NDP would cast wide net should MLA Robin Austin retire

MLA Austin hints that he will not run in the May 2017 provincial electiosn

Should Skeena NDP MLA Robin Austin follow through on hints that he will not run in the May 2017 provincial election, his decision will set in motion a party plan to broaden the gender and ethnic make up of its nomination candidates here.

“Our equity and diversity guidelines are that we’re searching for candidates as diverse as British Columbia,” explained BC NDP official Trish Webb.

It doesn’t mean that white males cannot seek the NDP nomination for Skeena but party officials would take notice should only white males be put forward as nomination candidates, she said.

“The party would step in and say can you do something about this,” Webb said.

She stressed that the search for a diverse group of candidates is a guideline only and not strictly party policy.

“This is not self-limiting to say that no white men need apply, but it is to say that can you find candidates that better represent the community.”

As it is, the current NDP caucus at the provincial legislature is 43 per cent female, a statistic bolstered with the recent addition of two women from two February by-election victories in the Vancouver-Mount Pleasant and Coquitlam-Burke Mountain ridings.

One of those elected, Melanie Mark, was also the first aboriginal woman elected to the provincial legislature.

Webb said the NDP’s record of promoting diversity among its candidates dates back to 1949 when Frank Calder, a Nisga’a, became the first First Nations person to be elected to a Canadian provincial legislature thanks to a victory in the Atlin riding.

Calder was elected as a Cooperative Commonwealth Federation member of the provincial legislature, a predecessor to the NDP which was formed in the early 1960s.

Webb said the NDP record of diversity extends to having the first provincial legislators of Chinese, Korean and Filipino extraction.

Austin has yet to officially state whether he will run in the May 2017 provincial election but hinted earlier this year that he was leaning toward not running.

Austin said he will make his decision after the spring legislative session ends, approximately one year before the May 2017 vote and a time when party officials want to determine if current legislators will run again or not.

A provincial NDP analysis of why it failed to become the governing party in the 2013 election included comments on broadening its candidate base.

“While the party has recorded great success in increasing access for women to represent our party as candidates, similar efforts must also be directed at BC’s increasingly diverse ethnic communities,” it stated.

“The [NDP] provincial executive should consider changes that would ensure that our slate of 2017 candidates fully reflects the ethnic diversity of the province.”

The NDP has never nominated a woman to run in Skeena but the provincial Liberals have twice, current Terrace mayor Carol Leclerc who ran unsuccessfuly against Austin in the 2013 provincial election and Juanita Hatton who ran in the 1991 provincial election.

Joanne Monaghan, a former Kitimat mayor, ran unsuccessfully in Skeena for the now-defunct Social Credit party in the 1983 provincial election and Anita Norman was the Skeena Green party candidate in the 2009 provincial election.

In the neighbouring North Coast riding, NDP candidate Jennifer Rice, a Prince Rupert city councillor, became that riding’s first female provincial legislator by defeating Liberal candidate Judy Fraser in the 2013 provincial election.

 

Just Posted

Outside the Kitimat RCMP police station, Diversity Morgan’s family and Kitimat RCMP come together for a pride flag-raising ceremony. (Jacob Lubberts photo)
Kitimat RCMP host pride flag ceremony in memory of Diversity Morgan

“We’re gathered here in solidarity for anyone who’s ever experienced prejudice or discrimination”

(Haisla First Nation logo)
Haisla Nation host walk for strength and series of virtual sessions for Indigenous History Month

The purpose of the walk is to bring Haisla Nation members together and show their collective support

The District of Kitimat will be awarding business owners with a store front up to $5,000 to cover up to 50 per cent of exterior renovations. (Norhtern Development logo)
The District of Kitimat is awarding $5,000 to storefront owners for exterior renovations

The district has set aside $20,000 this year and non-profits are also eligible

Ron getting loose and sipping a glass of the family’s favourite greek amber spirit, Metaxa. (Photo supplied)
In Our Valley: Ron Lechner

Retired part-time singer and Rio Tinto lifer: Ron Lechner

Map of the road work that will be completed this summer. The streets highlighted in red are what the district planned on completing before additional funding, and the streets highlighted in orange is the road works that will be done with the additional funding. (District of Kitimat photo)
$1.1 million allocated for road work this year in Kitimat

Kitimat council has added $470,000 for more work by deferring four other projects.

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Patrick O’Brien, a 75-year-old fisherman, went missing near Port Angeles Thursday evening. (Courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard)
Search for lost fisherman near Victoria suspended, U.S. Coast Guard says

The 75-year-old man was reported missing Thursday evening

Most Read