No white flag from recall campaign

With only one-third of the signatures needed for a successful recall of Kamloops-North Thompson Liberal MLA Terry Lake, organizers still weren’t ready to wave the white flag early last week.

At the halfway point in the recall effort, the campaign has gathered nearly 5,000 signatures after four full weeks (through Sunday, March 6).

It’s still about 10,000 short of the total needed, with only four weeks left in the campaign.

Despite the long odds, campaign organizer Chad Moats said the effort will continue until the end.

He said the target now is to get 10,000 signatures, equal to about half the number of people in the riding who voted in the 2009 provincial election.

Moats said he would consider the number a “moral victory.

“If we get 10,000 [signatures], I think that speaks volume to how the people in the riding feel,” he said, adding it would likely make it the most successful of the recall campaigns launched in response to the harmonized sales tax.

In Kamloops-North Thompson, registered canvassers have 60 days, until April 4, to obtain the signatures of at least 15,299 registered voters, which is 40 per cent of the 38,246 voters registered to vote in the last provincial election.

The campaign needs to obtain an average of about 2,000 signatures per week to succeed.

Unlike the anti-HST petition, which appeared to have no trouble hitting its target, Moats suggested several factors for why the numbers just aren’t there for the recall campaign.

He noted the length of time the group had to wait between the petition and recall campaign, the time of year being winter and the large number signatures needed for a successful recall.

In the  remaining weeks of the recall, Moats said a new phone campaign will be launched, while canvassers will continue to go door-to-door. The first few days of the recall bid, which began on Feb. 3, were hampered by a major snowfall and a delay in obtaining the voters list.

Only 200 signatures were gathered after the first weekend.

Once the recall window has ended on April 4, Elections BC has 42 days from the date the petition pages are submitted to the chief electoral officer to verify those who signed the petition were entitled to do so. If the recall campaign succeeds, Lake’s seat will become vacant and a byelection must be called within 90 days.

By Jeremy Deutsch / Kamloops This Week