BC NDP leadership hopeful John Horgan’s juggernaut clearly unnerved Coquitlam MLA Mike Farnworth – whose dreams of being the party leader were shattered after the mass signups of Adrian Dix’s camp led to his defeat in the 2011 leadership campaign in spite of the fact that he was the most popular NDP contender with British Columbians.
Farnworth was clearly unprepared for the momentum that Horgan’s election machine garnered as he first won support from as many as 15 MLAs, including South Asian MLAs Harry Bains (Surrey-Newton) and Raj Chouhan (Burnaby-Edmonds), and then went on to gain the support of
Coquitlam-Maillardville MLA Selina Robinson, former Port Moody-Coquitlam MLA Joe Trasolini, former interim B.C. NDP leader Dawn Black and New Westminster-Coquitlam and Port Moody MP Fin Donnelly – and that was on Farnworth’s turf.
Farnworth’s campaign crumbled like a house of cards and on Tuesday he announced he was out of race.
It appears that Farnworth’s organizational skills were lacking – or had he become too complacent when Horgan announced that he had decided not to run?
Also, it seems that NDP party members were looking for a younger face, but with some political experience that MLA David Eby was lacking. That’s why they managed to convince Horgan to enter the race.
After all, Horgan made a surprisingly strong show in the last leadership election and those who didn’t like Farnworth started pressuring him to run when all the others who had been expected to enter the race, backed out.
In the last leadership contest, Harry Lali and Jagrup Brar supported Farnworth, while Dix had the backing of Harry Bains. MLA Raj Chouhan remained neutral. Lali and Brar lost in the last election.
HORGAN said on Tuesday: “Mike Farnworth is a great MLA. He has done so much for our party and our province,” said Horgan. “I am grateful for his support, and the support of so many members of our caucus, as we build a team that will earn the votes of British Columbians in 2017 and make life better for all B.C. families.”
Farnworth said: “John and I share a commitment to ensuring that our party is focused on providing a progressive alternative to the B.C. Liberals that can gain the confidence of voters. There’s too much at stake for us to be distracted and I’m proud to stand with John to ensure that the B.C. NDP is united and ready to win in 2017.”
Horgan, who in the past three weeks had visited New Democrats in B.C.’s interior, northern Vancouver Island, Vancouver and Victoria’s suburbs, said: “Everywhere I go I hear from New Democrats that they want us to be united, strong and proud of who we are and what we represent. And most importantly, they want us to build a team that can and will win in 2017. Today is a major step forward in that effort.”
Horgan said that he was taking nothing for granted, and that he would continue his campaign to bring real leadership for all of BC, with stops in Vancouver, Merritt, Kamloops, Nanaimo, the Okanagan and the Kootenays in the weeks ahead.
LAST January, the NDP had announced that their new leader would be announced at an event on September 28 in Vancouver following a four-day voting period.
Leadership voting has been scheduled from September 24-27, with party members voting by preferential ballot ahead of September 28. The party’s chief electoral officer will tabulate the results on September 28, and the winner will be announced at an event that evening. Members will cast their ballots using a telephone and Internet voting system.
The deadline to become a member of the BC NDP in order to vote is June 26. British Columbians can join the party by visiting bcndp.ca/join.
But now there may be no need for an election – unless, of course, someone decides to challenge Horgan after all this!
BY RATTAN MALL