Opinion

Political infighting costly for Liberals

In the sporting world, there’s a sure sign when things aren’t going well for a team: Players begin to point fingers at their teammates and find fault with decisions made by management. The same holds true for politics, which has become a blood sport in Boundary-Similkameen.

A huge and apparently insurmountable rift has developed between the B.C. Liberal Party and John Slater, the riding’s MLA, along with much of the local party executive. So bitter has the relationship become that Slater has quit the Liberal caucus and vowed to run in the spring election as an independent.

Problems developed when the Liberal party refused to endorse Slater’s candidacy papers that had been filed in September. Party officials would only cite personal issues that would impact Slater’s ability to represent the party. However, whispers and speculation indicated that a drinking problem was behind the Liberals’ decision to oust Slater.

For his part, Slater denies having a problem with alcohol, and by all indications the former Osoyoos mayor remains popular with his constituents.

It is more than a little ironic that Slater claimed the Liberal nomination in 2009 after the party turfed Joe Cardoso. Slater ended up winning that election by just over 800 votes over the NDP’s Lakhvinder Jhaj — a total no doubt made closer by the strong showing of Cardoso, who ran as a Conservative.

Whatever the reason, the party infighting seems almost certain to strip Boundary-Similkameen from the Liberals’ grasp. And with Adrian Dix and the NDP leading handily in all the polls only a few months out from the election, one would expect the Liberals to fight tooth and nail to hang on to every potential path to victory. But the battle now raging in Boundary-Similkameen has made that path a little more narrow.

 

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