And then there were none.
I’m referring, of course, to the lack of declared candidates for the soon-to-be-vacant post of leader of the B.C. NDP.
Two more would-be candidates have said they won’t be running. Rookie NDP MLA George Heyman, a former public sector union leader, says he won’t run for “deeply personal reasons.”
And federal NDP MP Kennedy Stewart from Burnaby pulled himself out (not that he was ever actually “in” though). Stewart is the third federal NDP MP to say no to running, which is probably just as well since their profile in the party can’t match that of a provincial MLA.
It’s a telling commentary on the sad state of the NDP that so many people have said no rather than yes when it comes to leading the party. Being the party leader doesn’t exactly bring with it glamour, fun or even a good chance of winning the next election.
So this leaves three — count ’em, three! – names still making the rounds. They are: veteran MLA Mike Farnworth (who narrowly lost to winner Adrian Dix in the last contest), Victoria MLA Rob Fleming and rookie MLA Dave Eby, who beat Premier Christy Clark in her own riding of Vancouver-Pt.Grey in the May election.
None of these names would appear to strike terror in the hearts of B.C. Liberals. They will surely try to paint both Farnworth and Fleming as “nice guys who aren’t leaders” and will try to label Eby as a left-wing flake (the “controversial” positions he took when he lead the B.C. Civil Liberties Association have the B.C. Liberals salivating at the thought of him becoming leader).
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No, the race to replace Adrian Dix is shaping up to be a lacklustre affair, which is perhaps fitting for a party that will need a long time to shake it’s “loser” image now engrained after that horrible (for them) election loss.
The one thing that could still shake things up is if veteran MLA John Horgan reconsiders and does indeed throw his hat into the ring. Horgan represents the industrial side of the party, Eby is the greenest candidate and Farnworth and Fleming are stuck in the middle, trying to have things both ways.
In fact, the issue of economic development is the one that will bedevil the NDP — not who seeks the leadership.
Do we allow mining, pipelines, fracking etc. to flourish, or do we shut them down? A lot of NDPers seem to side with the latter view, which may ultimately tear the party apart. And if that happens, it may not really matter who decides to run for leader.