Horgan ready for leadership role

MLA John Horgan speaks of his leadership run

MLA John Horgan speaks of his leadership run

MLA John Horgan says he is in the NDP leadership horse race and he is “running as fast as I can on a muddy track.”

Horgan was one of the members of the caucus who stuck by former leader Carole James and did not fall prey to the dissension and upheaval the party is now facing.

“That was really important to me,” said Horgan. “Carole was elected by the party to be the leader not the caucus, and my responsibility was to support her — which I did.”

He said he grew up as a jock and being part of the team was paramount to the success of the team.

“James showed a lot of grace and made a selfless determination so we could see success and rebuild confidence with the community.”

He said he heard that the “free-rangers” (the dissenting members) were concerned that Carole James was not going to catch on in their communities.

“She didn’t resonate, they heard this and it became a reality.”

James, he said, was a consensus builder and her approach was not to be loud, which is great in government but not in opposition. He said she wasn’t forceful enough.

“I can be forceful and my preference is consensus as well,” said Horgan.

He went on to say that consensus building was not just an NDP problem but a challenge for all parties.

“The challenge is to just do your job, identify the problem, explain it and fix it.”

He said what he was going to try and do is make a different noise and make the community a better place for people who live here as everybody needs balance and cooperation.

Horgan has found support outside the environs of Vancouver Island and plans to head to the interior in the very near future to let other party members know who he is and what he stands for. He has been endorsed by MLAs Maurine Karagianis (Esquimalt-Royal Road), Scott Fraser (Alberni-Pacific Rim) and Kathy Corrigan (Burnaby-Deer Lake). He said he can get along with all levels of government and people outside the NDP party. He wants to build the type of government that meets the needs of everyone. The leadership convention will take place on April 17.

“I have got to convince the majority of NDP members that we have the best chance of winning the election,” he said. “My plan is to try to be that middle candidate and be successful on the final ballot. I think I’m well positioned as a moderate in the NDP.”

The biggest hurdle in the election horse race for the NDP is to re-establish credibility as a group who can govern.

“Carole James slipped down and left a lot of people scratching their heads, we went after each other in a public way.”

Horgan feels he has what it takes to bring the party together and to lead.

“The reason I think I’m different from the other bears in the circus is I can talk to anyone anytime. The confrontation needs to come to an end. The fact that two parties are dying at the same time is an opportunity for the public to kick the tires.”

Running for the leadership was not a given as Horgan said there were locals who didn’t want him to run. He said the concern was that he would become so prominent and he might be marginalized.

“I’m not going to change whether I’m successful or not,” said Horgan. “If I do form the government I’ll reach out to the opposition.”

What is most important though, said Horgan is to get people to the ballot box. He said there is an apathy these days and the feeling from some people that if you don’t vote for the government you won’t “get anything.”

He said the NDP is ready to run with a good slate of MLAs. He said there is no shortage of talent, it’s a team effort and the common purpose will reunite the NDP.

“The public is ready to be rid of the current crowd,” stated .