Provincial poll shines brightly on New Democrats

Polling firm says NDP would defeat Liberals, 57-20

The latest poll says the NDP, after being out of power for a decade, would win the next election in a walk.

But MLA Michael Sather knows better than to rely on a snapshot sampling.

“I don’t think in politics we should ever take anything for granted,” he said Wednesday.

“Many political parties look good in a poll, but I wouldn’t get over confident about anything at this point.”

According to Forum Research Inc., the NDP would win 57 seats and the Liberals 20. The B.C. Conservatives party would play a spoiler role, siphoning off Liberal support and earning seven seats.

Currently, the governing Liberals, under Premier Christy Clark, have 47 seats and the NDP has 34.

The poll says only one in three British Columbians approve of Clark’s leadership, although only four in 10 approve of the job Adrian Dix is doing as NDP leader.

Sather said that the impression of Clark is that her decision making is “exceedingly erratic. People are getting that impression, but it’s not something that instills confidence.”

The MLA for Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows said that Clark is still dealing with the after-effects of the HST.

Craig Speirs, president of the NDP’s local constituency association, said the Liberal descent is because of “a lot of internal strife.”

Clark is seen as a federal Liberal, which is bothering the right wing of the party. “That’s why [B.C. Conservative] leader John Cummings is doing so well,” Speirs said.

Speirs said Clark is not taking a policy-first approach to governing and solving issues, but is following a “tyranny of the moment” approach, offering quick fixes to problems.

Contrary to Sather, Speirs says the NDP will do “extremely well” in Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows in the May 2013 election. “I feel extremely confident that we’ll retain the seat.”

He also expects the NDP, with either Mike Bocking or Bob D’Eith as candidate, to win in Maple Ridge-Mission, unseating Liberal Marc Dalton.

NDP candidate selection could take place this spring or fall.

Dalton said Clark’s connection with Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper has been positive. As a federal Conservative, Dalton said voters get a conservative MLA under the coalition Liberal banner.

Dalton said he’s still a federal Conservative party member and will be at the annual meeting of riding association this weekend.

Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Liberal riding president Brent Perry said it’s easy to call for an NDP win at this time. “I don’t believe that at all. This is a swing riding. It can go either way.”

He said Clark just got into office and needs time.

So far, Terry Becker, wife of former Pitt Meadows councillor John Becker, has filed her nomination papers for the Liberal party in Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows.

But Maple Ridge Coun. Michael Morden is seriously thinking about challenging. So far, he’s just written a letter saying he plans to run, but hasn’t filed the detailed papers and forms for review by the party.

“When it feels right for me to do it, I will do it.”

Morden said he enjoys serving on council. “At this point in time, I have not made final decisions on what I’m doing and how I’m doing it. I’m chewing it over, let’s put it that way.”

The Forum Research poll’s prediction about a province-wide NDP victory could change in six months, Speirs said, but added “that’s a reflection of the strength of the party leader.

“It’s so different than the Liberals, where they have this puppet leader with very little support.”

Sather is vacating the seat in Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows, and under the NPD’s equity policy, his successor has to be either a woman, member of a visible minority, gay, lesbian or trans-gendered.

Elizabeth Rosenau has said she wants to run for the NPD, but there could also be another challenger.

Speirs says Dix has a depth of knowledge about people and issues. “There’s no stumping this guy.”

The NPD in Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows just had a membership drive and boosted its numbers to about 350.

 

Conservatives have high hopes

The B.C. Conservative party isn’t doing anything in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows – yet.

First there are the two by-elections in Port Moody-Coquitlam and Chilliwack-Hope to worry about, says John Cummins, leader of the B.C. Conservatives.

But after those, the party will focus on other parts of B.C., such as north of the Fraser River and east of the Pitt River.

“That’s an important area to us. We’ll get quite active there once we get these by-elections out of the way,” Cummins said Thursday.

He thinks his party could win in both local ridings.

“It’s an area that’s familiar to us and it’s going to be a target area for us, no question about it.

“We’ll be up and organized there in the next couple of months.”

The party still has no formal riding associations in Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows or Maple Ridge-Mission, but about 40 people are involved in each riding.

Everything has been put on hold until the by-elections have taken place, he added.

Cummins said the B.C. Conservatives have about 4,000 members and the party is struggling to keep up with growth.

“It’s a great problem to have, mind you.”

The party is attracting votes from both the NDP and Liberals. While some say his party will split the small-C conservative vote, allowing the NDP into power, Cummins said his party will keep the NDP from forming a majority government.

“The people who are coming over [from the Liberals] are saying, ‘we’ve had enough of these guys.’”

Cummins said he knows of a people around the province who want to run for the Conservatives, but hasn’t heard of any people in Maple Ridge or Pitt Meadows who are interested.

Christine Clarke is running for the Conservatives in Port Moody-Coquitlam and John Martin is running in Chilliwack-Hope.