Familiar B.C. NDP faces hark back to '90s

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      New Democrats are promising change. However, the more that former B.C. NDP cabinet member Gordon Wilson looks at some of the familiar faces that may constitute an Adrian Dix government, the less he’s convinced.

      “It’s old and tired and bent and busted,” was how Wilson put it in a phone interview with the Georgia Straight.

      British Columbians will be “reelecting, effectively, the NDP of the 1990s”, he said.

      “Because I knew all of these guys when I was elected,” said Wilson, who was MLA for Powell River–Sunshine Coast from 1991 to 2001. “I don’t see too many fresh, new, bright faces.”

      Of the 31 incumbent B.C. NDP MLAs running in the May 14 election, eight are indelibly identified with the 1990s, when New Democrats ruled.

      These include Dix, now party leader. He was a ministerial assistant in the government of Premier Mike Harcourt and, later, chief of staff to Premier Glen Clark.

      Mike Farnworth of Port Coquitlam was elected MLA in 1991, the same year that Sue Hammell of Surrey–Green Timbers was elected. Malahat–Juan de Fuca’s John Horgan served as chief of staff to Premier Dan Miller as well as ministerial assistant and political staff during the Clark years.

      Leonard Krog of Nanaimo was elected in 1991, and so was Harry Lali of Fraser-Nicola (then largely Yale-Lillooet). Vancouver–Mount Pleasant’s Jenny Kwan has been an MLA since 1996. Surrey-Whalley MLA Bruce Ralston was president of the B.C. NDP from 1996 to 2001.

      Former party leader Carole James was quite amused by Wilson’s opinion. “I have to chuckle because we did have two seats in 2001, and when we were elected in 2005, we brought in almost a brand-new team,” James told the Straight in a phone interview. “In fact, many people said some of the challenges we had in 2005 were because we had so many new people and so few were returning MLAs.”

      In 2005, a total of 33 B.C. NDP MLAs—including James, representing Victoria–Beacon Hill—were elected. “Anyone who talks about a return to the ’90s just needs to look at our team and look at our numbers,” she said.

      With 31 MLAs running for new terms and the balance of the 85 seats to be contested by nonincumbents, James said she believes that New Democrats have the right mix.

      “I think that’s exactly what the voters are looking for,” James said. “They’re looking for new energy. They’re looking for experience. They’re looking for a team that will bring new approaches and new ideas but also understands the real challenges that you face when you’re in government, and the tough choices that have to be made ahead.”

      Wilson noted that he hears people say they’ve made up their mind that it’s time to change and dump the B.C. Liberals. “But then I keep saying, ‘Okay, we’ll take a look at who’s going to get in,’ and then I start talking about the people who are standing to get in. And the response is, ‘Oh, my God! These are the same old people.’ ”



      Be The Change

      Apr 4, 2013 at 7:36am

      One can only hope, they have learning lessons of the past and lessons from the mistakes of the B.C. Liberals, at present, that is, realize the public
      does NOT tolerate dishonesty, backroom deals, scandals,
      less than honest government.

      James G

      Apr 4, 2013 at 9:06am

      I object to this (rare) hatchet job so obviously intended to balance the equation. How dare you leave out Moe Sihota? If there is an obvious go-to guy on tired out politicos and spent ideas of the 90s, Gordon Wilson should be the one! Peace to all and good luck to all candidates on May 14. A little more peace and luck to us all with an NDP win!

      Pat Crowe

      Apr 4, 2013 at 9:27am

      The opinion of a an ex politico who changed his spots to suit himself and not the constituents who voted him in is of little consequence.

      ursa minor

      Apr 4, 2013 at 9:51am

      If there were no veteran MLAs running for the NDP, I'm sure Wilson would be going on about the lack of experience and what a big risk it would to elect an unproven commodity...

      Grant G

      Apr 4, 2013 at 10:05am

      Gordon Wilson, an adulterer, a bitter old man.

      What about the BC Liberals?

      Coleman, De Jong, Christy Clark, Shirley Bond, Ralph Sultan. Patrick Kinsella,

      Gordon Wilson is a nasty piece of garbage.

      Here is Gordon Wilson`s own bitter words from 2011.

      "Horgan, who has been elected as MLA for Juan de Fuca on Vancouver Island twice during the Campbell years in government, is better known to me for his backroom role during the NDP governments of the 1990s. Then Horgan was a bombastic, somewhat ruthless and unprincipled backroom enforcer whose temper was only surpassed by his lack of diplomacy. Maybe he has mellowed somewhat, although you know what is said about leopards and their spots.

      In politics there are those who are best described as “party hacks”, people who do the bidding of their political bosses regardless of the impact of their actions. Horgan made a career in politics as a party hack at both the federal and provincial level until he stepped up to run for office. In fact, one is hard pressed to know what experience Horgan has outside of the political backrooms and his two terms as an elected MLA.

      Given his service to Ministers better associated with the governments of Mike Harcourt and Glen Clark, it is little wonder that NDP cabinet ministers from the 1990s Elizabeth Cull, Anne Edwards and Paul Ramsey have all provide support to his campaign. Outside of the ranks of the NDP, however, such endorsements are likely to go over like a lead balloon.

      Dan Miller’s endorsement was fully expected. Miller and Horgan have a long history together in the Legislative Halls of power in Victoria. Miller was the NDP Minister of Energy and Mines and Minister responsible for BC Ferries, and was arguably one of the most incompetent ministers in the Harcourt and Clark governments."


      And here is Gordon Wilson spewing venom against the NDP again


      You are irrelevant Gordon Wilson, bitter, nasty, old!


      Apr 4, 2013 at 10:59am

      What a bizarre statement by Wilson! Only 8 leftovers from the supposed dark and dismal 1990s of which Wilson was an avid participant. Wouldn't it be more apropos and less obviously biased to point out that 77 of the NDP's 85 candidates had nothing to do with Wilson's shenanigans of the 1990s.

      Joe Sixpack

      Apr 4, 2013 at 11:02am

      I feel our political system is an illusion. Clusters of self-interest to acquire money and power will dictate events above and beyond any consensus or intelligent solutions.

      Resource exploitation, residential real estate, public sector unions, government protected monopolies.

      Even the lowly reporters of the Georgia Straight aren't free to devote their time in the direction they want to. Gotta keep the advertisers happy because no one else has a nickel to spare.

      East of Main

      Apr 4, 2013 at 11:24am

      Gordon Wilson is trying to make himself relevant again.