The Maple Ridge Teachers’ Association will be working to have Maple Ridge-Mission MLA Marc Dalton recalled, but the union says it did not organize the campaign.
“We’re involved in that. We’re going to support the initiative, but it’s not teacher-driven,” said MRTA president George Serra.
The union boss said Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows MLA Doug Bing could also be a target of a recall campaign.
A group of Maple Ridge and Mission residents is pushing for Dalton to be recalled, and will launch a spring drive for 15,000 voter signatures – 40 per cent of those in the riding – to send to Elections B.C. A successful result would force a by-election.
Mission teacher Yvonne Hale is a spokesperson for the group, and Serra allowed that there are other teachers involved. He said that through their job action, teachers “became very aware of the lack of representation that this community has.
“There’s a lot of teachers upset with this government’s direction on education funding.”
The MRTA will provide recall information to teachers, and they will likely be involved in canvassing for signatures, Serra added.
“It didn’t start with the teachers,” he said. “It’s a community drive.”
Bing, Liberal MLA for Pitt Meadows-Maple Ridge, is subject to a recall campaign is a matter of logistics, said Serra.
Collecting 15,000 signatures is a massive undertaking, and during a 2011 attempt to recall Dalton, the Maple Ridge Fight HST group only got 2,500.
Organizers want their undertaking to have a chance at success.
“You don’t go to Kelowna and try to recall Christy Clark.”
But Serra said Dalton, now sitting as an independent MLA while he seeks the federal Conservative nomination in the local riding, is seen as vulnerable to recall. He faced criticism for his comments in April 2014 that he didn’t see child poverty as a pressing issue in Canada. His recent decision to enter federal politics may also have disenfranchised even some of his local Liberal supporters.
Even if not successful, Serra maintains the effort is a worthwhile exercise in democracy. He noted the HST recall campaign contributed to having the tax repealed.
“Successful recall doesn’t have to recall your MLA,” he said.
“It’s a process that has to be used. What else is there? What else can you do to make them accountable?”