BC NDP should take a good look into the mirror
So, we now know how the new BC NDP premier was chosen – a backroom vote of good ‘ol boys (and girls?) to stave off a challenge by a bold rookie opponent who is a charismatic woman of colour and – God forgive – an environmentalist.
Oh, the irony!
Yes, the party of Dave Barrett, Tommy Douglas, and Jack Layton has sunk to this level – a cynical gang of party hacks crushing a brave bid by a new and talented socialist leader like an elephant stomping on a puppy.
The trio of now-departed socialists listed above must be rolling in their graves. And it makes me sad as an admitted former – and I emphasize “former” – NDP supporter myself to have to write this paean of grief to a political party that once had integrity and stood up for the “little guy” and girl as well as feminists, First Nation people and people of all genders including LGBTQ as well as other hurt and exploited individuals.
And if you don’t understand what I’m writing about, I strongly urge you to pull your head out of the sand and look at how a gang of their political apparatchiks did their dirty deeds in the shade where the sun couldn’t shine on them.
But for the benefit of those who may have been out of province this long summer or otherwise indisposed, let me briefly relate the inspiring tale of Anjali Appadurai, a woman born in Madurai, India May 27, 1990 and a passionate climate activist.
As a youth in 2011, she gave an inspiring climate justice speech to the United Nations urging the delegates to “get it done” in terms of climate change and later emigrated to Canada. She quickly became a Greta Thunberg-type activist and in the 2021 federal election she amazed many by running for the NDP against the Liberals in the Vancouver-Granville riding and only losing by less than 500 votes.
Then, linking herself with the Dogwood Initiative, B.C.’s self-described largest non-partisan citizens action group, she announced she would run against veteran B.C. cabinet minister David Eby for the party’s leadership to replace outgoing Premier John Horgan who stepped down for health reasons.
And that’s when all hell broke loose in the NDP backrooms.
It appears key NDP strategists feared Dogwood’s reputation as master organizers might turn the NDP’s leadership race into an actual contest instead of a slam-dunk for Eby. Worse yet, there was a distant – very distant – chance Eby might actually lose to Appadurai as feared by party ideologues even though close to 50 NDP MLAs supported Eby. Hence the internal panic as the NDP’s reputation continues to slip on two key metrics, the environment and its treatment of women.
Wasn’t it Horgan’s NDP that approved the Site C dam twice, poured millions into LNG development, stood meekly aside as the Trans Mountain pipeline was expanded and brutally arrested and roughed up old growth logging protesters demonstrating on denuded mountainsides from Fairy Creek to the Kootenays?
And who can forget the shabby way the NDP treated former leader and finance minister Carole James when she made a bid for the party’s leadership in 2010?
The BC NDP claims to support the environment and then it tuns around and disqualifies a leadership contestant with impeccable environmental credentials. Well, I have a message for the BC NDP – you can’t “disqualify” climate change. Nor integrity!
Let’s get real here. Eby’s C.V. for the job as premier is overwhelming. Former attorney general and housing minister, president of the BC Civil Liberties Association, QC lawyer, MLA for nine years and a caucus favourite. Could an upstart political novice, who spent more than half her life in another hemisphere, upset such a seasoned pro? Not likely! Not on this planet or any other. So why does the NDP seem so afraid of Appadurai? Beats me.
Then what’s really going on here?
I suggest several years in power has caused the NDP to become arrogant, heavy-handed and lazy. The party was planning a coronation like Horgan had – and when someone dared to throw sand in the gears of the coronation – someone blew their top. Or perhaps, being good socialists, several collectively blew their tops including quite possibly Eby himself and the former premier.
Eby may have grabbed the gold ring by these dubious tactics, but the party as a whole has been irrevocably damaged by these frankly unsavory actions. Ironically, the NDP will probably win the next election but it will be a tainted victory.
And a modern day take on a shabby Faustian tale.
– Gerry Warner is a retired journalist, who is not afraid to criticize when criticism is deserved.