I’m just wild about Harry.

Sorry, couldn't resist saying that.

And no, I am not, as my friend Les Leyne of the Victoria Times Colonist suggests, on the verge of becoming "Harry Lali's Pamela Martin."

But I did want to offer brief commentary on the race for the New Democratic Party leadership having finally acquired a candidate with profile.

Not all of it positive, by any means.

Harry Lali's uninhibited comments have sometimes gotten him into trouble over the years.

As the CBC's Jeff Davies noted this week, the veteran NDP MLA once had to apologize in the legislature for describing the RCMP raid on  Premier Glen Clark's house back in 1999  as a "home invasion."

But there is a measure of affection for Lali on both sides of the legislature and not just because he is a snappy dresser, once described as "the honourable member for Harry Rosen."

First of all he doesn't take himself too seriously.  He can bring a lighter touch to the most unlikely situations.

For instance, during the bitter debate over the harmonized sales tax last spring, he had MLAs on both sides of the house laughing with his lambasting of Finance Minister Colin Hansen.

Excerpt:  "You better go out right now and buy your tar and feathers because if you do after July 1  (HST implementation day) the minister of finance, he's going to tax you 12 per cent to buy the tar and feathers."

And Lali is the first to acknowledge that he sometimes says things for effect.

He once called me a "jackal." In Punjabi yet.

When I mentioned this, he fired back — "yeah, yeah, that was great, eh? I called you a name and you didn't even know what I was calling you."

On a more serious note, MLAs on both sides respect how he's been able to win and retain his seat through the better part of two decades.

As Lali noted in an interview with Mike Smyth on CKNW this week, his current riding of Fraser-Nicola and his former riding of Yale Lilooet (the electoral boundaries have changed but the territories overlap) are for the most part surrounded by communities and ridings that elect B.C. Liberals today and Social Crediters before that.

He apparently speaks for a significant portion of his local electorate, including, presumably, some who are prepared to overlook his uninhibited and politically incorrect comments and some who admire them.

Plus, as New Democrats would be the first to acknowledge, he doesn't spare his own party in his freewheeling criticisms.

He was, of course, one of the Baker's Dozen, the motley of dissidents  who drove out  Carole James as party leader  last fall.

In announcing he would seek the leadership Thursday,  he declared several times that he is not the candidate of the party establishment.

I'll say.

 

 

 

 

About the author

Comments are closed.

Powered by WordPress | Deadline Theme : An AWESEM design