With less than two weeks to go in what has been a tough battle, campaigners for the recall Ida Chong campaign remain publicly optimistic, stating in essence, “It ain’t over till it’s over.”
Having failed to accomplish their 2,000 signatures a week goal to date — last week they reached the 8,000 mark, well short of the 15,368 signatures needed by the Feb. 4 deadline — it’s clear voters in Oak Bay-Gordon Head have little appetite for participating in democracy in this way.
The Fight HST campaign to oust a hard-working MLA and cabinet minister is, under B.C.’s current legislation, a democratic protest action.
A number of people in the riding are indeed angry with Chong, the Liberals, the HST or any combination of those.
But using the Recall and Initiative Act to target individual MLAs is a poor way of getting back at the government. But it’s certainly been interesting to watch democracy in action.
Canvassers are working as hard as they can to get to as many doors as possible. The assumption there is if they could just broaden their reach, they’d get more signatures and thus gain critical momentum.
Such logic is as flawed as the use of the act for this reason: If people who haven’t yet been contacted by now felt strongly enough about signing, it’s likely they’d find a way to get their name on the list.
If the recall campaign ultimately fails to secure enough signatures to force a byelection in Oak Bay-Gordon Head, it’s likely the result of Fight HST supporters grossly misjudging the mood of voters — even in a riding where Chong barely beat her NDP rival in 2009 and where Liberal popularity is low. To a lesser extent the campaign is probably too poorly organized and supported to succeed.
As many of the residents canvassed have likely stated, we’re patient enough to wait until this fall’s referendum to cast a directly meaningful vote on the HST.