Urban members dominate NDP vote

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.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Guilty verdict for one of two men in large illegal marijuana grow-operation in Chilliwack

Charges dismissed against property owner where 3,200 plants, 32 kgs of dried weed found in 2017

Cubs rescued, hunter fined after sow shot in Skagit Valley

Officers opt for fines, as hefty punishment could prevent hunter cooperation in future

95-site RV camping to be built in Manning Park

RV park one of first to be built in a provincial park

Search continues for person seen floating in Coquihalla River in Hope

Rescuers halted the search Thursday night as darkness fell

Missing Chilliwack woman has not been in contact with family for several months

The RCMP are asking for the public’s help in locating 35-year-old Chantelle Chenier of Chilliwack

PHOTOS: B.C.’s top doc picks up personalized Fluevog shoes, tours mural exhibition

Murals of Gratitude exhibit includes at least one portrait of Henry alongside paintings of health-care workers

Langley vigil demands justice for Ontario animal activist killed protesting in front of slaughterhouse

More than two dozen people gathered at Britco Pork to remember Regan Russell, and fight Bill 156

In troubled times: Independence Day in a land of confusion

Buffeted by invisible forces and just plain worn out, the United States of America celebrates its 244th birthday

Stop enforcing sex work laws during COVID-19, advocates say

There are provisions in Canada’s prostitution laws that make workers immune from prosecution, but not from arrest

Liberal party finished 2019 having spent $43 million, raised $42 million

All political parties had until midnight June 30 to submit their financial reports for last year

B.C. teacher loses licence after sexual relationships with two recently-graduated students

The teacher won’t be allowed to apply for a teaching certificate until 2035

White-throated sparrows have changed their tune, B.C. study unveils

Study marks an unprecedented development scientists say has caused them to sit up and take note

Greater Vancouver home sales start to tick up, with prices holding steady

Residential sales last month reached 2,443, a 64.5 per cent jump from May

Most Read