The B.C. NDP’s arts critic and Vancouver-West End MLA Spencer Chandra Herbert is considering a run for the leadership of the party. In a call with the Straight, Herbert confirmed that he was contemplating putting his name forward after being encouraged by supporters to throw his hat in the ring.
“I’ve certainly had more than a few folks involved in the creative economy, arts folks and others, urging me to do it, but it’s a huge decision to make, and I certainly will consider it as you have to consider any kind of decision,” he said. “I wouldn’t say that I’m going to make the leap next week or next month. Right now I’m leaning towards no, for sure, but if there was a huge groundswell of support urging me to do it then I would have to reassess. For now I’m leaning towards no, but never say never.”
Chandra Herbert, the youngest member of the legislative assembly at age 29, has been the Opposition arts critic since first being elected as MLA for the now-dissolved riding of Vancouver-Burrard in 2008. Prior to working in provincial politics, he served as a Vancouver parks board commissioner with COPE from 2005 to 2008.
Amir Ali Alibhai, executive director of the Alliance for Arts and Culture, said that the Alliance is a non-partisan, not-for-profit organization that does not endorse political candidates. Nonetheless, he noted that Chandra Herbert’s presence in the NDP leadership contest would help boost the profile of arts and culture as an election issue.
“Spencer, if he put his hat into the ring, I think that would really, hopefully, bring the arts to a high priority position within the debate, and that would be a great thing,” he said.