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.