MP Kennedy Stewart may run for B.C. NDP leader

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Burnaby-Douglas MP  Kennedy Stewart is looking like a potential serious contender for B.C. NDP leader.

Poll

Would Kennedy Stewart make a good B.C. NDP leader?

Yes 37%
22 votes
No 25%
15 votes
Kennedy who? 37%
22 votes

Although Stewart said he hasn’t decided if he wants the job of outgoing provincial party leader Adrian Dix, he seems to be off to a good start.

“I had people offering some support as well as funding to start moving ahead,” Stewart told the Straight in a phone interview. “By December, by the time everybody stopped doing things for the holidays, I had a good team of about 30 people from around the province, and I’m close to $200,000 in pledges.”

While those pledges aren’t money in the bank yet, he’ll have an advantage if he jumps in because leadership races are expensive exercises.

In 2011, Dix spent more than $216,000 to clinch the post. The Vancouver-Kingsway MLA outspent runner-up and Port Coquitlam representative Mike Farnworth, who blew just over $119,000.

In the last contest, hopefuls had to shell out an entrance fee of $15,000 for the privilege of joining the contest.

According to Stewart, he began receiving calls sometime in October, when Juan de Fuca MLA John Horgan, who came third behind Dix and Farnworth in 2011, made it known that he will not seek to succeed Dix.

Following the B.C. NDP’s unexpected defeat in the May 2013 provincial election, Dix announced in September that he would step down.

This news soon led to a parade of New Democrat MPs pondering heading up the provincial party. However, Nathan Cullen, Peter Julian, Fin Donnelly, and Jinny Sims have all decided not to enter the race, leaving Stewart as the remaining federal politician who looks interested. “The field is narrowing,” Stewart said.

Farnworth hasn’t made an official announcement about his plans but is considered by many to be the front-runner.

Former Fraser-Nicola MLA Harry Lali previously told the Straight he has heard that first-term Vancouver–Point Grey MLA David Eby is gearing up for the fight.

Stewart indicated that he hasn’t gone to members of the B.C. NDP’s legislative caucus to ask for their support.

“What MLAs will need to hear in terms of supporting you is what kind of organizers you have,” Stewart said. “So what I’ve been focusing on is the organizers, people that can help you plan around the province, people that can help you sign up members.”

Stewart first ran for MP in Vancouver Centre in 2004 but lost. He is currently on leave from Simon Fraser University, where he is an associate professor at the school of public policy.

“It’s interesting being in federal Parliament: you’re thinking about British Columbia from the perspective of Ottawa, and I think B.C. gets a bad deal,” Stewart said of why he’s considering provincial politics.

As for the B.C. NDP, he thinks that the party needs to do a better job of telling people about what matters most to them. “We need to have a different approach to how we speak about and plan for the economy,” Stewart said.

The B.C. NDP leadership convention will be held in September.

Comments (5) Add New Comment
Ammario
Ok, so I know people are going to think I''m crazy, but I honestly think that, of all the people who could possibly become BC NDP leader, there is one person who we're not only overlooking, but he probably hasn't even THOUGHT of running himself.
I'm speaking of ... get ready for it... David Eby.
Yes, David Eby, the NDP candidate who beat Christy Clark in Vancouver-Point Grey in the general election.
He is charismatic, articulate, and seems to genuinely espouse NDP values but also is pragmatic enough to moderate.
He is also good-looking and likeable...and generally, he is the anti-Dix.
I know probably nobody will agree with me on this, but I honestly and sincerely think that David Eby should consider running for the leadership of the BC NDP, and the BCNDP should seriously consider electing him.
I honestly think that he would be very capable of winning a majority government in the next general election.
He might be a bit "new" right now. However, over the course of this mandate, and until the next general provincial election, I think he would mature and find his groove and own rhythm very nicely.
Oh well, it will probably never happen. I don't think he's even considering running.
Just my opinion... I think David Eby should be the BC NDP's new leader.
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Martin Dunphy
Ammario:

Paragraph 11 (in boldface, yet).
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Ahn Di Phi
Eby was onboarded with the idea that he would eventually become leader of the party.
As a lawyer and former involvement with the BCCLU, he has the street cred to promise to deliver. Whether he can remains to be seen.

It really doesn't matter as these leaders and contenders are beholden to powers who possess an excess of financial depth and influence.
In the case of the BCNDP, they are basically the voice of organized labour in BC.
The political future of BC is tied to Asia in the long run and will stay that way for the foreseeable future.
As a friend of mine said so presciently said the other day " Sooner or later we will all be working for the Chinese"
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Dennis
With Burnaby-Douglas being replaced by Burnaby-Seymour in the next federal election, I can imagine why Stewart is looking for greener pastures. He doesn't have a hope of winning in Burnaby-Seymour - the Deep Cove voters will put the Tory candidate over the top.
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Flozone
Dennis, he won't be running in that riding come the next federal election; he'll be running in Burnaby south.
I think he's doing a great job as an MP and I he'd be a solid leader for the provincial party. Dude's wicked smart and if the BC NDP wants to be taken seriously in the next election, they need someone who can present a sound economic policy.
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