Monday, December 20, 2010

The BC NDP Has 26 Days To Do Everything

Usually the absence of leadership precedes a leadership race, but in the case of the BC NDP, it appears the absence of leadership is the leadership race.

With only until January 17 to sign up new members in order to vote for their new leader the BC NDP's leadership race looks to be in serious trouble, because so far, this is a competition without any entrants. And in this high stakes race, the lack of competition means the whole party loses.

On December 6 Carole James resigned as the NDP leader in BC, and the party has begun looking for a new leader. A leadership race is usually a process filled with different candidates reaching out to the grassroots and signing up new members, with no candidate even entering the fray and only 26 more days to sign up new members, the BC NDP look to be stalling even before they get out of the gate.

A leadership contest with different candidates offering new and unique ideas energizes the grassroots of a political party and the general public, and the competition usually motivates thousands of new members to sign up. However the BC NDP as of right now do not have any candidates, and only making things worse is that due to party rules they have only until January 17 to sign up new members for the leadership vote. Unless candidates immediately begin declaring, the BC NDP will have lost a big opportunity to expand their base and improve their image.

The current bleak situation of the NDP appears to have been their own doing. Though their leadership vote isn't until April 17th, their party's constitution requires that for anyone to be able to vote they must be a member for 90 days prior. This artificial deadline has put the NDP in a time crunch and could be a possible explanation for the lack of contenders for the party's top spot.

The situation for the BC NDP is only made worse when compared to that of the BC Liberals. While the NDP have no leadership candidates, the Liberals have five, four MLAs of varying notoriety and one highly publicized outsider. All the Liberal candidates are already proposing new policies and travelling the province, already ensuring an exciting race.

Also, while the NDP only have until January 17 to sign up new members for a leadership vote that isn't until April 17, the Liberals have until February 4th to sign up new members and their vote is much earlier, on February 26th. The Liberals schedule gives more time for new members to sign up and a sooner vote will give any new Leader ample time for British Columbians to become familiar with him or her.

Clearly between the two parties, the BC Liberals have overwhelming advantages in their leader selection process which will only go to strengthen their position for a provincial election.

And though the NDP leadership race has begun, it is unfortunate because it appears it hasn't.

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