheless, many pundits wrongly bet against Ms. May in the last election. So we won't write-off Ms. Sterk's chances.

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