Residents of a new federal riding in Vancouver are receiving phone calls asking them if they'd vote for former B.C. premier Gordon Campbell were he to run for the federal Conservatives in that electoral district.
Mr. Campbell is currently Canada's High Commissioner to the United Kingdom. But his posting is up this year and he's expected to leave the job by the summer, which would leave him time to run for a federal election – expected to take place this October.
The former premier declined to comment on whether he's considering running in the riding of Vancouver-Granville when contacted through the High Commission in London.
He would be a star candidate for Stephen Harper, who's trying to win his fourth consecutive mandate this fall. Mr. Campbell got along exceptionally well with Mr. Harper when he was premier of British Columbia, enjoying one of the best premier-prime minister relationships at the time.
The centre-right Liberal Party of B.C., of which Mr. Campbell was a member, is not affiliated with the Liberal Party of Canada and is significantly closer to the federal Conservative Party in philosophy than its name would suggest.
Vancouver-Granville is a new riding that's been created as a result of the redrawing of boundaries that will be in effect for an expected 2015 federal election.
The Conservative Party has yet to hold a nomination contest there and one candidate running to carry the Tory banner is Jennifer Clarke, chair of the Coast Foundation Society, the operational arm of a non-profit society that assists people "recovering from a serious mental illness."
One Vancouver resident, Michael Groberman, who received a call January 7, said the caller ID listed a number associated with NRG Research Group, a market research firm with offices in Vancouver, Calgary and Winnipeg.
He said he was asked how he intended to vote and what he thought of "Conservative Gordon Campbell" or Liberal Jody Wilson-Raybould. Ms. Wilson-Raybould, an Assembly of First Nations British Columbia regional chief, is the Vancouver-Granville candidate for Justin Trudeau's party and was acclaimed to the position.
Mr. Groberman said the survey was conducted by a person rather than by an automated system and he was also asked his opinion of the NDP and Green candidates.
Dave Converse with NRG Research Group confirmed the company conducted the poll inside the boundaries of Vancouver-Granville and Gordon Campbell's name was included in the survey but declined to divulge for whom it was conducted or the purpose behind the research. "We don't discuss anything to do with our clients in the media," Mr. Converse said.
Political polling is conducted for a multitude of reasons and it's possible the Vancouver-Granville calls amount to speculative research designed to see what it would take to beat rival parties or for someone who wishes to try to convince Mr. Campbell or others to consider running.
The Conservative Party of Canada was also mum Wednesday. "We do not comment on rumours," spokesman Cory Hann said.