Harry Lali is standing as the NDP nominee in Fraser-Nicola.

Harry Lali is standing as the NDP nominee in Fraser-Nicola.

Harry Lali not preferred NDP candidate in Fraser-Nicola

NDP leader John Horgan favours Lower Nicola Band chief Aaron Sam, but the party has signed Lali's nomination papers.

Provincial NDP leader John Horgan has made it clear that four-time NDP MLA Harry Lali is not the party’s preferred nominee in the Fraser-Nicola riding.

Lali announced in May 2016 that he would be seeking the nomination (“Harry Lali to seek NDP nomination”, The Journal, May 19). “I never really left provincial politics,” he said, adding “I always speak my mind, and my heart. If I don’t agree with something, even in my own party, I’ll come out and say it.”

In December 2016, Lower Nicola Band chief Aaron Sam announced he would also be seeking the NDP nomination (“Chief Aaron Sam running for NDP nomination in Fraser-Nicola”, The Journal, December 8). The 43-year-old Sam, a lawyer, told The Journal that he had been approached by the NDP to run. “I’m passionate about helping people, listening to them, and finding collaborative solutions to address the issues we have in common.

Following Sam’s announcement, Lali told The Journal “Now it’s up to the membership to decide if they want an experienced hand who knows his way around parliament and bureaucracy and knows how to get things done. Do they want a proven hand, or a novice? I have a lengthy record of achievement for all communities in Fraser-Nicola. If the NDP wants to win this seat again, I’m the best choice to do so.”

However, it appears that NDP leader John Horgan does not agree. Speaking with reporters in the press gallery in Victoria last week, Horgan was asked “Have you been involved in any efforts to persuade Harry Lali to drop out of the race in Fraser-Nicola?”

The NDP leader said “I spoke to Harry about the prospects in the constituency. I told him of the desire of a First Nations leader to participate. We had a frank discussion and that was the end of it.”

The reporter followed up with “You didn’t try to persuade him to drop out?” Horgan replied, “We talked about whether or not Harry was the best candidate for the job. Harry believes he is and Harry’s running.”

When asked if Horgan had offered Lali anything to drop out of the race, the NDP leader answered “I did not. I talked to him about the new candidate in the region who is young, dynamic, and someone who would be a new representative for the region. I talked to Harry, he said he’d think about it, he came back and said he wanted to run.”

No date has been set for the NDP nomination in Fraser-Nicola. The provincial election is on May 9.