The BCCLA is underwhelmed by a lack of response to a policy survey sent to B.C. Liberal party leadership candidates in January. In early January the BCCLA contacted all Liberal leadership candidates with a survey to inform voters of their positions on important civil liberties issues. Candidates were asked to send responses by January 31st. To date not one survey has been returned.
“Civil liberties issues include the province‟s contract with the RCMP, law enforcement practices, municipal drug law enforcement under the guise of bylaw enforcement, drug addiction services by the health care ministry, and protection of sex workers so that the fate of the „missing women‟ is not repeated. These ought to be part of the leadership discussion and debate,” said BCCLA President Robert Holmes, “In a time when fewer and fewer voters actually participate, having candidates for the Premier‟s job not participate in discussion of real issues sends the wrong message.”
The BCCLA has confirmed that all candidates have had copies of the survey for an extended period. Original surveys or requests for current contact information were sent to all candidates in January, and follow up phone calls were placed in early February.
“We have received responses from two leadership candidates, both running for the NDP, so far. The lack of response from others strongly suggests that this is just not a priority for them,” said Holmes. “Knowing where candidates stand is essential to genuine democracy. Politics should be about issues, not slogans or personality contests. Given the events that led to these contests, one would hope candidates would understand that being up front with the public was essential.”
The only response to the BCCLA‟s original distribution of surveys to Liberal leadership candidates was from Kevin Falcon‟s team, which explained that he would not respond to the survey due to a lack of resources. Follow up phone calls in early February to Moira Stilwell indicated that she also did not intend to respond to the survey. Other leadership candidate offices asked that the questionnaire be resent. As of yet, no response from the teams of George Abbott, Mike de Jong, Christy Clark, or Ed Mayne have been received.
David Eby, Executive Director, (778) 865-7997
Robert Holmes, President, (604) 681-1310