NDP's Spencer Herbert and Jenn McGinn easy choices in Vancouver by-elections

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      Less than six months before the 2005 general election, the NDP’s Jagrup Brar won a smashing victory in a by-election in Surrey-Panorama Ridge. The NDP went on to capture 33 seats in the next general election, pushing the Greens to the fringe.

      On Wednesday (October 29), voters in Vancouver-Burrard and Vancouver-Fairview have a similar opportunity to shape B.C.’s political future while driving a stake into the Gordon Campbell government. All they have to do is show up to their poll and vote for New Democrats Spencer Herbert in Vancouver-Burrard and Jenn McGinn in Vancouver-Fairview.

      Herbert, a COPE park commissioner, is a rising political star, with a strong grasp of housing issues, human rights, and the arts. McGinn, a Vancity account manager, has been executive director of South Granville Seniors Centre and vice president of Little Mountain Neighbourhood House.

      Voting NDP will send a clear message that the Campbell government’s record of indifference to the poor is unacceptable. B.C. maintained Canada’s highest child-poverty rate for four consecutive years under Campbell. The premier jacked up pay levels of senior civil servants and himself while telling the poor to be content with frozen minimum wages as their transit and housing costs skyrocketed. Thanks to Campbell’s punitive welfare policies, there is an army of homeless people that didn’t exist before he became premier in 2001.

      In Vancouver-Fairview, Campbell’s disregard for the small-business victims of the Canada Line is reason enough to reject his B.C. Liberal candidate, Dr. Margaret McDiarmid. Vancouver-Burrard Liberal candidate Arthur Griffiths oversaw public consultation on the Millennium SkyTrain line, but in June 1998, the Straight reported that Griffiths hadn’t hosted a single forum to answer questions from the public.

      Some might ask: why not vote Green? In Vancouver-Fairview, Green Leader Jane Sterk, an Esquimalt councillor, is a parachute candidate. Vancouver-Burrard Green candidate Drina Read doesn’t have Herbert’s experience in elected office.

      It’s an easy choice on October 29. Vote NDP. For the location of polls, see www.elections.bc.ca/