4:42 PM 14/01/2006

Prediction Changed
5:31 PM 12/01/2006
Election Prediction Project

British Columbia Southern Interior
Federal Election - 2006

Constituency Profile

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Alex Atamanenko
Green Party/Parti Vert
Scott Leyland
Bill Profili
Brian Sproule
Derek Zeisman

Jim Gouk

2004 Result:
Jim Gouk
Alex Atamanenko
Doug Stanley
Scott Leyland
Robert Schuster
Karine Cyr
Farlie Paynter
Brian Sproule

For historical result, please see
2004 Prediction page

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12 01 06 watcher
I think I'm a bit late on reporting this, but yes Derek Zeisman's trial is blown open into the public and the Conservative Party has disowned him. This leaves no Conservative candidate in this riding.
Now can the Liberals gain the lost Conservative votes and pull off an upset? It's possible, but the odds are against them, given the not-so-great national campaign. Who knows, some Conservative votes might even bleed to the Greens. But the bulk of them should stay home or vote NDP.
12 01 06 M. Lunn
With the Tory numbers rising in BC, I thought they might hold this, but now with candidate Derek Zeisman being caught for breaking the law, I doubt it. Besides even should he win on the off chance, he won't be welcome in the Conservative caucus so this riding won't get a Conservative no matter what happens.
12 01 05 lanto
Zeisman has just been dropped by the Conservatives for not revealing that he's recently been charged with smuggling. This should ensure what was already likely going to be an NDP victory, although it's not clear where former Conservative voters will park their votes.
12 01 05 Bex
Zeisman, the Tory candidate has been booted from the party, and given that the nomination deadline has passed, this will mean that the riding effectively is without a Tory candidate. Since a lot of the Tory vote is more of a populist nature, this will throw a lot of the support to the NDP, which will likely pull away with this riding now.
12 01 05 RD
Well chalk this one up for the NDP. The 1/12/06 Globe and Mail reports:
B.C. candidate Derek Zeisman will not run as a Conservative, party leader Stephen Harper said Thursday after it was revealed that Mr. Zeisman is facing smuggling charges that could land him in jail.
Mr. Harper said it's too late to take Mr. Zeisman's name off the ballot, but said if Mr. Zeisman wins the riding, he will not be in the Tory caucus.
Conservative campaign organizers were caught off guard by the report, which said Canadian Customs officials have charged Mr. Zeisman, 33, with trying to smuggle 112 containers of alcohol across the U.S.-Canada border in a Mercedes and lying about it.
12 01 05 nbpolitico
The story of the hidden smuggling charged followed by Harper's statement that this man will not be allowed to sit in his caucus should he be elected coupled with the fact that the Conservatives barely defeated the NDP here the last time and the lack of the incumbency for the Tories is more than enough to call this for the NDP.
12 01 05 Me
Well, the NDP candidate was already well-positioned to win this - but now that Zeisman the Tory has been charged with smuggling and Harper has announced that even if he wins he won't be allowed in the Tory caucus, this all but confirms that voters here will elect the NDP. I expect this site will change this from TCTC over to the NDP very soon.
12 01 05 Barry
Have only lived in this riding for last year so can not speak with previous election experience. However I do travel a fair amount to various small towns in the kootenay area ... towns that one might think are prime ground for CPC and I've rarely seen any campaign signs for Zeisman and none at all on private property. But I have seen a lot of NDP signs. My gut feel as always been that this riding is going to go NDP. And now after latest news of smuggling charges on Zeisman and subsequent disavowal of him by the CPC party I strongly believe that this riding needs to be moved into the win column for the NDP
12 01 05 mas
Now that the charges of car and booze smuggling against the Tory candidate has resulted in his own party withdrawing their official support (as reported by the CBC this morning), and with no other Tory candidate replacing him, the NDP is very likely to pick this one up.
12 01 05 B.A.S.
I am putting this as NDP because it seems the most logical way for this race to break now that Zeisman's smuggling charges have been made public.
The charges, and Harper basically dumping Zeisman mean that he is done.
It's unfortunate that he didn't confess to his error and realize that his mistake at the border should have disqualified him from running.
Stephen Harper is an ethical man and Zeisman should have known that Harper would react strongly against such wrongdoings as this.
