EDITORIAL: Endorsements like window dressing

Keeping track of who supports who in the provincial politics leadership race is like watching hockey scores in January.

Whether it’s former NDP leader Joy MacPhail endorsing Adrian Dix, as happened last week, or Liberal leadership hopefuls Christy Clark, George Abbott and Kevin Falcon jostling to get people in their corners, political endorsements mean little to us.

Unless they are a political junkie or a voting member of either party, most people are really only interested in how they’ll be personally affected by a new premier and opposition leader.

In many ways it seems a fool’s game, this courting of support by candidates and flaunting of endorsements from current and past MLAs, business leaders and other high-profile individuals and organizations.

But isn’t that one of the key tenets of politics – the creation of relationships that may help the candidate and/or the party/government down the road?

It’s not surprising that the six Liberal candidates, four of whom are in cabinet, have made a splash lately upon adding a name to their lists. Unlike the NDP, whose membership deadline has passed, Liberal leadership candidates have until 5 p.m. Friday (Feb. 4) to sign up new members. Doing so enhances their chances of becoming the next premier – a job with much more cachet than opposition leader.

We can expect plenty of fireworks over the next few days. Clark has just one endorsement from a current MLA yet leads the polls among committed party members. She has pulled out the stops, posting a membership deadline clock on her website like some soon-to-expire eBay deal.

As with mid-season hockey scores, the declaration of allegiances means little to the average political fan. We’re waiting for playoff time – the Feb. 26 Liberal leadership convention; April 17 for the NDP – when the games actually mean something and the action gets interesting.

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