JUAN de Fuca MLA John Horgan launched his bid for the B.C. NDP leadership Monday night in Langford in his home constituency with former NDP leader Carole James, MLA for Victoria-Beacon Hill, introducing him.
Horgan said he is running to be leader because B.C. needs real leadership to make life better for all British Columbians, something that B.C. isn’t getting from the B.C. Liberals.
“Real leadership is about working together for a strong and sustainable economy, and creating opportunities and good jobs in all parts of our great province,” said Horgan. “Real leadership isn’t empty slogans.”
“John Horgan is the leader who is ready to win in 2017. He knows and loves this province. He is a straight shooter and a team builder,” said James. “His passion and energy will hold the Liberals accountable until we replace them with an NDP government that will make life better for B.C. families.”
Horgan said that his campaign would draw sharp contrasts between his desire for a stronger province for all British Columbians and Premier Christy Clark’s narrow approach.
“Premier Clark has one of the worst job creation records in the country, she is failing children in schools and seniors in care, yet is piling on debt faster than any Premier in Canada’s history,” said Horgan. “That’s not leadership.”
Neighbouring Vancouver Island MLAs, NDP Caucus Whip Maurine Karagianis, MLA for Esquimalt-Royal Roads, and Bill Routley, NDP Deputy Forest Critic and MLA for Cowichan Valley, joined Horgan and James on-stage.
Horgan said that over the past weeks, he has heard from many veteran and young New Democrat leaders, urging him to run as B.C. NDP leader.
Team Horgan will be co-chaired by David Eby, MLA for Vancouver Point Grey, and Michelle Mungall, MLA for Nelson-Creston.
“I am one of those younger MLAs who told John that we need to build a diverse team around a leader who knows the whole province and can reach out to British Columbians from north to south, east to west,” said Mungall. “John gets it. He will be a Premier for all British Columbians.”
“It meant a lot this fall when John Horgan made room for newer MLAs like me to seek the leadership,” said Eby. “Now, as an expectant father, what’s most important to me is that we have a strong leader to build a better British Columbia for BC families, and that leader is John Horgan.”
NDP Leader Adrian Dix appointed Bruce Ralston, MLA for Surrey-Whalley and Critic for International Trade, Immigration and Multiculturalism, to replace Horgan as the new house leader for the Official Opposition.
Horgan, who was named the New Democrat house leader in Spring 2011, will continue his role as the opposition’s energy critic. He, along with finance critic and leadership contender Mike Farnworth, will also continue to serve on the caucus house management committee.
THREE weeks ago, Farnworth, MLA for Port Coquitlam, officially announced his candidacy.
Last January, the NDP announced that their new leader would be announced at an event on September 28 in Vancouver following a four-day voting period.
“We have set in place rules for a modern, fair, one-member one-vote leadership election,” said BC NDP President Craig Keating.
Leadership voting will take place 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.
NDP MLAs have told me that they will decide who to support after looking at “what it takes to win the next election.”
Farnworth was blindsided in the last leadership contest because of mass sign-ups by Adrian Dix’s camp.
Polls during the last contest showed that Farnworth had the most support among voters and if he had been elected the leader instead of Dix, many believe he would have been the premier today.
In the last leadership contest, Farnworth had the support of South Asian MLAs Harry Lali and Jagrup Brar, while Dix had the backing of Harry Bains. MLA Raj Chouhan remained neutral.
Horgan made a surprisingly strong show in the last leadership election and those who don’t like Farnworth have been pressuring him to run.