*IF* he is cleared, he can run against the winner of this riding in the next election.
12 01 05 Ben
The Tories have dumped Zeisman over smuggling charges. The NDP is now effectively running without opposition as no one is going to vote for an alleged criminal whose been thrown out of his party.
12 01 05 Mike DeRosenroll
Time to move this one into the NDP column. The Cons have dumped Zeisman as their candidate now that the media discovered he's been charged with smuggling liquor and a Mercedes. No Conservative candidate means an NDP victory here.
12 01 05 Doozer
Harper just announced that Derek Zeisman won't be allowed to sit as a conservative if he wins. Unless frogs fall from the sky on election day, this just became the most certain ndp pickup in the country.
12 01 05 Canadian Redhead
An NDP pick up because:
o Conservative Derek Zeisman faces charges related to a criminal act.
O Zeisman does not have the advantage of personal incumbency.
O Gouk, the Conservative incumbent from 2000 only won the seat by 680 votes - a small plurality - over the NDP candidate, Alex Atamanenko.
O Atamanenko is running for the NDP again.
O Southern Interior only has 5 candidates this time instead of 2004's 8. Not running are Independent Robert Schuster, the Marijuana Party and CAP. Together these candidates accumulated 1069 votes which are now in play for other candidates.
O A point that may have played in his favour previously was his injuries, but given recent events, may end up playing against him.
12 01 05 Prism
This one is done...
Smuggling and reckless driving. I know what your thinking. Wouldn't this make him Campbell cabinet material in BC? You are right, but in this case it means he is now untouchable and unelectable. Welcome to Ottawa Alex!
12 01 05 Daniel P
Can we call this one for the NDP yet? Turns out Conservative candidate/trainwreck Derek Zeisman is on trial for smuggling. Turns out that Harper has said that Zeisman would not be welcome as a Conservative MP but it's too late to change candidates. I doubt Zeisman has the stature to be elected as an independent. I equally doubt that his votes will move en masse to the Liberal Party. I'd say this seat just turned from a probable NDP pick-up to an NDP lock
12 01 05 El Suavé
Ziesman has just been charged with smuggling booze acorss the border; Whether or not the allegations are true, this is enough to derail his campaign. Moreover, it seems the conservative party has dropped their support of his campaign. With Atamaneko's campaign already having steady momentum in this CON-NDP race, we can safely assume Zeisman is gona lose this one. Put a fork in him.
12 01 05 Mr. T.
To state the very obvious... Given the news today regarding not only the legal trouble that the Tory is in, but the further embarrassment that the Tories wont recognize him as a candidate, or a member of caucus if elected, one has to think that this becomes an NDP lock. Too bad he and Svend are not in the same party, thiefs often need a good smuggler and visa versa. Wait, he wasnt a good smuggler, he got caught.
12 01 06 East Coaster One
Looks like this could be a very good chance for a NDP pickup now that news has surfaced that the Conservative candidate is going to trial next month and if convicted could go to jail (going by a story on the CTV today)
12 01 06 MS London
The criminal charages the Conservative candidate faces should be enough to fold his campaign, or at least lose enough votes to put this in the NDP column.
12 01 06 R. Smith
NEWSFLASH - The lead story on the CTV national news last night was that the Conservative candidate, Derek Zeisman, is facing trial on CRIMINAL CHARGES related to smuggling a Mercedes and 112 containers of alcohol across the border! Apparently his own party didn't even know about this. Add to this the possiblity that he may face dangerous driving charges related to the serious two-car accident he was involved in before Christmas, plus the ongoing controversy around his essay calling for the abolition of the Charter of Rights, and you've got one serious disaster on your hands. Look for Stephen Harper to jettison this loose cannon for his consistent lack of judgement. It's time to move B.C. Southern Interior to the NDP column. It won't even be close.
11 01 06 M . Wilson
If it is true that Derek Zeisman is to be charged for causing the accident, and if it is true that he was passing vehicles on a double yellow line in the middle of a snow storm, did he really try to pass 3 vehicles? If this is true I don't feel to sorry for the guy!!!! I do feel sorry for the woman HE hit. if anyone wonders she is in bad shape as well and is livid that no one knows what really happened. Derek should stop wasting the voters time... if he is to be charged then he should live up to that whole integrity claim he has and step away.
