Greater Victoria MLAs may yet join B.C. NDP leadership race

Horgan and Fleming considering their candidacy for top job

Now that Mike Farnworth has thrown his hat into the ring as a candidate for the B.C. NDP leadership, two local MLAs are mulling over their options.

John Horgan (Juan de Fuca) is rethinking his earlier decision to pass on running for the top job come September when the party holds its leadership convention.

“I really felt in the fall that I didn’t want to be an obstacle to renewal,” he said. “I got out of the way, and as I did so I expected more people to step up, and that hasn’t happened. So people are now coming back to me.”

Horgan said he’s discussing it with his family and others and will make a decision in the next couple of weeks. He wants to see the party move forward with new ideas and new confidence.

“We need to have leadership and a set of principles that don’t scare people, but excite them.”

Victoria-Swan Lake MLA Rob Fleming, who showed some interest in the job after leader Adrian Dix announced his resignation last year, is also weighing his options.

“I haven’t made a decision yet, but I’m actively considering it,” said Fleming, who plans to discuss his candidacy further with his family.

“My consideration of my own candidacy is mainly because I believe the party needs a turnaround strategy and a new leader that can reposition the NDP within the economic mainstream of B.C.”

Fleming said the NDP is still perceived as weak, when it comes to fiscal management. And while the party is still a champion of social issues and public services, he said it needs to show it can do all that while being “more explicitly pro-business.”

“We need to prove to the voters and taxpayers that we’re serious about good economic management practices. It’s something I’ve believed throughout my political life.”

Port Coquitlam MLA Mike Farnworth announced his candidacy for party leader earlier in March.

“Well I’m a week younger than Mike, so if I was looking for the younger generation, maybe I’m it,” Horgan said, laughing.

“I’ve got a lot of time for Mike. I’ve known him for a long time, but there is the requirement of a contest, it seems to me.”

“I supported him actively last time … He’s wanting to make the case that he’s the right guy in 2017 because a lot of people feel he was the right guy in 2013,” Fleming said. “I have no issue with him or John seeking the leadership.”

In the 2011 NDP leadership election Farnworth took second place, while Horgan came in third.

Dix won the race, but decided he would step aside in 2014, after the party was upset in the May 2013 election by the Liberals, who came from well back in the polls to win.

kwells@goldstreamgazette.com

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