Liberals hide away to lick their wounds

What better place for conventioneering Liberals to celebrate what may be their last “Free Enterprise Friday” than...

What better place for conventioneering Liberals to celebrate what may be their last “Free Enterprise Friday” for years than safely behind the walls of the mountain fortress called Whistler.

In this rarified playground, it can be said without fear of contradiction that “Canada (Truly) Starts Here.” It is here that a “First Families First” lift pass puts Liberals out of reach of the toiling masses who would haul them off their alpine perch and throw them in the sea.

It is here this week, well distanced from the idle legislature, that the Liberals have decided to celebrate their version of the Last Days of Pompeii. And, yes, as advertised, it is here that several hundred convention goers are observing “Free Enterprise Friday.” No one is deluded enough to add the word “annual.”

By way of a mood setter, Angus Reid has just released a poll that confirms the depth of the Liberal crisis underscoring the party’s two-day convention in Bimmerville. One of the bleakest findings is that Premier Christy Clark’s approval rating has shrunk two points in one month to just 26 per cent. The truly scary thing is that this level of support is only four percentage points ahead of Green Party leader Jane Sterk, a total unknown whose irrelevant party accounts for just seven per cent support. No surprise, NDP leader Adrian Dix posts the highest approval rating up one point this month to 46 per cent.

Another alarming finding is the lack of polling data to suggest the Liberals are poised to profit from the collapse of the vote-splitting Conservatives and their hopelessly discredited leader, John Cummins.

The Liberal Party, like its leader, has 26 per cent support, down one point in a month while the Conservatives have dropped three points to 16 per cent. No surprise again, the NDP is still gaining support and is up three points to 49 per cent.

Here on Vancouver Island, the news is even worse. An “orange crush” is in the making with the Liberal support limping along at 21 per cent, 36 points behind the NDP’s 57-per-cent strangle hold. This may explain why the premier drew just mild applause last week when she told an economc summit in Nanaimo that her lofty goal is to transform B.C. into Canada’s No. 1 economy. Clark doesn’t seem to realize that only 20 per cent of voters believe she is best suited to manage our economic issues. Dix, the bank-taxing socialist, is six points ahead of that.

The Whistler convention is the party’s final gathering before the May election and Friday has been billed as an “open” day when delegates will be joined by “non-members” to discuss “important policy issues facing the province.”

Where the party is dredging up these non-members is a bit of a puzzle. Are they being bussed in from Surrey? Is a box lunch part of the inducement to persuade these cardless free enterprisers to give up a day of work (if they have jobs) to rub shoulders with platoons of depressed card-carrying party members?

Isn’t it so sadly typical of the Liberals to have an “open” convention in the one place in the province that is geographically and financially out of reach of the very people they should be talking to … that’s if a meaningful dialogue with regular folks was actually on the agenda. M

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