11 01 06 David M.
well, fabian, your comment would make sense, except that zeisman is a whisper away from being charged with reckless endangerment. read a newspaper, not a campaign email: this guy is toast.
11 01 06 hcmm12
The Conservative candidate never told his party that he is up on charges for smuggling. Haha he just won the election for the NDP. There is no way that the people in this riding are going to vote for someone who is currently in the middle of a trial.
11 01 06 BLJ
My previous comments below still stand. Now, with the negative publicity surrounding his car accident (Trail Daily Times/PublicEyeOnline) and the surprising information that he is awaiting trial next month on smuggling charges (CTV News) I believe that his credibility has fallen enough to allow the NDP to gain this seat.
11 01 06 J Porter
Any sympathy for Derek Zeisman will immediately fade once everyone knows about the charges of car and alcohol smuggling. The Tories apparently didn't even know because Zeisman did not tell them (and therefore replace him). In any case they have lost it now.
11 01 06 MC
Looks as if Zeisman is going to court over alleged smuggling he did awhile ago. 112 containers of alcohol and a Mercedes-Benz. I hope he's got some of that drink left cause he'll need it during these next few weeks. The Tories clean government campaign may start going down hill. I think there will be enough people appalled in the Southern Interior for the NDP to put this one in the bag.
11 01 06 M.T.
Ahh... well, since the news broke today that Mr. Zeisman is facing trial on smuggling charges, there might be just a little bit of trouble for the Tories here.
11 01 06 ChiChi
Opps... another serious accident;
Apparently involving Canada Customs charging Derek Zeisman with attempting to smuggle in a Mercedes-Benz vehicle and 112 containers of alcohol. Lying to Canada Custom & not even telling his own party about the 'incident'. I don't think this going to gain much of that sympathy vote. Liberals haven't a monopoly on scandal; CPC smells like Lyin' Brian all over again, and I'm afraid we ain't seen nothing yet.
10 01 06 M. Green
Atamanenko was out early and went hard for 2 weeks before any other candidate did a thing. The RCMP are going to charge the conservative candidate with reckless driving. The CBC has the story and it is not good. While unfortunate he almost killed himself and the other driver in a head-on, Ziesman was already a whack job. Jim Gouk literally did nothing for this riding and almost lost it last election. Green and Libs are running competent candidates.
NDP will win by 4K.
06 01 06 Fabian B
Normally I would place this riding in the TCTC column but it seems that Zeisman's recent serious auto accident--he is in hospital with broken bones--has mobilized a tide of Conservative volunteers who are flocking to this riding to campaign on his behalf, as Mike Smyth of the Vancouver Province wrote in his Thursday column. Incumbent Jim Gouk, too, injured himself in 2004 while falling from a horse but still won. I can't believe that Jim Gouk and the Conservative followers won't knock on every door in this large riding for Zeisman. So, I would give an edge to the Conservatives here. Mike Smyth also noted that the Liberal candidate's cheap shot--essentially blaming Zeisman for his accident due to the winter timing of the election--backfired badly. People don't like kicking someone who is hurt or down on their luck anytime. So, we are back to a race between the NDP and Conservatives as everyone knows.
22 12 05 A. Meighen
Blogs are now running stories that the Conservative candidate, Derek Zeisman, is disavowing his 1998 essay in which he called for abolishing the Charter of Rights, eliminating all corporate taxes, and joining a monetary union with the USA.
It kind of makes you wonder what Zeisman stands for. Did he, as he now claims, just write something provocative to try and win the contest? If so, would he say anything during the campaign to get elected? If he didn't believe those things, why would he write them?
