MLAs prepare for possible fall election

Both of the Cariboo’s MLAs confirm they’ve heard the buzz that there may be a provincial election in the offing this fall.

Both of the Cariboo’s MLAs confirm they’ve heard the buzz that there may be a provincial election in the offing this fall.

Cariboo North MLA Bob Simpson and Cariboo Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett say they’re aware of the  talk of an impending election around the legislature. It’s unconfirmed at this point but Simpson says there are compelling reasons why Premier Christy Clark may want to seek a new mandate earlier than the fixed election date of May 2013.

Simpson cites going to the polls before the newly formed B.C. Conservative party can gain ground, before the NDP has enough money to finance a province-wide campaign and before a prospective  teachers’ strike becomes potentially intractable. Simpson also suggests having MLAs elected under Clark’s mandate in caucus as preferable as a reason why she might go to the polls.

He says the Liberal caucus has indicated it doesn’t want an election, something Barnett echoes. Neither does the electorate, insists Barnett.

“My personal opinion is people are electioned out. I have not heard one of them say, ‘Yeah, we need another election.’”

Barnett, who advocates waiting for 2013, points to the preceding years spent on the HST initiative, recall, the HS T referendum, May’s federal election, the two provincial leadership campaigns, and the impending municipal and school board elections this November as reasons for the public’s unfavourabe attitude towards undertaking another vote.

Simpson hypothesized the vote might be during the third week of September — after the HST referendum and sandwiched between the Union of B.C. Municipalities meetings and the start of the municipal election campaign.

To prepare for that eventuality Simpson, who plans to run in the next election, has formalized an Independent Cariboo North Constituency Association and is preparing a campaign strategy aimed at growing the voter percentage in the riding.

While Barnett, who also plans to run in the next election, isn’t in favour of going to the polls this year she’s not worried about the political competition.

“People will choose to mark their ballot the way they choose to mark their ballot.”

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