EDITORIAL: Offer more than just a lesser evil
If BC NDP leaders hope to capitalize on the BC Liberals’ missteps, they need to step up their game and prove to voters there are good reasons to vote for their party.
The notion that a vote for one is a vote against the other is simply not good enough reason – by itself – to return to power a party that has had its own shortcomings in the past in the transparency department.
Pundits and pollsters might, indeed, be right that a backlash against Liberals’ mismanagement of their current mandate will result in a win for the NDP. But it should be realized that voters are in the throes of a crisis of confidence with the political process itself. They have not simply lost faith in the BC Liberals – they have lost faith in politicians of all stripes.
In the political game, the NDP’s release of leaked memos concerning Liberal tactics in wooing ethnic voters was a bona fide win. But the NDP’s reluctance – to this date – to follow up such gains by presenting a detailed platform of its own is more than a little troubling, particularly when the BC Conservatives seem to be firing off platform statements every other day.
If New Democrats think the best strategy is to hang fire and keep quiet in the expectation that the Conservatives’ sabre-rattling will be sufficient to split the right-wing vote, it smacks of a cynicism equal to anything Liberal strategists have promulgated.
The NDP must stand for something, not just against something.
Presenting a convincing vision is what it will take for NDP leader Adrian Dix to ultimately put to rest a horrible past blunder in which he falsified the date of a memo to provide an alibi for former premier Glen Clark, who was feeling the heat in a probe into alleged corruption.
Dix has apologized and acknowledged he “owns” his past mistakes. He has also refused to take the bait of campaigning by the Liberals, who are determined to prove that the 14 years since the scandal is not too long for the short memory of the electorate.
Dix may have learned some hard lessons about honesty since he was Clark’s chief of staff. And his refusal to fight “dirty” in a mud-slinging battle with his political foes may reflect a genuine desire to focus on issues.
If that’s the case, the time is more than nigh to present these issues in a cohesive campaign, rather than a series of statements by Dix and NDP critics hewing to a general philosophy.
In contrast to the stumbles of others, the NDP has said it will provide a platform of promises that can be kept. So far, we are still waiting.