22 12 05 M. Lunn
Unfortunately Derek Zeisman was in a bad car accident, so hopefully he can recover quickly. They could both help or hinder his ability to win the riding. On the one hand this is a large riding so getting out and identifying the vote is essential to winning and considering the fact he is in the Hospital he won't be able to do this. In addition he would probably want to clear up some of his controversial past views, which he cannot do either. On the other hand he may pick up some of the sympathy vote. Based on the current polling numbers in BC, I am still leaving this as too close to call, but if the Conservatives don't see their numbers improve in BC in the New Year, I plan to move it to the NDP column
21 12 05 watcher
This race WILL be close. Zeisman was one of the few Alliance members who spoke out against Stockwell Day's obsessions with abortion, homosexuality, and taboos that social conservatives are generally concerned with. People disagree with the Charter for different reasons, but Zeisman certainly isn't arguing against it because he's socially conservative or something. In the past, Alliance members have made whacky statements and get elected anyway. Compared to most Alliance/Conservative people you find in interior BC, Zeisman is one of the more socially liberal and likeable guys around. He just happens to dislike a piece of paper.
Also I'd like to point out that his essay is nothing to be ashamed of. It won a competition hosted by Magna corporation, home to the family of Belinda Stronach and not known to favor political radicals. Now why would Zeisman's essay won that award if his ideas were so abominable?
20 12 05
"my feeling is Bill Profili has made some major headway here and could squeak out a shocker. Very popular mayor of Rossland - yes, a small part of this riding, but he is known around it as an outdoorsman and a strong steward on the local issues - is peeling away NDPs votes and red tories, who many voted for Corky provincially. Not all of Corky's support is strong socialists, but many who appreciate his folksy, gee shucks honest kind of spin. Profili has a similar profile. Call me crazy, but this is what I'm hearing..."
- Right...and he'll make up an 8000 vote deficit while he's at it...
Gouk isn't running again and the conservatives have nominated a whack-job in his place. This won't be close.
16 12 05 love, sydney
You may say I'm making a reach here, but if there is going to be a minor shift in public opinion in BC, with populist vote now up for grabs, my feeling is Bill Profili has made some major headway here and could squeak out a shocker. Very popular mayor of Rossland - yes, a small part of this riding, but he is known around it as an outdoorsman and a strong steward on the local issues - is peeling away NDPs votes and red tories, who many voted for Corky provincially. Not all of Corky's support is strong socialists, but many who appreciate his folksy, gee shucks honest kind of spin. Profili has a similar profile. Call me crazy, but this is what I'm hearing...
08 12 05 watcher
It should be noted that Derek Zeisman's reaction to the election is distinctly different from that of Alex Atamenenko's. Derek wants an election, but Alex doesn't. This might mean that Zeisman is more prepared. Of course, given the close results last time, I won't slap on the big blue C just yet.
07 12 05 P. Deshaies
It appears that the Conservative candidate called for monetary union with the U.S. and for scrapping the Charter back in an essay published in the 1980's for the "What I Would Do If I Was Prime Minister" contest.
Whats more, this riding was hardly targeted by the NDP in 2004.
When these factors (the candiate's extreme views) are added to the others (non Bible Belt riding, strong NDP presence in Victoria, better polling numbers, no incumbancy), it is all but impossible to argue for anything other than an NDP gain.
27 11 05 JFB
Le dernier sondage Ekos, malgré la marge d'erreur, montre un effritement du vote conservateur et une remontée nette du NPD. C'est le cas de nombreux sondages en C.-B. depuis quelques mois. À quelques centaines de voix en 2004, Alex Atamanenko (NPD) devrait cette fois-ci l'emporter avec une petite majorité, comme dans d'autres comtés où le résultat NPD-PCC fut serré.
24 11 05 Max Cat
The NDP did well here in the provincial election, and I sense from local media sources, local newspapers and the like, that they will do so Federally as well. With the Conservative numbers slumping a tad in BC, this is the sort of seat that will switch. I have heard both from commentators to residents that Harper is less appealing to a certain kind of BC voter who perfers a more populist flavor to politics.
24 11 05 Mark R.
The result in this riding was very close indeed between the Conservatives and NDP with less than 700 votes between them. Only 350 votes need to switch in order to put this riding into the NDP column. As stated in several other posts, the polling numbers and trends in BC point to potential disaster looming for the Conservative party. If the Liberals remain strong enough to siphen off more Conservative votes, ridings like this one will flip to the NDP. NDP gain.
18 11 05 J L
Isn't this riding where Corky Evans is from...? Come on, if Corky won here to go to Victoria...this is likely to go orange.
