Decades from now, if any of us have the good fortune to be alive, we will still all remember May 14, 2013. The day, despite all the prognostications, our hopes and our work, once again we lost and they won!
A Review Panel was struck on July 19th by the Party, to conduct a comprehensive and thorough review of the campaign as well as an examination of the NDP’s strengths and weaknesses. This was in response to what many have sarcastically or jokingly referred to as the incredible ability of the NDP to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory!
I have no intention of laying out what mistakes I think we made and what smart things the Liberals did in their campaign, but the end result was a defeat made more devastating by the fact that all of the polls and most of us honestly believed we were going to win. And it is not the losing that is hurtful, it is the fact that all of the things that would have been possible if we became government are now off the table for another four years. I have joked with many of you from time to time that being in Opposition is a lot of fun, as opposed to being in government, but you don’t want to make it a permanent job. And as I enter my ninth year of service in Opposition, I remember with great fondness the four and a half years I spent in government under Mike Harcourt and Glen Clark, when if you worked hard and persuaded your colleagues, you could make specific things happen in your constituency that otherwise might not have happened. The Liberals would love to pretend that nothing will happen in a riding that votes NDP but of course we all know that is not true, but there is no question that a well-informed MLA on the government side may well be a few steps ahead of an opposition MLA when it comes to securing whatever progress they believe is important.
I would hope that all of you who worked or contributed to the campaign in whatever way received a thank you letter from me earlier, but I do want to thank any of you who were missed, as well as thank again all of you who did receive a letter as well as those of you who simply voted or told your friends to vote NDP.
There was a short session in July that passed the provincial budget, which promises on the face of it to be balanced and if, in fact, the Liberals do manage to balance it, it will be on the backs of the poor, the sick and the vulnerable in our province, who will see the programs they rely on diminished or eliminated in order to satisfy the Liberal mantra that a balanced budget is the most important god at whose feet the public should worship, notwithstanding that there was clearly room for revenue increases for government, from those in society, including corporations who have done very well in the last twelve years of significant tax cuts, while the rest of the populace has seen increases in fees and licenses and reductions in service.
Finally, I do hope that all of you who are members of the Party will yourselves, and encourage others, to participate in the review panel, even if it is just a sarcastic comment, but make sure you contribute your views. It is time to build a successful electoral enterprise so that 2017 will see us elected, not consigned to another four years of opposition. Please participate, it is the only way we are going to win.
MLA for Nanaimo
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