Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 20/1/2011 (3194 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
I have a moral dilemma. I want to join the Liberal party of B.C. before the cut-off for the leadership vote on Feb. 26. If I do, my membership gives me the right to vote on which of several candidates will become the leader of the party, and ergo, the premier of the province of British Columbia until 2013.
To be certain, I checked out their website. It says "Members joining prior to 5 p.m. on February 4, 2011 are eligible to cast a ballot in our upcoming Leadership vote."
I am anxious to cast a vote on this matter. I think it very important that I, and indeed all BCers, have a say on who the premier of this province should be. In case you missed it, the B.C. Liberals are leaderless at the moment. Gordon Campbell resigned as premier in November over the HST debacle. Since B.C. is not due for an election until 2013, due to fixed election dates, whoever is chosen as party leader de facto will be premier of the province for two years without ever facing the voters.
Six people have thrown their hat into the ring, but the front-runners seem to be Christie Clark, former education minister and popular radio talk show host, and Kevin Falcon, former health minister.
It will be exciting. Falcon set the cat amongst the pigeons a couple of weeks ago when he mused aloud that B.C. teachers should be paid on merit. The teachers' union has been having conniption fits ever since, calling it a cockamamie idea.
Clark has mused about possibly cancelling the upcoming HST referendum, which of course would breathe new life into Bill Vander Zalm's ailing recall campaign. Other candidates are George Abbott, Mike deJong, Ed Mayne and Moira Stillwell.
So I decided to find out how to join the party. The B.C. Liberal website was very welcoming and invited me to "Join the Party." Oh good, I thought, clicking the mouse.
Prices were shown. A four-year membership is $10. If I were a youth (age 14 to 25) it was only $5. But I was sternly reminded that I would then have to enter my date of birth. As proof, you understand. Right. I briefly toyed with the idea of lying about my age, ("Oops, typo, got the century wrong again, silly me.") but decided against it.
Since only 10 bucks was involved, money is not really an issue. Well, maybe a little bit. I really don't want a four-year membership. Actually I only need it for a day or two so I can vote. Maybe we could strike a bargain. I'd go as high as $3.50 for, say, the month of February.
They also offered family deals. Up to four memberships from the same address were available, but it was unclear whether you would get a volume discount.
The form itself was pretty simple. You have to provide a name. Check. Address. Check. Date of birth (optional). Check. Daytime telephone number. Check.
All pretty standard stuff. Anyone 14 years or older with an address and telephone number is eligible. Even my 17-year-old cat qualifies. So what's my moral dilemma? It was the small print at the end of the form that made me click the X to close the website.
It said I couldn't be a member of any other provincial party.
Oops. As it happens, I also want to join the B.C. NDP party and cast a ballot in their leadership vote on April 17.
The NDP ousted Carole James in December in a coup involving yellow scarves.
But so far there has been a dearth of contestants chomping at the bit to take over the reins of the party. There are now three, I think. The first to declare was Dana Larsen, former leader of the B.C. Marijuana Party. Some are questioning his eligibility, though, as he was kicked out of the national party by Jack Layton in 2008 after a video of him driving with a joint in his mouth hit YouTube.
MLAs Nicholas Simons and Harry Lali have also thrown their hats into the ring.
Unfortunately, none are eligible, since they are men. The B.C. NDP gender equity rules require that a woman must occupy at least one of the three posts of party leader, president and treasurer. It's a bit awkward since the president and treasurer are both men at the moment. Females are needed. So again, quite an exciting leadership race coming up.
But back to my moral dilemma. I think I have a solution. Since the NDP didn't seem to have a restriction about joining other parties, I can join the Liberals first, which means I wouldn't actually be lying. Then later in the day, I could join the NDP.
And, since B.C. is awash in leaderless political parties right now, this will clear the decks for me to join the B.C. Conservative Party in the spring. Their leadership convention isn't till May.
Isn't democracy wonderful?
Marilyn Baker is a freelance writer in Richmond B.C.