17 11 05 G. Robertson
It won't be long before the people of British Columbia Southern Interior realize that the Conservative candidate, Derek Zeisman, has some rather bizzare views on things. A simple google search on him will pull up his 1998 winning submission for Magna's "As Prime Minister" essay contest. In that piece he advocates "the elimination of all corporate and business taxes at the federal level. [...] Our government's tax revenues should instead come primarily from income and consumption taxes garnered from private citizens." He also advocates a "flat tax" system of income taxes which places a disproportionate burden on low- and middle-income earners, and calls for the abolition of the Canadian dollar and "monetary union" with the United States. Zeisman also states that "all new infrastructure spending should, of course, be based on the 'user pay' concept of revenue generation. Examples include road tolls, water and utility development fees, and user access charges." Perhaps most bizzare of all is his statement that he would strive to "abolish" the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, because this "American-style document represents the extreme tendency towards rationalism" and "flies in the face of every democratic virtue cherished by Canadians". It is clear that Zeisman is a dangerous right-wing ideologue, and it won't take long for voters to realize he's in politics because he craves the limelight.
25 10 05 M. Lunn
I actually I drove the riding not too long ago and stopped in Castlegar, Trail, and Nelson. Nelson was very much a hippie type town, more characteristic of the West Coast than the interior, while Castlegar and Trail are both heavily unionized. As for those who voting BC NDP voting Conservative federally, I am sure there are some, but anyone who follows politics knows full well the Conservatives would make just as deep a cuts as Gordon Campbell did if elected so it beats me why anyone who hates Gordon Campbell would go Conservative. I could see someone who hates Gordon Campbell going liberal federally since the federal liberals are more centrist, but not Conservative. The Conservatives might win this, but it will be close. Last time around, Jim Gouk would have lost his seat had it not been for the advanced polls. As for the new candidate, 95% of people vote strictly for the party as opposed to candidate, so the candidate will only matter if the Conservatives return to the levels they were polling at last election, which is unlikely considering how unpopular Stephen Harper is in BC. Also I don't think Stephen Harper's social conservatism and pro-war positions will sell well in a draft-dodger enclave and hippie enclave such as Nelson. There were crossover voters from the NDP to the Reform Party, but the Reform Party was a populist party, while the Conservatives are a very top down run party.
12 10 05 Someone in the know
For some reason, M. Lunn has seen fit to submit a posting that is barely changed in substance and tone from his June 1st note. Mr. Lunn, a lot has changed in the past four months! It might profit you to factor in, say, the fact that the BCSI Conservatives have chosen a new candidate for the next election, Derek Zeisman.
As they say in the mutual fund industry, "past performance is no guarantee." So what if the NDP won the riding consistently up until around my second birthday? And so what if they almost won last year? That's history.
Everything I know about this riding, which is a fair bit, indicates that a newly-invigorated base is rallying behind a newly-chosen candidate. They chose him by a margin that is incontestable and they did so in response to his message that the NDP and their standard bearer, Alex Atamanenko, can be beaten. During the course of the nomination campaign, BCSI Conservatives slowly switched from being what I would call depressed to energized and ready to fight.
This, coupled with the fact that Candidate Zeisman comes from Trail, a traditional rival of Atamanenko's Castlegar, bodes ill for the NDP. Atamanenko's dream of making inroads into the Okanagan will be hard to achieve when he is busy fighting fires in his own back yard. This race is already over.
06 10 05 Political Pundit
The last writer, M. Lunn, obviously does not live in BC Southern Interior. Although he's correct that the BC NDP won the Kootenay portion of the riding by a large margin earlier this year, he's really comparing apples and oranges. First, there is no real Conservative Party provincially (although many people would like to see one). Secondly, many of those who voted NDP provincially did so mainly because they detest the Gordon Campbell Liberals -- a feeling shared by a great many Conservatives in this riding. Finally, many provincial NDP voters have a history of voting Reform/Alliance/Conservative federally. Why? Simple -- federal and provincial issues are very, very different, and people respond by voting accordingly.
As for M. Lunn's opinion that the Conservatives are not a "populist" party, well, he's just plain wrong. The winner of the recently-concluded Conservative nomination race in BCSI, Trail resident Derek Zeisman, made it pretty clear during his campaign that he is a democratic "power to the people" populist, rather than some kind of right-wing ideologue (a typical anti-Conservative stereotype).
