VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — B.C.’s NDP leader defends his party’s choice of a male candidate in the Stikine riding, now that current MLA Doug Donaldson is not seeking re-election.
John Horgan denies the party’s equity policy has been violated, despite it ensuring any man who resigns as an MLA is replaced with a woman or someone with a diverse background.
“[The party] conducted an exhaustive candidate search. [It] talked to a dozen or more people who would have complied with our equity mandate and none of them were prepared to seek election,” Horgan said at a campaign stop in North Vancouver where he promised to build ten more urgent care centres within the next year.
— Annita McPhee (@AnnitaMcPhee) September 21, 2020
Local Indigenous leader Annita McPhee did seek the nomination, but the party has chosen former Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen, who served in the riding from 2004 to 2019. The long-time former MP is considered to be a star candidate.
Earlier in the year, Cullen served as a liaison between the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs and the province amid ongoing protests over the Coastal GasLink pipeline.
Horgan said he’s proud of the equity mandate, adding he believes it has been applied in the case.
“We have complied with the equity mandate because we believe it’s in the interest of all British Columbians to ensure that the people that are representing us reflect the values and the faces, quite frankly, of the people that they serve.”
A petition has been launched demanding the NDP uphold the equity mandate.
Meanwhile, Horgan admits calling an election a year early is making many British Columbians anxious. But he continues to insist he needs a stronger mandate because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’re not hiding anything. I think the success we’ve had in B.C. is the transparent approach that public health officials, led by Dr. Henry, have had. Daily briefings have been the norm. We are in a pandemic, not just for another couple of weeks, not just ’til Christmas time, but for at least the next year.”
The election date of Oct. 24 was set Monday.