If Nathan Cullen has his way, the Skeena-Bulkley Valley campaign will be nothing but a two man race. In today's Daily Podunkian, the NDP candidate and current MP suggests that those followers of the Green Party and the Liberal Party should throw their towels into the NDP pile for this election campaign.
Cullen's fear is that the supporters of the other two parties will split the vote in separate directions, allowing Conservative candidate and former Reformer Mike Scott to reclaim the riding for the forces of the right. It's kind of the reverse theory that the Liberals (and a certain high profile union leader from Ontario) have been using in the rest of the country, where they urge staunch NDPers to abandon the sons and daughters of Douglas, Lewis and Woodsworth for the comfort zone of the ruling party.
Cullen is most likely correct in his analysis thus far, Scott probably would benefit from strong campaigns from the Green and Liberal candidates. But he may have to wait for that plan to come together. So far, it's been a rather invisible campaign for all concerned.
Only recently has Cullen opened up a storefront in Prince Rupert, taking over the offices formerly used by the Rendell for mayor campaign (one assumes an exorcism was held to rid the room of the bad vote count vibes). The Greenies, Libs and Conservatives have yet to make any kind of an appearance in the Rupert portion of the riding. It's as if this campaign has yet to officially get under way in the coastal regions.
With the exception of the usual finger pointing about the NDP candidate being too close to the environmentalists or the Conservative guy being in bed with the capitalists and big business barons, there's been precious little in excitement thus far on the north coast and places eastbound in this version of political survivor.
Perhaps there has been an unofficial agreement against outright politicking so far, as there's not much in the way of indication that an election is underway locally. Lawn signs those traditional billboards of political quest, have yet to be seen popping up amongst the Santa's, Angels and Nativity scenes around town. Newspapers too seem to be facing a shortage of election advertising so far, no half page appeals for common good, nor business cards of support solicited can be found to date.
As Christmas moves upon us fast, the local version of election 2006 will certainly not be the two phase project of other parts of Canada. Here in Skeena-Bulkley Valley it seems the real politicking is not to take place until after the Christmas Tree has come down and the last strain of Auld Lang Syne has drifted away.
The politicians had best hope that the electorate don't take that first line to heart as voting day comes up.