NDP federal caucus will descend on Vancouver Kingsway

The NDP is intent on retaking its old stomping grounds--the Vancouver-Kingsway federal riding--and party's big guns are coming to town to launch the campaign.

Jack Layton and the entire NDP federal caucus will be here for a big fundraiser for the riding’s political machinery on January 10 at Fraserview Hall, 8240 Fraser Street, party stalwart Kerry Jang said.

“This is how important--how winnable Kingsway is seen by the NDP,” Jang told the Straight. “Jack is bringing the entire caucus to raise money.”

Once a traditional NDP riding (with the odd exception, such as Simma Holt in the late 1970s), Vancouver-Kingsway has gone Liberal since 1997, primarily because its boundaries had been redefined, Jang said. The riding now extends from Oak Street to Boundary Road.

He also noted that a large number of Chinese and other new immigrants as well as wealthy families had moved into the riding.

“These people typically voted Liberal,” he said.

But things have changed, according to Jang, after former Liberal MP David Emerson switched to the Conservatives following the 2006 election.

“Why the NDP will be very strong in this riding this time is because people know that the NDP won’t allow jumping, has never allowed people to switch parties without consequences.” Jang claimed. [It's worth noting that former B.C. NDP premier Ujjal Dosanjh now serves as a Liberal MP, and former Ontario NDP premier Bob Rae sought the Liberal Party of Canada leadership.]

Jang said that three candidates are vying for the party’s nomination in the riding: Tony Kosovic, Alicia Barsallo and Don Davies. Kosovic doesn’t live in the riding but Barsallo and Davies do, Jang noted.

“A lot of people are telling me they think that Don will appeal to all areas in the riding as a good, moderate candidate who lives here,” Jang said of Davies, a lawyer for the Teamsters.

As for Barsallo, an educator, Jang said: “A lot of people like her because she’s very energetic, she speaks her mind, she’s very committed and passionate.”

The Liberals have nominated Wendy Yuan, a businesswoman who lives in Richmond.