To the editor:
On Sunday, April 21, I attended a town hall event for the B.C. NDP in Vernon with my friend Geoff, a B.C. Liberal organizer.
At the time I was volunteering for the (NDP Mike) Nuyen’s campaign in Kelowna-Lake Country, far and away the volunteer with the most hours spent on the campaign.
Before heading down to the event I’d been asked by the candidate to stop attending events with Geoff (I had attended one other with him). In order to assuage the candidate’s concerns I agreed to his request with the exception of this last town hall event as I had already made arrangements to drive Geoff.
About half way through (NDP premier candidate Adrian) Dix’s speech, a member of the leader’s tour walked past where we were standing (against the bar in the back, behind the media) and glared at me.
Immediately after making this pass he returned to stand about three feet directly in front of me, presumably to block my view of Mr. Dix. At first he was only partially obstructing my view, but it was evident that someone was giving him audio instruction (via his earpiece) and after shifting his place multiple times, and then turning around to see exactly where I was standing, he managed to place himself directly in my view.
We’ll say four minutes after he began this activity he departed.
Maybe 10 minutes later he returned to stand about two feet directly in front of me, and after another pair of minutes he turned to demand I remove my Nuyens button, physically tapping the button in the process.
I politely obliged him and proceeded to ignore him as I had throughout until he left for the final time about two minutes later.
After the event I felt both dumbfounded and degraded.
After sleeping on it I sent a letter outlining my experience to three local New Democrats: The president of the Kelowna-Lake Country riding association, the candidate, and a party v-p. I explained how I found this sort of bullying to be unacceptable and that I expected an apology and notice of disciplinary action taken by the party regarding the individual who harassed me, otherwise I would leave the campaign in two days.
The v-p responded to say she was too busy at the time to address my concerns.
The president of the riding association sent me a short response that suggested I apologize to the candidate for keeping company with Liberals despite their demands to the contrary.
I’ve subsequently left the campaign and to this day I’ve yet to hear any response from the leader’s tour, be it perceived justification or apology.
Coincidentally, the last time I visited the provincial legislature, last May, the New Democrats were taking the government to task for their lacklustre response to bullying. The hypocrisy is breathtaking.
Andrew S. Powell,