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BC NDP seeking opinions on potential leaders

With its own leadership race underway, the NDP wants to know what people think of the candidates to lead a British Columbia political party -- the Liberals.

"We’d like to hear your thoughts on the potential Liberal candidates for Premier as well as your priorities for the new Premier," says the introduction to the online survey. "That new leader will immediately become BC’s new Premier."

The survey asks people to rank whether the following statements make them very concerned, somewhat concerned or not at all concerned:

Christy Clark cut programs for vulnerable children and their families including BC’s school lunch program, programs to help at risk teens, and programs to help autistic kids and their families;

George Abbott and Kevin Falcon agreed to pay $6 million to the lawyer of convicted Liberal staff person David Basi to bring an end to the BC Rail trial;

When Christy Clark was Education Minister she closed 120 schools, laid off 2,000 teachers and cut librarians and special needs support;

Kevin Falcon supports a bigger role for private clinics in BC’s health care system, saying people should be able to use their own money to buy expedited treatment in private for profit surgery clinics;

Kevin Falcon is supported by many of BC’s big business leaders and he supports cuts to corporate taxes;

When George Abbott was health minister hospital services were privatized, hospital budgets were cut, and surgery waiting lists increased;

When the Liberal candidates were in Gordon Campbell’s cabinet they all supported double digit increases in medicare premiums, hydro rates, Ferry rates, and tuition fees. And they all support the HST;

Christy Clark’s personal residence and her brother’s office were searched by the RCMP in the BC Rail Raids. Her campaign team is made up of many of the people involved in the BC Rail privatization deal – and she’s against any inquiry into the BC Rail deal.

The survey asks people to mark which words apply to the top three candidates, Christy Clark, George Abbott and Kevin Falcon. Choices include energetic, practical, untrustworthy, confrontational, "a real change", corrupt, honest, balanced, "new ideas", charismatic, extreme, "not on your side", "in it for themselves", "cares about me", gets things done, negative, dishonest, out of touch, moderate, positive, new, "not like Gordon Campbell", business oriented, trustworthy, modern, slick, mean, arrogant.

It also asks people to rank the importance of various issues, including stopping privatization, reducing homelessness, "making life more affordable for the average person," improving BC’s public schools, balancing BC’s budget, reducing corruption in government, improving BC’s environment, and reducing crime.

"Every effective campaign is driven by research, particularly the opinions of voters like you," said an email encouraging people to complete the survey. "Your advice and input on important issues help us formulate an effective message that connects with voters, and drive a campaign that will have an impact across our province."

The message asks people to participate by Feb. 26, the day BC Liberal Party members vote.

Candidates to lead the NDP are Dana Larsen, Nicholas Simons, John Horgan, Mike Farnworth and Adrian Dix. Party members will vote April 17.

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee’s Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria. Reach him here.

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