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

UVic students return from Hong Kong amidst growing tension

All eight University of Victoria exchange students have returned to Canada

ICBC, province urge residents to plan ahead for winter weather

Greater Victoria should gear up and have a plan in place

Sooke mom launches GoFundMe campaign to get medical treatment for son

Single mother has two children facing medical challenges

65-million-year-old triceratops makes its debut in Victoria

Dino Lab Inc. is excavating the fossilized remains of a 65-million-year-old dinosaur

VIDEO: ‘Climate emergency’ is Oxford’s 2019 Word of the Year

Other words on the shortlist included ‘extinction,’ ‘climate denial’ and ‘eco-anxiety’

12 Sooke events to get you into the holiday spirit

From a Santa parade to classicial music, Sooke has it all

Canucks erupt with 5 power-play goals in win over Nashville

Vancouver ends three-game slide with 6-3 triumph over Predators

Nanaimo man caught with more than 200,000 child porn images to be sentenced

Crown says Aaron Macrae recorded video of children on buses and at his workplace

Vancouver Island hunters may have harvested deer in area known for chronic wasting disease

Conservation officers make urgent request to public for any information

B.C. widow suing health authority after ‘untreatable’ superbug killed her husband

New Public Agency Health report puts Canadian death toll at 5,400 in 2018

Changes to B.C. building code address secondary suites, energy efficiency

Housing Minister Selina Robinson says the changes will help create more affordable housing

Security guard at Kamloops music festival gets three years for sexually assaulting concertgoer

Shawn Christopher Gray walked the woman home after she became seperated from her friends, court heard

Most Read