Corrigans support Horgan in NDP leadership bid

Kathy Corrigan, MLA for Burnaby-Deer Lake -
Kathy Corrigan, MLA for Burnaby-Deer Lake
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Kathy and Derek Corrigan are backing Juan de Fuca MLA John Horgan in his bid for the leadership of the New Democrats, calling him the candidate most capable of becoming premier.

Burnaby-Deer Lake NDP MLA Kathy Corrigan has known Horgan for a number of years, including time when she was a Burnaby school trustee and he served as the party's education critic.

Citing reasons for supporting Horgan, she said he has a great deal of integrity, is very bright and hard working, has a sense of humour, is a family man and gets along well with people, particularly in caucus.

"He is the person in our party that I think has the best chance of beating the Liberals, which is also important," Kathy said, noting he is an eloquent speaker.

She pointed out that it was she who approached Horgan, encouraging him to run for the leadership.

"He has a good balance between understanding that the economy has to work well, and we have to work well with the business community while at the same time protecting our natural resources and keeping services public."

Kathy's husband, Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan, agreed.

"I'm one of those classic centre-left people that feels we need to have good relationships with business, that we need to look at our economy from a very broad point of view, and I think he shares that with me," Derek said.

"I feel confident that's what the people of British Columbia are looking for, they're looking for someone who is able to not only unite our party but unite British Columbians ... to try to ensure we're working together in the same direction. I'm confident Horgan has the skills to be able to do that."

Derek didn't mince words about the strength of his endorsement.

"John Horgan, as far as I'm concerned, is head and shoulders above all the other candidates."

In addition to being politically experienced and loyal—he stood by former leader Carole James until she was forced to step down—Horgan's background coming from Vancouver Island brings potential freshness to the premier's office, Derek said, adding politicians raised in Vancouver tend to have "really entrenched opinions and vested interests."

He conceded that Horgan does not have the name recognition as some of his fellow leadership candidates do.

"But often those candidates have that name recognition because there have been some pretty controversial things in their background," Derek said with a laugh. "I think the fact that John Horgan has not been a controversial politician, hasn't been singled out in having been involved in things that the press were particularly interested in, is in his favour."

He said he hopes over the course of the NDP leadership race British Columbians get to know Horgan better.

"If they do, I think they'll like what they see."

Meanwhile, Burnaby's other NDP MLA, Raj Chouhan of Burnaby-Edmonds, will not be endorsing any candidate after he was appointed last week by the party to deal with any conflicts that arise during the leadership campaign.

"So I will stay neutral."

The NDP chooses its next leader on April 17.

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