Local politicians welcome Horgan to race

Some of the Burnaby councillors who backed John Horgan in the 2011 leadership race for the BCNDP say they're looking forward to his candidacy in this year's race.

Horgan, the MLA for Juan de Fuca, announced his bid for the party leadership on Monday evening. He's joining the only other candidate to enter the race so far, Port Coquitlam MLA Mike Farnworth.

The job opened up when former leader Adrian Dix announced his resignation after his party lost last May's provincial election despite a 20 per cent lead in opinion polls in the weeks leading up to the vote.

Coun. Dan Johnston said Horgan's bid for the party's leadership makes it an actual race.

"I think it could get people excited about the race," said Johnston. "He'll make the race interesting."

Johnston called Horgan "pretty straight forward in how he does business."

Coun. Nick Volkow said that's because Horgan comes from a working-class background.

He said he's excited about Horgan's candidacy even though they "don't see eye-to-eye on a number of issues."

He said he's wary that Horgan hasn't yet publicly proclaimed his position on the proposal by Kinder-Morgan to expand their pipeline through the province, including a stretch in North Burnaby.

"I'll be watching closely," said Volkow. "We're not always going to agree. That's just the way it is."

Coun. Sav Dhaliwal, who also endorsed Horgan in 2011, said he wants to talk to the candidate before he publicly commits his support this time around. He said he also wants to wait to see who else may yet enter the fray.

A former president of the provincial NDP, Dhaliwal said it would be good for the party if there was more candidates.

"It's a renewal, a chance for people to rally around and get people talking about politics," said Dhaliwal. "If it's just one or two candidates, it doesn't have the excitement."

Whoever ends up winning the job will have a lot of work to do to win back voters who shied away from the party in the last provincial election, said Dhaliwal.

"We have been painted into a corner where people don't trust our judgement in terms of the economy," said Dhaliwal. "We need to convince people to give us the opportunity to manage the economy, the environment."

Coun. Colleen Jorndan, along with Mayor Derek Corrigan and his wife, Burnaby-Deer Lake MLA Kathy Corrigan, also backed Horgan in 2011.

The new party leader will be elected Sept. 28.


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