Adrian Dix isn't expected to do so until next week. That is past the due date (January 17th) for new members whose votes can affect the leadership race.
That January 17th deadline irks me to no end. It has affected my decision with respect to which of the two parties I will sign up for membership in order to cast a vote for its leader. My preference would have been the NDP. However, the deadline has given me and other reflective British Columbians no time to assess currently absent detailed policy or leadership styles; whereas the longer leadership period of the Liberals has. Ergo, unless a scientific miracle happens, I'll be signing up for a Liberal membership.1
As with the selection of leader of the BC Liberals, how NDP candidates stand on the following three issues will shape my decision:
Democratic reform. Support for greater independence and return of powers to local governments (candidates are ignoring this, yet it's the most crucial of democratic reforms), outreach and meaningful engagement with the public, resumption of powers to MLAs, open government, electoral reform.
Taxation policy. Smartly applied carrot-and-stick consumption taxes designed to guide consumer behaviour and a gradual reduction of earnings taxes, ultimately to zero. The latter punish enterprising activity, behaviour that should be encouraged. I favour the HST, a carbon tax with teeth and the proposed-then-rescinded 15 percent reduction in income tax for the middle-class. (I also favour the elimination of all corporate taxes provided that corporations no longer have person status; if they continue to be deemed in law as persons, then they can damn well pay income taxes like the rest of us.)
Climate change. Greening the economy, which must work in sync with the taxation policy. Greening the economy must include an effective carbon tax and cap 'n trade.
Given the dominant themes stated above and the scant information presently available (two candidates haven't yet websites), of the six current and expected contenders for the BC NDP leadership race, this is my present order of preference. I admit doing a dice throw for most. Absent policy, detailed or otherwise, doesn't help.
- John Horgan. He has the nicest website of all candidates, of either party. That visual communication appears to be part of an overall communications strategy, with good engagement by Horgan and his team on Twitter and Facebook. Would be nice to have an Islander heading the party.
ETA Jan 15 8:15a: In the Globe and Mail, Horgan is described as "a Roy Romanow kind of New Democrat." I'd take that as a compliment, John. In fact, it's enough for me to move you up to 1st place and to move Larsen down to your old 3rd place spot.
- Mike Farnworth. His leadership announcement contained the most substance. I like the suggestion of using carbon tax to fund public transportation alternatives, his emphasis on sustainability (does he support Sustainable BC?). The call for a commission on education sounds nice and is getting a lot of play in the media. However, as with all commissions, committees, consultations, town halls, inquiries... unless their recommendations are given teeth, they are meaningless.
- Dana Larsen. I've a soft spot for rebels, nonconformists and people who push the status quo. I also like Larsen's platform. (OK, it's more that he has one.)
- Nicholas Simons. Not enough information to make a judgement.
- Harry Lali. Hasn't a website, so I've no idea what he stands for.
- Adrian Dix. Hasn't yet entered the race.
1That I'll soon become a big 'L' liberal has me shaking my head. Don't recall ever voting Liberal, federally or provincially, during my 40 years as an eligible and dedicated voter; I've voted Progressive Conservative, NDP, Independent or Green. But this is an important opportunity to participate, directly, in choosing the next Premier of this province. It's an opportunity I'm not going to pass up. Who will I vote for? Don't know yet. Stay tuned!
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