Zeisman is a former aide to sitting MP Jim Gouk, and a former Canadian diplomat and trade commissioner. He won the nomination handily on the first ballot, with 230 votes (54%), vs. 142 votes for Oliver resident Rob Zandee (33%) and 56 for Rossland resident Stephen Hill (13%). My overall impression is that Zeisman ran a pretty thoughtful, positive and well-organized campaign. He's lived in the riding on and off for more than a decade, so is fairly well known, particularly in the eastern region.
Zeisman is sure to give his competitors -- particularly the NDP -- a real run for their money. It seemed like he was everywhere at once during the nomination campaign -- he even doorknocked in my small town, and visited me at my door. I know from friends that he won quite a bit of support that way. Look for him to be a tireless campaigner between now and election day -- probably spring 2006, but I guess anything's possible. And the fact that he and Gouk are on good terms will undoubtedly provide Zeisman with lots of valuable advice, given the 12 years of experience (and 4 winning election campaigns) that Gouk has under his belt.
As a rule I'm not a betting man, but I'd be willing to wager a twenty on Zeisman. He and the Conservatives have lots of energy and ideas in them, and I think they're very much on the side of average working people and people of limited financial means (such as myself). Most of the anti-Conservative rants you hear and read are little more than tired, worn-out NDP propaganda.
17 09 05 M. Lunn
I am not sure the Conservatives will hold this one. They barely won it last time and provincially the NDP won the West Kootenays portion by a landslide. This went CCF/NDP every election up until 1974 when the PCs first narrowly won this riding and narrowly won it in 1979 and 1984. The Reform/Alliance party only did well here due to their populist appeal since the West Kootenays is a region where populism sells well, not due to their right wing policies. The Conservatives are no longer a populist party so their strength is limited to the Okanagan Valley portions which are Conservative, but the West Kootenays will go NDP as the NDP is now seen as the most populist party. If Preston Manning were the Conservative leader, this might be a safe Conservative riding, but Stephen Harper is not nearly as popular as Preston Manning.
16 09 05 Conservative for life.
The previous poster is far too judgemental. New candidates are going to slip from time to time its part of the learning process. Rob Zandee provides the Conservative party with a far more presentable image than the parachute candidate of Zeisman. The previous fellow is also wrong when he says the NDP has a chance of taking this riding... The Conservative campaign last time was on auto-pilot while the NDP campaign tried their absolute hardest and still couldnt get the job done.. If you add up the previous PC/CA votes they didn't equal out after the merger I suspect a lot of that had to do with the candidate being Mr. Gouk and am willing to bet that the old PC voters will have a much easier time voting for a new candidate than Mr Gouk.
Conservative win.
24 08 05 A Conservative in Oliver
This riding could go either way. However, which party will hold sway in this riding will not be decided in the next federal election. It will be decided much sooner. The Conservative Party in this riding is in the process of selecting its candidate for the next election. The members of the party will be the ones who determine whether the NDP or the Conservatives will win the next election, based on who they choose. From what I have read about and seen of the two candidates, Rob Zandee and Derek Zeisman, the NDP must be cheering on Mr. Zandee. He would be the dream opponent for their candidate, Alex Atamanenko.
For example, when asked a very simple, soft ball question on our community access channel (Southern Okanagan's Channel 18), Mr. Zandee rambled and blundered badly. He was asked why he was a Conservative. After throwing out the standard platitudes about "fiscal responsibility" and Canada not being "an entitlement society", he got to his real reason. He said, "The Conservative Party rewards those who work hard, and... well, I don't want to say punishes..."
My jaw dropped when he said that. One of many misperceptions of our party is that we are mean. Well, Mr. Zandee feeds into that. And mark my words, if Mr. Zandee wins the nomination contest, Mr. Atamanenko and his supporters will play that clip on TV and the radio. He'll mention it in speech after speech. And he'll clobber Zandee in any media exchanges or debates. Mr. Zeisman, while I have some misgivings about his shallow roots in this riding, offers a much better choice. He is better educated, has a much better resume, and is a much better communicator than Mr. Zandee. If he wins, we'll have a very strong chance of winning in the next election. If Zandee wins, the NDP wins.
