Thursday, February 15, 2007

are liberals pouching female NDP candidates, to fill the dion women quota?

Liberals eye NDP as source for female candidates
Peter O'Neil, CanWest News Service February 15, 2007

The federal Liberal party is attempting to increase its contingent of female candidates by trying to poach elected or formerly elected politicians from Jack Layton’s New Democratic Party, The Vancouver Sun has learned.

A Liberal official confirmed Thursday that former B.C. NDP premier Ujjal Dosanjh was dispatched to find out if two high-profile West Coast female New Democrats, Dawn Black and Penny Priddy, would bolt to the official Opposition.

"Out here, there is a perception that Dawn Black and Penny Priddy may be unhappy with Jack Layton’s leadership," B.C. Liberal campaign director Mike Witherly said in an e-mail. "Mr. Dosanjh was asked to see if there was any truth to that perception."

Black, Priddy, and former Vancouver Island MP Lynn Hunter, who was also approached, ridiculed the suggestion they might be disgruntled Liberal wannabes.

"I think it speaks volumes about their inability to attract strong women," said Black, who said she immediately turned down the offer.

Liberal Leader St├ęphane Dion has promised that at least a third of the party's 308 candidates in the next election will be female.

The Liberals have sought in recent years to "unite the left" against Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Tory government by opening their doors to high-profile New Democrats such as Dosanjh and former Ontario premier Bob Rae.

Hunter said she received a strong pitch from a Victoria-based organizer, who said centre-left Canadians must unite against Harper.

"They are waving the big, scary Conservative banner, which is effective," said Hunter, an environmental activist who represented Natural Resources Minister Gary Lunn's Saanich-Gulf Islands riding on Vancouver Island from 1988 to 1993.

But Hunter said she joined the NDP in the early 1980s because of the party's strong stand in favour of abortion choice, and remains committed to the party.

Black, an MP from 1988 to 1993, served as a senior aide under Dosanjh during the Liberal MP's brief time as premier.

She returned to federal politics last year, winning New Westminster-Coquitlam with 19,427 votes, edging Conservative incumbent Paul Forseth, who had 16,494 votes.

Priddy, a former provincial health minister, won Surrey North in a landslide with 16,307 votes in her first bid at a federal seat. Tory David Matta placed second with 9,864. She is expected to face a tougher challenger in the next election going against Tory Dona Cadman, widow of the popular former MP for the riding.

Priddy said Thursday she hasn't been approached by Dosanjh, and said he'd be wasting his time.
She said Witherly is speaking "nonsense" by alleging NDP caucus members are unhappy with Layton supposedly supporting the Harper minority government.

"If I thought Jack Layton was supporting Stephen Harper I wouldn't have stood for nomination."


Jan_ from_ BruceCounty said...

Good Post. Maybe the Libs could try recruiting Con female MPs, as they seem to have lots more in common with all that floor waltzing between the two. They might have better luck.

audacious said...

i'm still waiting for some one to take 'Colin Mayes' from our riding,... surely we should be able to trade up to someone/thing else!

any takers?

Bud said...

it was inevitable that Liberals were going to persue NDP candidates. After, the Liberals are as close to the NDP right now as the Social Credits were. Maybe you can find a Tommy Douglas clone to take over from Dion.

kurichina said...

Wow, are they ever looking desparate!