It’s hard to believe, but there are only 12 days before the provincial election.

It’s even harder to believe that only three points separate the Liberals and the NDP in the latest poll. The NDP has done nothing to earn its strong showing, but the numbers don’t lie, right? Carole James is right up there, barking at the heels of the Sun King, although I dare you to list three things she believes in, or says she believes in.

If you are Premier Gordon Campbell and the Liberals, the campaign — which started with such promise — is going sideways, thanks to John Van Donkey and his traffic violations.

A wayward solicitor general trumps a naughty boy (NDP candidate Ray Lam and his creepy Facebook photos). So neither party holds the moral high ground. Hello? This is politics. If you’re looking for morality, go to church. Or maybe not.

The Liberals have wasted no time getting to the NDP’s soft spot: With the global economy in the tank, why would you revert to the NDP, which only made the last recession worse?

It’s a compelling argument, and if the NDP continues to hide in the weeds, it could work. Unless James is ready to make her case, I’m guessing we’re heading toward a reduced Liberal majority, or even (intriguingly) a minority.

If I were an NDP strategist (what a thought!), I might see the next 12 days as an opportunity to do more than hold my breath. Now is the time to do a Barack Obama and roll out a vision for B.C. that appeals to the besieged middle. With all due respect, conceding the economy to Campbell won’t work.

There are hundreds of thousands of people who are suffering in this economy. Nearly 70,000 have lost their jobs, and there are more job losses on the way. The NDP has advanced the idea of increasing the minimum wage to $10 an hour; the fact is it costs $16 an hour to live in this city?

An NDP vision that dares to talk positively about fairness and prosperity for all, not just undermining Gordon Campbell, might actually work. The same poll that puts the NDP so close to the Liberals has James seriously lagging behind Campbell on leadership of the economy (48 per cent to 16 per cent). Unless she’s prepared to stand up and be counted, the alternative is to let Campbell do all the work. And he’s good with that.

Latest From ...