Urban members dominate NDP vote

NDP leadership candidates Adrian Dix

NDP leadership candidates Adrian Dix

VICTORIA – The B.C. NDP is completing its first one member-one vote leadership contest on Sunday, with as many as three quarters of its members coming from the populous southwest corner of the province.

That’s the system the B.C. Liberal Party changed for its vote in February, in an effort to balance influence beyond Metro Vancouver and southern Vancouver Island. And Education Minister George Abbott, who pushed for that change as a leadership candidate, says the NDP’s decision will come back to haunt it.

“I think they’ve sold people from rural and northern British Columbia short by not moving to a weighted vote system,” Abbott said in an interview Tuesday. “If a half a dozen ridings end up determining who wins the leadership of the party, it may give them some pause, I think, to consider whether to look at this in the future.”

NDP leadership front-runner Mike Farnworth estimates that of the party’s 28,000 members, there are about 5,000 in Vancouver, 7,000 in Surrey, another 2,000 in the suburbs north of the Fraser River and 7,000 on Vancouver Island.

That’s a distribution of NDP members that roughly reflects the population of B.C., and the party will probably review the one member-one vote system at its next convention, he said.

“And I’m sure constituencies from rural B.C. will weigh in with their perspective,” Farnworth said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if we get resolutions saying, let’s go to a weighted system. I wouldn’t be surprised if you get resolutions saying go to a regional system.”

Two rural contenders for the NDP leadership, Fraser-Nicola MLA Harry Lali and Powell River-Sunshine Coast MLA Nicholas Simons, both dropped out when they decided they couldn’t compete with the membership clout of rural candidates.

Vancouver-Kingsway MLA Adrian Dix caused a stir when he brought in thousands of new memberships at the deadline for voting in the leadership contest.

The NDP hosted a series of debates in every region of the province except the northeast, where the party has never had substantial voter support. And Farnworth said rural policies such as his proposal for an expanded northern development trust are what count.

“At the end of the day it’s the person you choose,” Farnworth said. “You can have an idiot elected from Fort St. John and just because they’re from rural B.C. doesn’t mean they’re going to be a particularly good premier. Likewise, you could have somebody from Vancouver who might not be that good a leader in terms of even dealing with urban issues.”

Just Posted

FILE – Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, takes part in an event on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous Peoples Day must be a ‘call to action’, says Assembly of First Nations chief

Discovery of children at Kamloops residential school site must lead to change, Perry Bellegarde says

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Over 5K jabbed at Interior Health mobile COVID-19 vaccine clinics

The clinics have made stops in more than 40 communities since launching last week

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Interior Health COVID-19 cases falling slower than the rest of B.C.

More than a third of provincial cases announced Thursday came from the Interior

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Second dose vaccinations accelerating throughout region: Interior Health

To date, more than 675,000 doses have been administered throughout the region

Okanagan Lake (File photo)
Thompson-Okanagan ready to welcome back tourists

The Thompson-Okanagan Tourism Association expects this summer to be a busy one

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Chilliwack secondary school’s principal is apologizing after a quote equating graduation with the end of slavery in the U.S. was included in the 2020-2021 yearbook. (Screenshot from submitted SnapChat)
B.C. student’s yearbook quote equates grad to end of slavery; principal cites editing error

Black former student ‘disgusted’ as CSS principal apologizes for what is called an editing error

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross. (Photo by Peter Versteege)
BC Liberal leadership candidate condemns ‘senseless violence’ of Okanagan church fires

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross says reconciliation isn’t about revenge for past tragedies

A coroner’s inquest will be taking place at the Capitol Theatre in Port Alberni for the next week. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Teen B.C. mom who died following police custody recalled as ‘friend to many’

Police sent Jocelyn George to hospital after intoxication had gone ‘beyond the realm’ of normal detox

FILE - In this Nov. 29, 2020, file photo, Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta. Nassib on Monday, June 21, 2021, became the first active NFL player to come out as gay. Nassib announced the news on Instagram, saying he was not doing it for the attention but because “I just think that representation and visibility are so important.” (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
Nassib becomes first active NFL player to come out as gay

More than a dozen NFL players have come out as gay after their careers were over

Penticton Indian Band Chief Greg Gabriel speaks to the Sacred Hearts Catholic Church burning down early Monday morning, June 21, 2021. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Penticton band chief condemns suspicious burning of 2 Catholic churches

Both Catholic church fires are deemed suspicious, says RCMP

COVID-19 daily cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day moving average to June 17, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections drop to 90 on Sunday, 45 Monday

Pandemic spread dwindles as 77% of adults receive vaccine

By protesting uninvited in First Nations’ territories, conservationists are acting in a neocolonial or paternalistic manner, says Huu-ay-aht Chief Robert Dennis. Photo by Heather Thomson
A closer look: do Vancouver Island First Nations support the war in the woods?

First Nations/environmentalist old growth alliance uneasy, if it exists at all

A blood drive in support of 1-year-old Rielynn Gormley of Agassiz is scheduled for Monday, June 28 at Tzeachten First Nation Community Hall in Chilliwack. Rielynn lives with type 3 von Willebrand disease, which makes it difficult for her to stop bleeding. (Screenshot/Canadian Blood Services)
Upcoming blood drive in honour of Fraser Valley toddler with rare blood condition

The Gormley family has organized a blood drive in Chilliwack on June 28

Most Read