Cheeky statement sparks debate

The NDP claims a public statement was tongue-in-cheek but others suggest it indicates positive campaigning has been abandoned

The NDP claims a public statement was tongue-in-cheek but others suggest it indicates positive campaigning has been abandoned.

On Sunday, the NDP provincial campaign issued its top 12 list of Liberal candidates “whose past and present behaviour should not disqualify them from being on the ballot.”

“Not calling for your opponents’ resignations to distract from your own record. That’s change for the better,” it states.

However, the list upsets Eric Foster, Vernon-Monashee Liberal candidate, who believed the NDP wasn’t running attack ads.

“This is their idea of a positive campaign, is it?”  said Foster who is number two on the list. “Their true colours are coming out. They act like they are taking the high road but they are taking the low road.”

In reference to Foster, the NDP statement says, “He was forced to pay back $67,000 after the auditor general criticized him for questionable office renovations, and then led the charge to fire the auditor general. But we are not calling for his resignation.”

Foster says he’s been cleared of alleged wrongdoing by the conflict of interest commissioner.

“Ask them about the $200 they have taken from each (NDP MLA) constituency fund to pay for an ethnic outreach person. It was totally political,” he said.

The NDP insists the release was an attempt to show the Liberals, who have been highly critical of some NDP candidates, that similar situations can be found in all parties.

“It was tongue and cheek and they are trying to point out that people make mistakes,” said Mark Olsen, Vernon-Monashee NDP candidate.

“We can’t keep calling for resignations every time someone makes a mistake.”

Olsen says the campaign should be focused on issues and not the actions of individuals.

That view is also supported by Steve Gunner, the NDP’s Shuswap candidate.

“This reality check was a light-hearted attempt to poke a bit of fun at the unreasonableness of the B.C. Liberals’ attempt to force the resignation of a B.C. NDP candidate over the way her name was printed on a lawn sign,” he said.

“The record of the candidates featured in the statement are well-known and were widely reported.  And each candidate has to run on his or her own record.”