Despite the failure of the recall campaign against Oak Bay-Gordon Head MLA Ida Chong, organizers in the Central Island area are determined to battle on, says recall organizer Terry Hand.
“Right now we are going to be helping out the guys in Courtenay, since they are the closest of the two recall campaigns going on,” Hand said.
He said the Chong campaign was hampered by a number of factors that he doesn’t see playing a part in future and current campaigns and he suggested the movement is as strong as ever.
“It was not really a blow to lose that campaign,” he said. “We knew it wasn’t going to be easy. The obstacles they faced down there were quite high. They had problems with Elections BC that put them back a few days and it began right before Christmas, which was, in my opinion, a bad move.”
As well, he said the short days of mid-winter hampered efforts to sign people up.
“We had to canvass during the day and we found a lot of people were at work,” he said. “That meant we had to mark those we didn’t get and another team would have to go out between 5 and 6 p.m. to catch people just after dinner. Of course, by that time it’s dark.”
He said the Oak Bay campaign was not a failure, as it clearly has had an impact on both the Liberal and NDP leadership campaigns.
“You look at what the candidates are saying,” he said. “They’re saying they want to give the people more of a say, more direct democracy. They are taking notice of the public.”
The resignation of premier Gordon Campbell and the upcoming referendum have not taken the wind out of the movement’s sails, he added.
“It’s not about Gordon Campbell,” he said. “That wasn’t the purpose. The purpose was to have the HST repealed. This is about putting pressure on the government. If we can get one MLA recalled, then that puts on more pressure.”
Hand said plans remain in place to target Parksville-Qualicum MLA Ron Cantelon, but he doesn’t plan to get that process underway until the spring, when the time is just right.
“During the initiative campaign last year the timing was perfect because it was April and it wasn’t cold and we had light nights,” he said. “Ron Cantelon’s recall campaign will start in the spring. We want to make sure we have people back here from Arizona or wherever they go and we want to canvass at night, while it’s still light.”