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December 5, 2010

NDP Solidarity

Hours have passed without a leak on what was behind the postponement of the NDP's 4:00 PM emergency caucus meeting. Could that be a new sign of caucus solidarity?

Many disputes are resolved on the courthouse steps. Perhaps it took walking to the brink before the dispute in the NDP caucus took a backseat to the survival of the party.

During an hour long discussion I participated in on CFAX on Friday, callers were overwhelmingly more interested in discussing BC Hydro rate increases than anything about internal politics, for either party. Political junkies are fixated on the struggle in the NDP and the leadership race for the BC Liberals, but normal people want to know how much more they are going to pay on their electric bill next year.

The behavior of members of the NDP caucus and how the public reacts will determine whether New Democrats can put this shameful episode behind them. A key factor will be the public opinion polls. I don't believe the numbers reported by the Mustel Group, which on November 17th claimed that 32% of those they polled approve Campbell. You couldn't get numbers like that for Campbell if you polled his closest friends.

Angus Reid's numbers put the NDP over 20 points ahead of the BC Liberals hours before Campbell's November 3rd resignation. Angus Reid is probably conducting a poll this week with the results out soon. That information combined with how public opinion shifts and how the BC Liberals behave during their leadership race, may make the drama in the NDP over the past few weeks ancient history by the time of an election.

I continue to believe that it will take a miracle for the NDP to get back to the popularity it enjoyed before it took its dirty laundry public, but this is the season of miracles.