Thursday, February 28, 2013

A split for the North Coast NDP?

The bubbling cauldron of politics seems to be on the hot boil this week, with what appears to be a trial balloon on the rise from some would be supporters for an Independent campaign by recently defeated NDP candidate Joanna Larson.

The prospect of perhaps a split in the ranks of the local NDP and left side of the political spectrum, appeared as a topic on a local chat forum and with an occasional note on twitter Thursday.

The sudden appearance of the topic, apparently is designed to create a bit of buzz over a potential Independent provincial campaign for the President of the Prince Rupert District Teacher's Union.

Ms. Larson recently came in second to Prince Rupert City councillor Jennifer Rice in the NDP North Coast balloting for the nomination for the upcoming Provincial election.  A result that held a rather close vote count and one that seemingly caught more than a few local residents by surprise.

As observed during the course of the NDP nomination process, Ms. Larson appeared to have the majority of the more established of NDP veterans on her side of the voting ledger.

Yet, all of that high profile support did not provide for a victory on nomination day.

Since her nomination, Ms. Rice has been the focus of much attention, (much of it from the local weekly newspaper, the interest of which we have reviewed on the blog here and here) mainly revolving around her environmental history and the fact that she has for the moment, decided to remain on City council while she prepares for the upcoming provincial election campaign.

Should there be some fire, to the smoke of an Independent campaign from Ms. Larson, it would clearly signify a split in the local NDP, with the labour side of the party and the environmental side of it, seemingly on different pages locally.

While that all plays out, the prospect of an Independent candidate and eventually we imagine, word of a Liberal candidate at least, might transform what was shaping up to be a potential coronation into an actual election campaign.

Something that would be a welcome thing in the riding, offering as it does for an exchange of ideas on any number of different options for the future.

One could think up any number of political scenarios that could play out before that May vote count, the debates would be fascinating, the issues finally discussed in open forum and the results far from determined before the voting even takes place.

Should she enter the race as an Independent, Ms. Larson would of course bring her own agenda and with it the need to offer up her thoughts on local and provincial issues. Offering the voters an opportunity to learn more on her thoughts on education (of which she obviously would be familiar),  the environment and the local economy and where the North Coast will go into the future.

There of course is a danger that a three way race, could provide a window of opportunity for the BC Liberals and any potential campaign of the BC Conservatives.

A prospect from the more regimented world of party politics, which may in the end bring an end to the fanciful desires of the day of a new option on voting day for North Coast voters.

There is however, a precedence of sorts for an Independent MLA to sit as a representative for Prince Rupert. Graham Lea held that title for a short period of time back in 1985,  sitting as an Independent when he left the NDP, after a less than successful leadership bid.

His time as an Independent was rather short lived and he clearly by then had less in common with the NDP than would an Independent minded Ms. Larson.

Still, considering her background in the community and the support she has within the NDP from her past work, any prospective campaign could prove quite rewarding for Ms. Larson.

If on election day,  she would prove successful at the ballot box, one imagines it wouldn't be too long before she is brought into the larger NDP fold again, perhaps even as a key participant in the government of a Premier Adrian Dix should he form the government in May.

We're clearly a long way away from a mention on a social media site to the launching of political campaign, but it does seem to reflect some of the conversation in the community about our political options heading into the spring provincial election.

Then again, it could all just be some trouble making by opponents of Councillor Rice, looking to stir the pot and disrupt her campaign.

We clearly won't know much more about the speculation, until Ms. Larson addresses the topic in the days to come.

However, for pure entertainment value and to make the day for political junkies, voters on the North Coast can only be hoping for a "more the merrier" approach to the upcoming campaign.

Offering the opportunity for a full debate and examination of all the issues, by all the candidates that put their name up for consideration.


  1. FYI the vote count for the NDP Nomination was 180-116 or 61% to 39% in Councilor Rice's favour. Not exactly a close contest.

  2. Thanks for the count totals (and the math lesson). Still, if there is apparent overwhelming support for the victor, one has to wonder why there is even the thought of an Independent campaign being suggested heading towards May. NCR