It is not every day you hear a politician actually speak his or her mind that is unless we are talking about Harry Lali. When Harry Lali threw his hat into the ring for the leadership of the BC NDP no one was really surprised as Lali was a member of the “Bakers Dozen” that publicly opposed Carole James’ leadership and after James stepped down Lali made no bones about it. He was considering making a run for the top job.
Say what you want about Lali, but even my most conservative of friends have said to me that the one thing you can count on with Harry is that he says what he thinks. Like him or not, I have always found that Lali will usually say what others are thinking but won’t say in public. When Lali made his announcement speech he made headlines across the province for some of the things he said, but I believe that his underlying message of change was missed by most in the media while they were attempting to sell some print.
The media mainly focused on Lali’s claim to want to bring white males back into the party or to take the power of the party out of the urban elite, although a lot of his comments made not only the average voter shake his head. He has upset a lot of people within the New Democratic Party. What most people have seemed to miss or chose to ignore is that this is a leadership race for the party, not for the premier’s seat, and I hate to tell the NDP, but that seat is not theirs until they have come up with a clear plan for the province’s future and how they actually plan on getting there. Lali has said some very truthful things about the New Democratic Party in BC and whether the party or the members like to admit it, most people, not even long-time supporters, have any idea what the NDP stands for anymore.
I know I may take some heat from the left over comments like this, but while the BC Liberals and the other conservative movements have been solidifying their base, the NDP have been drifting from the left to centre in a desperate attempt to gain moderate, independent and discontented voters. Some think that after the BC Liberals’ HST fiasco the NDP was going to just walk into the next election and the people of BC were going to just hand over the keys to the Legislature without even thinking twice about it. The members of the NDP thought the same thing during the last provincial election and they could not pull it off.
While everyone is focused on a few comments made by Harry Lali that seem to be out in left field, have you considered who the NDP represents anymore? James did her best to move the party away from their largest supporters, organized labour. Urban issues have taken over the dialogue while rural BC is facing school and hospital closures, rural infrastructure is falling apart. If Lali’s candidacy has done nothing other than start a real dialogue about how politics in this province is conducted, then in my books he has succeeded.