26 07 05 W. D. Herridge
Alex Atamanenko, a 60-year-old retired school teacher, was recently acclaimed as the NDP candidate in BC Southern Interior. He was also the party's candidate in 2004, when the Conservatives won by a slim 700 vote margin.
Surprisingly, Atamanenko's nomination party was only attended by 50-odd people, despite the fact that it was held in Castlegar, the veritable heart of pro-NDP sentiment (at least provincially). This paltry number included a whole raft of NDP politicos, past and present, including both of the area's MLAs. Minus these diehards, the crowd was even smaller.
What does this say about NDP strength? Perhaps very little, given that the summer is not the best time to campaign. Still, I think those who are so sure of an NDP victory should temper their enthusiasm a bit, and take a hard look at the facts.
Quite a few people feel that Jim Gouk's retirement after four terms will help NDP fortunes. Although Jim was a well-known name around the riding, he was hardly a high-profile MP, even during election campaigns. And for every voter in the riding who voted Conservative specifically because of Jim, there were 1 or 2 others who refused to vote Conservative, again because of Jim. His detractors were at least as numerous as his followers.
Another observation that's frequently made is that disaffected Liberal votes go to the NDP over the Tories by a 2-to-1 ratio. If that is correct, then the ongoing resurrection of the Liberals in the polls, even around these parts, can only be interpreted as bad news for the NDP. The possibility of a stronger, more successful Liberal effort in the next election vs. 2004 is not going to draw votes to the NDP, but away from the party. It simply remains to be seen just how bad this bleeding turns out to be.
In short, the Conservatives may be going through a very rough patch right now (thanks in part to Mr. Harper's unpopularity), but it would be foolish to write the party off. Of course, much shall depend on the candidate chosen by the Tories to carry the torch in the coming campaign. Stay tuned.
05 07 05 Another Vancouverite
In 2004, Jim Gouk won by inertia. His campaign had pretty much zero as far as voter identification is concerned. No voter ID; no get out the vote. Wasn't much door-knocking, either. And Jim still won. My point? The NDP missed a once-in-a-generation chance to take this riding. The Conservatives I know in the riding are determined not to present this opportunity to the NDP ever again. Prediction: CPC by 3000.
28 06 05 RP.
Just in: Gouk not running again. I predict NDP gain.
16 06 05 A. Vancouverite
I'd agree with the previous poster about the assessment of the provincial ridings that largely make up this federal riding. The NDP absolutely crushed the BC Liberals in the recent provincial election winning the provincial constituencies by slightly over 60%. That being said they won't be able to hold all those votes when it comes to the federal election -- and will most likely bleed voters to the federal Liberals and federal Conservatives.
If an election were called right now I'd predict this riding would go to the NDP, as the Conservatives have stalled and lost a lot of ground recently, while the NDP is up from 16% to about 20% nationally. In fact there was a decima poll claiming they were only two points ahead of the NDP not to long ago! Nonethless we probably won't have an election till next year, at the very earliest it will be next fall. A lot can change in that time. If the Conservatives didn't have an incumbent MP I'd feel safer putting this into the NDP column, but they do have the incumbent and I'd like to wait until the campaign starts. Federally the voters are a bit more socially conservative than in urban BC which gives the Conservatives a chance. That being said the assesment that towns like Nelson are "hippie enclaves" is true as well. Jim Gouk isn't anywhere near as popular as Jim Abbot...but he still has some populist appeal from his Reform days that could save him. But if the NDP nominates a strong candidate...his days as an MP will surely be numbered.
16 06 05 Dionysus
While the eastern part of the riding has tended to vote NDP in the past, I don't believe that the voters as a riding will be so quick to return an NDP candidate. The riding stretches from manning park to kaslo, a pretty good day's drive if you ever get the chance. There are a myriad of issues in the riding, not the least of which are border closures to cattle, the softwood dispute and water issues. The voters of the riding know that the NDP is unable to push these issues because they are too absorbed in trying to gain seats in Ontario.
01 06 05 hatman
This riding covers a lot of area that went to the NDP provincially this year. Why they didnt win here in 2004 is beyond me, but the election was really tight. Bottom line is, this riding is NDP territory, just waiting to be claimed back. They will win this riding, by at least 1,500 votes. The Liberals will just fall deeper into third place.
