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Liberals "Parachute" Former NDP Politicians into BC Ridings

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Issue: 19 Section: Canadian News British Columbia Topics: democracy, NDP

June 25, 2004

Liberals "Parachute" Former NDP Politicians into BC Ridings

In an election campaign ad airing on BC television, Shirley Chan (former top aide to Mike Harcourt), Ujjal Dosanjh (former NDP premier), and Dave Haggard (union leader)--all formerly of the New democratic Party--walk through Stanley Park in support of their new Liberal party political home. This switch, or "parachuting" as some call it, has managed to raise eyebrows. Some Liberals say it shows disrespect for the democratic process, while some non-partisan observers believe the party-jumping will result in harm to the Liberal party.

Dr, Norman Ruff, associate professor of political science at the University of Victoria, thinks the ad won't have the effect the Liberals are intending–to possibly sway NDP voters to the Liberals, to follow the "star" candidates. Ruff says, "I think, for NDP voters, it has a kind of reaction. They all see it, and they see that these are the three sell-outs. So, I don't think it's likely to shift the core NDP support."

During the campaign, the federal Liberals have tried to distance themselves from the provincial Liberals--in particular, from BC, Ontario, and Quebec--due to these governments' unpopular moves such as social program cuts and tax increases. NDP leader Jack Layton offers that there is no such separation, recently commenting, "If you like what Gordon Campbell's doing, vote for Paul Martin. If you love what Gordon Campbell's doing, vote for Stephen Harper." (Seven Oaks)

» Seven Oaks: Election Coverage

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The Dominion is a monthly paper published by an incipient network of independent journalists in Canada. It aims to provide accurate, critical coverage that is accountable to its readers and the subjects it tackles. Taking its name from Canada's official status as both a colony and a colonial force, the Dominion examines politics, culture and daily life with a view to understanding the exercise of power.

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