Tag Archives: ndp

BC NDP Environmental Leadership Debate

There’s still 2 weeks left in the BC NDP’s Leadership Race, but after watching the environmental debate yesterday, I think I’ve made up my mind. All 5 candidates were really impressive, and my opinion of each improved after watching them talk about environmental issues. I’m really happy to see the NDP focusing on the environment. They lost my vote last election because they abandoned the issue, but now seem to have realized their mistake. All five candidates had similar policy but brought different leadership qualities.

Mike Farnworth – most honest and thoughtful. I liked that he admitted the NDP made a huge mistake when they opposed the carbon tax. Seemed to have a good sense of what the party needed to do to connect with voters.
Dana Larsen – most activist and radical. He brought the most original ideas and delivered them with a no-nonsense, rabble rouser approach.
Nicholas Simons – most compassionate. He’s in politics because he truly wants to make a difference. Whenever he finished talking, you felt like giving him a hug.
Adrian Dix – most aggressive and knowledgeable. Was able to quote facts and figures off the top of his head. Really wants to go after Christy Clark and is itching for a fight.
John Horgan – most eloquent, funny, and personable. He won over the crowd with his charisma, but also had lots of great ideas.

It’s too bad the leader can’t be an amalgamation of all 5 candidates. If I could build a leadership robot, I’d put Dix as the brain because he had an encyclopedic knowledge of issues, and the fists because he’s a keen debater; Simons would be the heart because he brings so match compassion to every issue; Horgan would be the mouth because the has a great ability to weave a story and connect with a crowd; Farnworth would be the gut and intuition because he seemed to have a natural grasp of what matters to the party and the public; and Larsen would be the lungs because, all puns aside, he really is a breath of fresh air and energizes the party with new ideas.

That said, only one person can be leader. I think Simons would be eaten alive by the press. His soft style wouldn’t translate well in modern media. Larsen was the least political and most ideological. He has an important role to play influencing the policy of the party, but I don’t think he’s leadership material. Dix is a real fighter and a really smart debater. I think he’d do well against Christy Clark, but I’m not a fan of combative politics.

That leaves Mike Farnworth and John Horgan, my top picks for leader. Horgan offered the biggest difference in style from Dix. In his closing remarks, he made it clear his strategy is to win over voters by giving them a positive vision to vote for, not by telling them Christy Clark is evil. Farnworth was somewhere between Dix and Horgan in style. He doesn’t have Horgan’s ability to connect with a crowd, or Dix’s feisty debater nature, but he balanced attacking the Liberals with promoting a strong vision. He also impressed me with his honesty.

In the end, it was Horgan who most impressed me and he secured my top vote. He’s charismatic, a great public speaker, and he really understands public policy and can explain it to anyone. He was also less dogmatic in his beliefs then some of the candidates. He seemed best able to balance the environment with economic realities. The full debate is available online, so you can see for yourself.

My ranked ballot now looks like this (changed slightly from a few weeks ago):

  1. John Horgan
  2. Mike Farnworth
  3. Adrian Dix
  4. Dana Larsen
  5. Nicholas Simons

Looking at the BC NDP Leadership Candidates

I’ve been an NDP supporter for longer then I’ve had the right to vote, but since moving to BC 4 years ago, I’ve been really disappointed with the BC NDP. Their opportunistic opposition to the carbon tax lead me to vote Green last election. I’ve been disappointed with how few original ideas they have put forth. I didn’t like Carole James as the leader, but now that a new leader is being selected I’ve rejoined the party and have been examining the 5 candidates, deciding who to vote for.

I’ve read through their websites, watched their twitter feeds, and looked at their responses to surveys. What I’m looking for is a leader who has positive ideas for the environment and transportation, has some personality, and is willing to engage voters using social media. So far, the candidate I’m most impressed with is John Horgan.

From a policy perspective, all 5 candidates have similar positions. The NDP has finally smartened up and committed to fixing the carbon tax instead of axing it, something I’ve been advocating for since day 1. John Horgan and Mike Farnworth have the best environmental platforms. Both are promising to include industrial emitters in the carbon tax and ensure part of the proceeds go toward expanding public transit. They’re both committed to local agriculture and transitioning away from open-pen fish farming. Horgan also has some commitments about energy efficiency and conservation programs, which is a huge plus in my book.

On transportation issues, Rail for the Valley put out a survey to all the Liberal and NDP leadership candidates. None of the Liberal candidates bothered to respond, but all the NDP candidates did. If you read through the responses, Horgan is the candidate who has the best grasp of transportation issues and understands where SkyTrain and light rail is best suited.

Personality is a bit more difficult to define, but Horgan tweeting while getting a ride from snowboarders really cracked me up and impressed me. I’ve been following his Twitter feed for a few weeks now, and like what he tweets about.

All of the candidates are have Twitter and Facebook accounts, but some are using it more actively.

Candidate Website Twitter
Tweets / Following / Followers
Facebook
Fans / Last Post
Adrian Dix 225 / 308 / 465 216 / 26 hours ago
Mike Farnworth 164 / 629 / 708 540 / 11 hours ago
John Horgan 439 / 604 / 617 456 / 3 hours ago
Dana Larsen 292 / 63 / 373 1713 / 7 hours ago
Nicholas Simons 187 / 144 / 316 548/ 26 hours ago

Horgan is the most active social media user, Farnworth has the most Twitter followers, and Larsen the most Facebook fans.

The vote isn’t until April 17, so I have lots of time to change my mind, but here is how I would rank the 5 candidates on my ballot today:

  1. John Horgan – I’ve been really impressed with his policies and his personality.
  2. Mike Farnworth – Strong environmental platform.
  3. Dana Larsen – Surprised that he has more ideas then marijuana legalization.
  4. Nicholas Simons – I like him, but he’s kind of invisible.
  5. Adrian Dix – Very unimpressed with him. Strikes me as an old-school politician.

