George Heyman wins NDP nomination over Geoff Meggs in Vancouver-Fairview
Call it a triumph of the green New Democrats.
George Heyman, executive director of the Sierra Club of B.C., handily defeated Vancouver councillor Geoff Meggs in a battle of NDP titans for the party's nomination in Vancouver-Fairview.
Heyman took 58 percent of the votes in a constituency that was represented by former NDP MLA and current mayor Gregor Robertson from 2005 to 2008.
Vancouver-Fairview has been represented by B.C. Liberal health minister Margaret MacDiarmid since the 2009 election.
Heyman, a former president of the B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union, attracted support from many New Democrats with a strong environmental ethic, including Gwen Barlee, Joe Foy, Ben West, and Tria Donaldson.
Meggs, who officially entered the race after being elected to council for a second term in 2008, had the backing of former NDP leader Joy MacPhail, political columnist Bill Tieleman, CUPE Local 15 president Paul Faoro, and former MP and MLA Ian Waddell.
Greenish New Democrats also demonstrated their clout in last year's federal contest when Thomas Mulcair was elected leader and Nathan Cullen ran a strong third. Cullen's national comanager, Lynda Gerty, was among those who endorsed Heyman, as did Michael Byers, who cochaired Mulcair's campaign in B.C.
However, New Democrats with a strong environmental bent weren't as successful in the party's provincial leadership campaign last year: many of them backed Mike Farnworth, who came second behind Adrian Dix.
Ironically, Meggs was supported by communications advisor Marcella Munro, who was one of Farnworth's key operatives.
Prior to the vote, the Straight reported that Heyman and Meggs had different positions regarding the use of hydraulic fracturing to extract natural gas.
Heyman said that he will try to reverse the NDP's stance in favour of the practice, whereas Meggs said he would stick to the party's position, notwithstanding his concerns about the environmental effects.
The NDP appears fairly united these days under the leadership of Adrian Dix. However when it comes to fracking—which involves injecting chemicals and water underground to free up the fuel—there are some cracks.
We'll probably have to wait until after the next election to see if that develops into a wider chasm.
In the meantime, Vancouver taxpayers may have been spared the likelihood of a by-election, which might have been necessary had Meggs gotten elected to the legislature next year.