Justin Trudeau won’t be receiving the endorsement of a group that helped stop Kevin Falcon from becoming B.C. Liberal leader in 2011. It’s the same group that backed Nathan Cullen, who finished third in last year’s race to become federal NDP chief.
For the next leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, the group that used to call itself the B.C. Green Liberals has picked Joyce Murray.
Although Trudeau is largely perceived as the runaway front-runner, Murray’s support for electoral cooperation among opposition parties to defeat Stephen Harper and the Conservatives won her the nod of the group now simply called the Green Liberals.
This follows similar endorsements for the Vancouver Quadra MP from pro-cooperation groups such as Leadnow.ca. During his campaign for the NDP leadership, Cullen also proposed an electoral alliance among anti-Conservative parties.
"What it says is that people from across Canada are looking for change," Tarah Stafford, a volunteer with the Green Liberals, told the Straight in a phone interview. "And even if Justin is the winner, he’s going to pay attention to that."
Stafford explained that although the group has the word Liberal in its name, it doesn’t refer to a specific Liberal party but rather an indication of adherence to liberal or "progressive" values. It claims an online network of 10,000 contacts.
Murray said she believes that she has "tapped into the collective concern" about Conservatives winning elections due to Liberals, New Democrats, and Greens splitting the vote.
"I have people that come to my town halls and coffees now saying that they just feel such an urgency that we take action because if Stephen Harper wins again in 2015, he will make more changes the way he’s been doing that will make it even harder for him to be defeated," Murray told the Straight by phone.
Liberal party members start voting on April 7; the new leader will be announced on April 14. Murray is confident: "The race will be a choice between Justin Trudeau and myself."