I’m looking forward to the environmental debate to be held at the Creekside Community Centre on April 2. That will likely decide my vote.

Vancouver Centre – For Whom to Vote?

Vancouver Centre is one of the most interesting ridings in this year’s federal election. It also happens to be where I’m living now, so I need to decide who I’m voting for. Luckily for me, there are 4 high profile candidates, all with legitimate chances of winning.

The incumbent is Liberal Hedy Fry, who has been the MP since 1993, when she knocked off then Prime Minister Kim Campbell. She’s very popular in the riding, especially with the large gay population. I’ve seen her twice at the pride parade, where she makes an annual appearance marching in wild outfits.

Michael Byers is running for the NDP. He’s a professor at UBC and an expert on international law. I don’t know much about him, other then he’s a smart, well-spoken guy who could become the next leader of the NDP, if he wins this election.

Adriane Carr is well known in BC, as she is the former leader of the BC Green Party. Under her leadership, the Green Party has done quite well, getting 12.39% and 9.17% in the last two elections – although it has yet to elect an MLA and Carr finished a disappointing 3rd each time she ran. The only time I’ve ever met Carr was at a homeless conference last year. She got up to ask a question, and instead spent her time at the mic explaining how the Green Party had surpassed the NDP as the 3rd most popular party in Canada – I don’t remember if she even asked a question in the end. She was referring to a Strategic Counsel poll that had just come out that put the Greens at 13% and the NDP at 12%. (As an aside, no poll before or since has put the Greens ahead of the NDP). Her comments kind of left a sour taste in my mouth. One – because she used a homelessness forum to advertise her party. Two – because she was cherry picking a poll to slag the NDP, and abusing statistics at the same time – 1% was well within the margin of error.

The most recent candidate to declare in Vancouver Centre, and the one that really throws a wrench into things, is Conservative Lorne Mayencourt. Mayencourt is the current provincial MLA for this area, as a BC Liberal (he won by 11 votes). The BC Liberals are more like the Conservatives federally, so his jump to the Conservative party is not surprising. However, he’s a high profile candidate and openly gay, so pundits expect him to draw a lot of support away from Hedy Fry, which is what makes this a 4-way race. I don’t think Mayencourt has much chance himself, but with him in the race the NDP and Greens both have good chances to win. Mayencourt has spent most of his time thus far trying to explain why a carbon tax is both good and evil.

When I’m deciding who to vote for, the party has the most influence, but I like to consider the local candidates too. All of the local candidates here are top-notch. As for the parties, I’ve voted NDP my whole life, and agree with most of their positions. The Green party intrigues me, and I like a lot of their environmental policies. My idea party would probably be a combination of the two. The problem with the Green party is they don’t have any credibility outside of environmental issues.

Michael Byers is a strong candidate and has a strong chance of winning, so that’s who I will be supporting. Although, I’d be happy if either Byers or Adrian Carr wins.

Getting Political

I know I’m a junky, but I need to share my political musings with someone.

Municipal
Gregor Roberston is awesome. I really hope he becomes the next mayor of Vancouver. If you want to help, you’ll need to become a Vision Vancouver member before May 15 and then head to the Croatian Cultural Centre on June 15 to cast your vote for Gregor. Unfortunately, I won’t be in Vancouver. I’ll be in Toronto attending Nick and Annoush’s wedding before heading out to Scandinavia with Ben. So, not only will I miss the nomination meeting, I’ll miss Car Free Vancouver day. 😦

Since I won’t be able to vote, I’m trying to convince other people to get out and vote. I’ve been assured voting is a pain in-and-out procedure. No need to stick around for boring speeches or anything. And it’s conveniently located on Commercial Drive, so when you’re done you can hit up the Car Free festivities.

Gregor was at Critical Mass on Friday, and got an enthusiastic reception. Not surprising, considering that he really is a dedicated cyclist and has some ambitious plans to improve cycling in Vancouver.

Provincial
The big news provincially is the Carbon Tax that takes affect July 1. It will start as a 2.4 cent/litre gas tax and increase every year. I’m disappointed the NDP is opposing it. The argument that it unfairly punished people in rural areas has some merit, but not much. My only complaint is none of the gas-tax revenue is being devoted to public transit – it’s impossible for a gas tax to change people’s behaviour if they have no alternative to driving.

Federal
I’ve been really impressed with the NDP lately. They have stood up for a lot of issues I think are important. Some examples:
– They pushed hard to ensure MDA wasn’t sold to an American company, and in the end they won.
– They’re pressing the government to ensure net neutrality.
– Pat Martin has lead the charge to scrap the penny – a move that’s long overdue.
– They created this handy credit card fee reduction kit, which will help you convince your credit card company to lower your rate.
– They’ve opposed Bill C10 (see Rich Mercer’s take).
– They stood up against DMCA-style copyright laws in Canada (which is more then I can say for the Liberals).
– And lastly, they’ve spoken out against increased ethanol production – something that we’re bound to hear more about with the href=”http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/04/26/AR2008042602041_pf.html”>spike in food prices.

BC NDP supports Transit Now.

It’s about time the BC NDP grew some balls and opposed the Gateway project.

Carole James addressed the BC Municipalities today, asserting that transport funding should go to build transit now.
“Gordon Campbell has the wrong priorities. At a time when we should be investing in public transit, a lack of provincial government investment is making it increasingly difficult for communities like Surrey to provide basic transit service. Meanwhile, fares are soaring, making transit even less affordable for working families,” said James.

James called for the purchase of additional buses and SkyTrain cars, and the establishment of more transit routes.
Here’s the full press release and the CBC News article.