Opinion

A tale of two very different parties

The atmosphere inside the two rooms couldn’t be more different, but the goal was the same — defeat the other side in the upcoming provincial election.

At the Nov. 4 NDP nominating meeting at the Steelworkers Hall in Walnut Grove, there was home baking and coffee at the back of the hall. The 130 people in attendance were mostly wearing casual clothing — jeans, plaid shirts and T-shirts. Even successful nominee Shane Dyson was relatively casual — wearing a jacket and a shirt open at the collar. NDP leader Adrian Dix was one of the few wearing a shirt and tie — bright orange, of course.

Thursday’s fundraiser for Dyson’s opponent in Fort Langley-Aldergrove took place just down 200 Street, in the banquet hall at Langley Events Centre. Energy and Housing Minister Rich Coleman hosted his 16th annual fundraiser, geared primarily to the business community. Tickets were $125 each with tables of eight going for $1,000.

The attendees were almost all in business suits, although at least one was wearing jeans. Many were from outside Langley — the Vancouver business community is always well-represented at Coleman fundraisers.

Local politicians, most of whom are either BC Liberal members or sympathizers, were also there in force. Only one member of Langley Township council, Councillor David Davis, was absent. Numerous Liberal MLAs were also on hand.

Coleman made the point, as he often has  at these events, that the NDP are at the gates, to borrow a well-known phrase from long-time premier W.A.C. Bennett. His supporters agree, and are more than ready to add to BC Liberal coffers and hopefully keep the gates barred.

The ticket sales and a variety of auction items raise funds, not just for Coleman’s campaign, but for use in other parts of the province. He said at least 25 campaigns will benefit from the event. The auction alone raised tens of thousands of dollars.

Coleman vowed that Dix will wake up the morning after the election, to find that he is not the premier.

Dyson knows that the Liberals will be spending big in Fort Langley-Aldergrove. His campaign made the plea for donations from members at Sunday’s meeting, passing out envelopes and jokingly threatening to bar the doors until envelopes with enclosed cheques were handed in. There will be other pleas.

The party has promised to put more resources into the campaign here than usual, and it will likely be a more spirited fight than has been seen in Fort Langley-Aldergrove since the 1991 election, which saw the NDP elected government with Social Credit and the Liberals splitting the right-of-centre votes.

Both events emphasized the necessity for a large number of volunteers to do all the necessary legwork in the election campaign.

The election takes place on May 14, 2013. The two parties are getting ready. They are just doing so in vastly different way.

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