NDP's Carole James's affirmative action vindicated in by-elections

The  victories of Jenn McGinn and Spencer Herbert in two Vancouver by-elections  tonight are a vindication for NDP Leader Carole James, who was criticized for promoting affirmative action in the nomination of candidates.

McGinn,  a Vancity business banker who  won in Vancouver-Fairview,  will be the first out lesbian elected to the B.C. legislature.

The NDP's successful candidate in Vancouver-Burrard, Spencer Herbert, is a prominent member of Vancouver's LGBT community. He's also a COPE park commissioner.

In November, 2007, the NDP approved a resolution whereby women would run in any seats vacated by retiring MLAs. Vancouver-Fairview was previously represented by the NDP's  Gregor Robertson.

In September of this year, the NDP set aside 20 seats for women and under-represented groups, such as people of colour and people from the LGBT community.

Prior to tonight's by-elections, only seven of the NDP's 32 MLAs were women.

With 139 of 149 ballot boxes counted, McGinn has opened up a 611-vote over her closest competitor, Margaret MacDiarmid  of the B.C. Liberals. Green Leader Jane Sterk is far back.