The polls are tightening and declared candidates for MP in the coming federal election this fall are getting their ducks in a row, getting their faces out in public, and bickering over debate locations and questions.
While the Conservative Party of Canada is leading the way with declared candidates, the Liberals are lagging far behind in terms of having their ducks in a row. And while the ducks they do have may be ducking for cover, so to speak, given the Ethics Committee’s findings on the Prime Minister this week, there is still a lot of work to do finding Liberal candidates.
Currently there is only one B.C. riding without a declared Conservative, that being Vancouver East (the stomping grounds of Jenny Kwan NDP).
The Liberals on the other hand, have a lot of work to do, including right here in Kootenay Columbia, where there is no candidate as of yet. Rob Morrison has declared for the Conservatives, Wayne Stetski is the NPD incumbent, and running again, Abra Brynne is running for the Green Party, and Richard Stewart for the People’s Party of Canada.
In addition, the Liberals must name a candidate in Prince George/Peace River, Chilliwack Hope, Richmond Centre, Burnaby South, Vancouver East, West Vancouver/Sunshine Coast, Courtenay/Alberni and Victoria.
That’s nine ridings in B.C. the Liberals need to find someone to run in, which is not encouraging.
It’s a Canada wide problem for the party. They are behind the other parties almost everywhere. Take Calgary, for example. There are ten seats in Calgary and the Liberals have only declared in five of them. Mind you, the NDP has declared in none of them. Both the Conservatives and the PPC have a full slate, Calgary being prime ground for the right-leaning. And so it goes across Alberta and Saskatchewan.
The Liberals are in better shape in Manitoba, needing to find only two more candidates, but again the PPC and the Conservatives are in much better shape.
In Ontario, where the Liberals should be more competitive than in the west, Conservatives have a candidate for every one of the 121 ridings, and the PPC also have it almost covered. The Liberals need eleven more candidates. The NDP (37) and Greens (48) both need quite a number of candidates.
In Quebec, the Liberals need eleven more, the Conservatives 6, the NDP need 55 (eep), the Greens 33, the PPC only 4 and the Bloc Quebecois has 23 more ridings to fill.
The Liberals have declared a candidate for every seat in Atlantic Canada and lead the way there, but overall there are 97 candidates for the Liberals to find in the next very short while. And given that the SNC Lavalin story is rearing its head again, it’s going to be a tall task.
In fact the Liberals have taken steps to address the issue by triggering an ‘electoral urgency’ clues within their party rules that allows the possibility of appointing candidates in some outstanding ridings.
But is does beg the question, why? The writ is going to drop next month. It takes time for a candidate, especially a new one, to learn the platform, and the sound bites. Not having candidates in place in every riding is a bit of a risky move. Granted these ridings are probably less than Liberal strongholds. Certainly Kootenay Columbia is hardly a slam dunk for the Liberals.
But you would think the party in power, even though they have been through some real downs this year, would have their ducks in a better row than this only two months until the election.
If the Liberals are going to pull off even a minority, they need to get those ducks marching in the same direction with a quickness.