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It's not easy selecting candidates: Political scientist

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – A political scientist at UBC says the resignation of the NDP candidate underscores how difficult it is for parties to select suitable people.

The NDP candidate for Kelowna-Mission has quit after getting slammed for comments she made about First Nations.

“The whole nomination process is very opaque,” says Max Cameron.

“And a lot of candidates don’t know what they’re getting into when they throw their name in for the nomination,” he explains.

Cameron says nomination processes don’t always work well to vet candidates.

“The fact that social media has become increasingly wide-spread is a real problem. We’re finding out after candidates have been nominated, for example, that they have taken strange positions on a range of issues.”

“And this only comes to light after they’ve achieved the nomination.”

When it comes to controversial statements that have found their way online, a simple Google check should catch at least some unsuitable candidates. Cameron says the fact that some people slip threw the nomination process is a symptom of a larger issue.

“Parties are increasingly PR vehicles for candidates rather than real powerful organizations with meaningful constituency associations, and deep links to the society,” he says.

“Instead, what you have is often a scramble at the last minute for nominations, a very unprofessional and non-transparent process.”

“People are selected, and only afterwards do people kind of figure out who they’ve chosen.  We’ve seen this at all levels of government.”

It’s not just the NDP searching for a new candidate. The Liberals did not manage to put together a full slate before the writ dropped.

The governing party is still looking for a candidate in a riding on Vancouver Island.