Deadline looms for campaign to recall MLA Ida Chong

Though recall canvassers have one more weekend to reach their end goal of 15,368 verified signatures to oust MLA Ida Chong, the prospects of a successful campaign are looking slim.

At last count on Monday, recall proponent Michael Hayes said they had just passed the 8,000 signature mark.

“We’ve got a long fortnight ahead of us,” Hayes said of the monumental task of collecting another 7,000-plus signatures before Thursday’s deadline.

“We’re looking to see if there’s anything we can do to refine our canvassing techniques.”

But Dennis Pilon, a political science professor at the University of Victoria, said he doesn’t expect to see any miracles happen for petitioners over a one-weekend span.

“I really think this is going to take the wind out of their sails,” Pilon said of the recall campaign that’s supposed to soon extend into other ridings, namely Kamloops-North Thompson where Liberal MLA Terry Lake is targetted.

“It’s an important thing to know about politics: people will often train their fire on a policy (HST), but are less comfortable training it on an individual, especially someone who isn’t necessarily a key player or the author.”

He also says that despite election numbers leaning in their favour, choosing to recall the MLA from a “nice” riding like Oak Bay-Gordon Head backfired.

“No matter how mad Oak Bayers are, they’re still nice about it. The mob is out there (somewhere) with flaming torches, but (recall organizers) needed to find that riding because it’s not this one,” Pilon said.

Hayes said the 2,000 signatures-a-week pace set in December – when petitioners had 4,151 confirmed signatures after two weeks – slowed over Christmas and was never able to regain its footing.

At the halfway mark, the petitioners had collected less than 40 per cent of the required signatures, and currently sit at around 55 per cent of their target number.

“If everybody was home every time we knocked, we would’ve covered the entire constituency by now,” Hayes said.

kslavin@saanichnews.com