Former MLA David Schreck predicted a B.C. NDP election debacle in 2010

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      David Schreck predicted a B.C. NDP debacle two-and-a-half years before the May 14, 2013, election.

      The former New Democrat MLA prophesied this outcome as the consequence of the bitter infighting that ousted Carole James as leader of the provincial NDP. James stepped down on December 6, 2010, five days after Vancouver–Mount Pleasant MLA Jenny Kwan issued a statement calling for new leadership in the party.

      On that same day in 2010, Schreck told the Straight in a phone interview that the B.C. NDP has been “permanently damaged”. “This split goes to the roots of the party,” he said then.

      Schreck went on to say that, as a result, the 2013 election “will be a cakewalk for the Liberals, and the NDP will be lucky if they can elect a half-dozen seats”.

      According to him, Kwan and the other anti-James dissidents could have simply waited for the party’s convention in November 2011, defeated James in a leadership review, and elected a new leader in time for the 2013 general election.

      “They chose a route in which the prize they’ve won they’ve made worthless,” Schreck said.

      James’s December 6 statement reflected the rancour that divided the party at that time. “Over the last two months, we’ve seen some members of our caucus decide to use their time and energy infighting instead of working on behalf of British Columbians,” James said.

      According to Schreck, the B.C. NDP rebel faction won a worthless victory with the ouster of James “because who would want to lead this bunch now that can’t possibly win an election?”.

      In the following spring, Adrian Dix was elected as new B.C. NDP leader. Despite leading consistently in surveys, Dix lost the recent election to B.C. Liberal Premier Christy Clark.

      In a December 7, 2010, phone interview with the Straight, Kwan said that Schreck was “dead wrong”.


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      May 17, 2013 at 2:06pm

      What a pointless story. How is this relevant?

      Ken Lawson

      May 17, 2013 at 2:11pm

      They have to find a new leader or they never win again, they have to change their attitude, they have a losers attitude!


      May 17, 2013 at 2:31pm

      Schreck seemed confident in this article in 2011?

      "To form government, the NDP must defeat at least six Liberal incumbents as well as hang on to all of the current NDP seats, or defeat an additional Liberal incumbent for each NDP incumbent that is defeated. That is not an insurmountable task for Adrian Dix and the NDP. Christy Clark and her advisers know that, which is why she may hesitate before rushing into an early election."

      Clark vs. James?

      Louis Cyphre

      May 17, 2013 at 2:35pm

      As the FedLibs did when they dumped Chretien.


      May 17, 2013 at 4:29pm


      You're quite right. Schreck was over-wrought over James's ouster but he sensibly got over it when it became clear that Dix had successfully united the party and recovered lost ground in public support.

      The biggest disappointment for those who supported Dix in the 2011 leadership contest is that he didn't follow through on what was widely expected of him: namely, to tackle head on the Liberals' flagrant lies about the NDP's record in government and their own 12-year record of incompetence, dishonesty, and corruption. A bare-knuckled critique, combined with a clear statement of NDP alternatives--boldly proclaimed, without apology--would have given thousands of NDP-inclined non-voters reason to actually vote--in stark contrast to the insipid campaigns the party ran in 2005 and 2009.

      In such a campaign it needn't have fallen exclusively to Dix to deliver the one-two punch. Horgan and Farnworth could have been given a larger role in the central campaign.

      If only, if only...

      Mr. Bean

      May 17, 2013 at 4:33pm

      The answer is simple.

      When a party chooses a leader who looks, walks and acts like Mr. Bean, you are the in the comedy business, not in a political arena!!

      Arm Chair

      May 18, 2013 at 11:22am

      Distinctly remember having the thought, during that "infighting-era", of how much people want to grasp power to its last dying minute. Carol James should have stepped down at the time before the team's personalities became so polarized.

      So NDP ended up with a boring benign leader 'both sides' could agree with and still remnants of rifts probably remain. It was unfortunate as James was great at what she did but not as leader. Taste of power changes some people.

      James Delabur

      May 18, 2013 at 12:48pm

      Clearly, James had to step down, she lost two consecutive elections to Gordon Campbell. There is no way she would have been successful for a third time after the Liberals had relatively painlessly transitioned the Premiership from Campbell to Clark.

      The New Democrats have been calling themselves 'New" since just after WW2. They are dinosauric, and seem incapable of modernizing into a 21st century party, and therefore attract second and third-rate candidates, of which Schreck was one, attacking his own team publicly.

      And he has no predictive skills, claiming the NDP would be decimated in seats ("lucky if .. half-dozen seats") like they were in 2001.


      May 18, 2013 at 5:06pm

      I think the point is that there is too much infighting in the party. In retrospect I would agree and it would explain why Dix suddenly took on such a strong stance against Kinder Morgan. What a poorly run campaign right from the beginning. Announcing the campaign was only going to be positive - like why. So that your enemy can hold you accountable. Makes zero sense.


      May 18, 2013 at 5:37pm

      Strange how the reviled James appealed to a higher percentage of the electorate than any NDP leader since 1986 as shown by her totals in 05 & 09. Kwan is part of the "traditional" NDP core and they were under the mistaken impression that this election would be a cakewalk and wanted one of "theirs" in charge. Dix fit the bill perfectly as his willingness to falsify documents to protect the leader showed his dedication to the party in the past. Schreck was right but for the wrong reasons.