SOUTH Asian MLAs Harry Bains (Surrey-Newton) and Raj Chouhan (Burnaby-Edmonds) are in John Horgan’s camp in the BC NDP leadership race.
Will this translate into mass signups of South Asians for Horgan the way it did for Adrian Dix, who although winning the leadership race ended up being beaten by the Liberals under Christy Clark? Dix lost a whopping 20-point lead, which many believe would not have happened if Mike Farnworth, the runner-up in the last race, had been elected leader. Polls also showed that he was the most popular NDP candidate in the race at the time.
Will history repeat itself? It will be interesting to see how the leadership race shapes up and also who most British Columbians think should be the next NDP leader.
Horgan made a surprisingly strong show in the last leadership election and those who don’t like Farnworth had been pressuring him to run.
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’S caucus support reached 15 on Sunday with 10 more MLAs supporting his bid, according to a press release by his camp.
Horgan told a New Westminster rally that real leadership takes a strong and diverse team that can connect with British Columbians across the whole province.
He said: “I am incredibly grateful for the support and encouragement from this group of talented and committed colleagues and the growing number of New Democrats throughout the province. They are a reflection of the diversity of our province. Together, we will offer British Columbians real leadership for all B.C. to replace Premier Clark and her empty slogans.”
He added: “Real leadership isn’t a jobs plan that delivers the worst job creation record in Canada. Real leadership is setting ambitious and achievable goals for better jobs, education, health care and environmental protection, and bringing British Columbians together to achieve those goals.”
“From building new schools to developing an economy that creates good family-supporting jobs, from tackling crime to improving rapid transit, I know John gets the challenges facing our province,” said Bains in endorsing Horgan.
“John gets the issues that matter to working families here in Surrey,” said Surrey-Green Timbers MLA Sue Hammell. “Plus, he can passionately and persuasively communicate the NDP’s values and point of view to all British Columbians.”
FARNWORTH officially announced his candidacy four weeks ago.
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.
B.C. NDP MLAs now supporting John Horgan’s leadership bid:
Robin Austin, Skeena
Harry Bains, Surrey-Newton
Raj Chouhan, Burnaby-Edmonds
Judy Darcy, New Westminster
Kathy Corrigan, Burnaby-Deer Lake
David Eby, Vancouver-Point Grey
Mable Elmore, Vancouver-Kensington
Scott Fraser, Alberni-Pacific Rim
Sue Hammell, Surrey-Green Timbers
Carole James, Victoria-Beacon Hill
Maurine Karagianis, Esquimalt-Royal Roads
Michelle Mungall, Nelson-Creston
Bill Routley, Cowichan Valley
Jane Shin, Burnaby-Lougheed
Claire Trevena, North Island
BY RATTAN MALL