01 06 05 M. Lunn
The Eastern half is strongly NDP as seen in the provincial election and those polls also went NDP in the last federal election. But the Conservatives are strong in the Western half, which went liberal provincially. Also the Eastern half was hard hit by the cuts so many federal liberals went NDP provincially and many Conservatives simply stayed home, whereas they won't federally. The NDP has a good chance at winning this, but it is not a guarantee.
28 05 05 Meighen
Like the phoenix rising from the ashes, the NDP resurrected itself here in 2004, coming in a close second. However, they failed to capture even as many votes as they received in the 1988 election (the last time they took the seat), despite the fact that the 2004 riding had over 10,000 more voters than the '88 version. This points to very limited growth potential on the part of the local Dippers. To make matters still worse for them, they command next to no support in the western half of the riding -- the area that has seen the strongest population growth in recent years (a trend that promises to continue). The Conservatives took a beating in the eastern (Kootenay) portion of the riding last year, but the collapse in Liberal support out there (partly due to Adscam, partly due to Gordo Campbell's hugely unpopular BC Liberals) promises to aid in improving Tory fortunes. In short: the 2005 election in Southern Interior will be close for the NDP, but no cigar. Or whatever other substance people like to smoke out there.
26 05 05 Mike D
This area is trending heavily towards the NDP. Check out the provincial NDP vote in places like Nelson, Castlegar and Trail, its well over 60%. What's more, the NDP will target this riding after regretting not putting enough resources into it last time.
22 05 05 S. Steele
This riding will remain solidly in the Conservative camp. Guided by the good voters of the Okanagan and Similkameen -- as well as saner voters in the Boundary and Kootenay regions -- the Tories will remain triumphant. The NDP came close last time, but has reached its high-water mark. Jack Layton's airy-fairy policies may go over well in downtown Toronto, but they won't sit well with average people in BC Southern Interior (or in the rest of rural Canada, for that matter).
11 05 05 Bear and Ape
Conservative MP owing a debt to Paul Martin #3
One of several Conservatives who won over the NDP last year because of Paul Martin's last minute "Harper is evil and scary" speach. We're really surprised that the Grand Council of Electoral Wise-Guys who run this site is predicting a Conservative victory. The NDP will target this riding, and there may be enough would-be NDP voters, who were convinced by Paul Martin's last minute appeal that Steven Harper is the Borg queen and he's out to assimilate them or something, that will return and send this riding orange. This one should be labelled too close to call.
08 05 05 koby
There is no reason why this riding should be in the Conservative column at this time. They won by only 680 votes. The NDP fortunes are looking up and I am predicting that they take a very tight race.
08 05 05 CJF
I have to say, I think this riding will finally go back to the NDP. Last time around the weak Conservative incumbant, Jim Gouk, won by only 680 votes over Alex Atamanenko (16,940 votes to 16,260), and I'm sure the NDP will now have targeted this as a "key" riding. With that, I can see some of the Liberal and Green voters going orange, and although some Grits will also go to the Conservatives, I think the NDP will edge this one out.
04 05 05 BLJ
The western end of the riding from Princeton to Keremeos and Oliver/Osoyoos in the South Okanagan eastward to Grand Forks is where the CPC has its strength, but is a smaller portion of the riding polls. The NDP has considerable strenght in Nelson, Trail, Rossland, and Castlegar, which lean centre-left provincially. A good possibility exists that the NDP will gain this seat considering the very close race in 2004.
04 05 05 M. Lunn
I think Jim Gouk might lose his seat this time around to the NDP. The riding can be easily divided between the western portions such as Osoyoos and Princeton which are generally conservative and the Eastern parts such as Nelson, Creston, and Trail, which tend to go NDP. Jim Gouk is a weak MP and despite being in the interior, Nelson is a former hippie haven that largely rejects the Conservatives' right wing policies. This was a strong CCF/NDP riding up until 1974, then went PC in 1974, 1979, and 1984, albeit by very narrow margins each time, while Reform Party narrowly won in 1993, won by a more comfortable margin in 1997 and 2000, but that was more due to its populist appeal and the unpopularity of the provincial NDP. Jim Gouk may still hold his riding, but don't assume that just because it is an interior riding that it will automatically go conservative.

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