It’s coming down to a numbers game, and it’s one the effort to recall Marc Dalton is losing.
With the 60-day campaign at its halfway point, volunteers are nowhere near collecting the 15,612 signatures needed to force a recall of Dalton, MLA for Maple Ridge-Mission.
“It’s quite a learning experience,” said John Morgan, spokesman for the group of Maple Ridge and Mission residents who are collecting the signatures, as required by Election B.C.
Under the Recall and Initiative Act, a voter can collect a petition to remove a sitting MLA from office.
But more than 40 per cent of eligible voters must sign the petition within 60 days in order to force a byelection.
The deadline for collecting those votes is June 15.
Morgan says the recall campaign has less than a third of the number of signatures required.
“It’s geared to fail,” says Morgan, who’s knocked on more than 100 doors appealing to people to sign the petition.
“We’re finding that the number of people who don’t even know the MLA’s name is outstanding.”
Most people think Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows MLA Doug Bing is their MLA.
Yvonne Hale started the petition, stating to Elections B.C. that Dalton isn’t representing his constituency.
“His recent announcement to sit as an Independent while he runs for nomination as Member of Parliament for the Conservative party bears this out,” Hale wrote in the application to Elections B.C.
“It is my feeling that Mr. Dalton has turned his back on his constituents, while seeking to achieve his own self-interest and agenda of gaining a federal position.”
Dalton is competing with Mike Murray to win the federal Conservative nomination, which would allow him to run in Pitt Meadows-Maple Ridge.
Morgan said he decided that Dalton should be recalled when he heard the MLA’s remarks about poverty in the legislature.
While the petitioners figure to fall short, they aren’t giving up.
“We’re still working on it and still going to be working on it as hard as we can.”
The effort now has 120 volunteers. Morgan figures if he had 400 people to go door to door, he the campaign could reach its target.
He pointed out the province-wide referendum on the harmonized sales tax had twice as long to achieve its goal.
Still, Morgan would like to get at least 10,327 signatures – the number of votes that Dalton earned in the 2013 election.
Dalton though said he was focused on his job as MLA and Thursday presented a petition to the legislature against the medical pot operation in Whonnock.
Some people, Morgan said, are scared to sign a petition, pensioners in particular, because of possible ramifications from the government.
Burnaby North Liberal MLA Richard Lee is also facing a recall campaign.