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.”

Just Posted

Tsunami warning issued for coastal British Columbia

Warning issued following 8.0 earthquake off Kodiak, AK

Red Cross Workers to visit Bella Coola January 23 – 25

Red Cross workers will be at the Moose Hall Jan 23-25 to meet one-on-one with individuals

Bella Coola to benefit from massive investment in coastal internet

A combined investment of $45.4 million will bring new and updated high-speed internet on the coast

Nearly $500,000 available for internships with First Nations government

Funds announced through partnership with Northern Development and Government of Canada

O’Reilly trial scheduled to start January 15 for Anahim Lake murders

O’Reilly is charged with first-degree murder

Testing the Google Arts & Culture app

Going face to face with art

VIDEO: Fuel truck and train collide in B.C. causing massive fire

More emergency crews are still arriving on scene of a massive fire at the Port Coquitlam rail yard.

Back to work: U.S. government shutdown ends after Democrats relent

Short-term spending measure means both sides could see another shutdown stalemate in three weeks

Man lives despite malfunctioning defibrillator at B.C. arena

A middle-aged man went into cardiac arrest after at game at Pitt Meadows Arena last Wednesday.

Cause of Northern B.C. seaplane crash released

TSB releases report on seaplane crash during a water landing in 2016 near First Nations community

Vancouver police crack down on pop-up pot vendors

Officers raided merchants’ tables on Robson Square late Sunday

Bell Media, NFL take appeal over Super Bowl ad rules to top court

At issue is a ban on substituting American ads with Canadian ones during the game’s broadcast

Crown seeks 4.5 years jail for B.C. woman convicted of counselling tax evasion

Debbie Anderson the latest from group to face jail for teaching debunked ‘natural person’ theory

UPDATE: Brother of B.C. teen killed by stray bullet says the death left a void

Alfred Wong, 15, was gunned down in Vancouver while on his way home from dinner with his family

Most Read