Late yesterday afternoon I ventured out to the Socialist Republic of Burnaby to see three of the NDP leadership candidates and Dana Larsen speak to a very friendly crowd of followers at the New West and District Labour Council.
The room where the leadership all-candidates event was being held was chock-a-block full of NDP from the federal scene right down to the municipal scene. Fin Donnelly, Peter Julian, and Bill Siksay were in attendance. Raj Chouhan, Harry Bains, Kathy Corrigan, Bruce Ralston and Mable Elmore were on hand to represent the provincial arm of the party. Of course the reigning supreme-ruler of Burnaby, Mayor Derek Corrigan, Gary Wong and Sav Dahliwal were there on behalf of the local electoral scene.
The event began with each of the candidates giving a four minute hello and bio with a why they should be selected as leader pitch added in. Poor John Horgan struggled with the clock all night; at one point he quipped that he is from Irish heritage and he cannot even say hello in four minutes.
After the candidates had done their four minute intros, people from the crowd lined up at a microphone to pose questions to the candidates. Each candidate then had one minute to answer the question. At that point Horgan really began to struggle; he would spend fifteen seconds of every minute telling the crowd how the question is tough to answer in one minute. Never mind 45 seconds. Fortunately the chair of the meeting kept reminding all the speakers that she had a gavel and she was not afraid to use it.
The questions that were posed were like watching A-Rod playing t-ball. “What are you going to do about the cuts that have been made to the WCB?’ or this classic, “What are you going to do about the collective bargaining rights that the BC Liberals took away from us?” or “What are you going to do about the privatization of BC Hydro.” “Are you going to fully fund the public education system?” or “How are you going to re-engage union workers” or “How are you going to deal with caucus solidarity in the future” so on.
Every question produced a swing and a hit. The people in the hall would clap their hands together in approval when the candidates would talk about the disgraceful behaviour of the BC Liberals. The shouts of “shame” echoed around the room when the shameful acts of the BC Liberals were mentioned.
At one point I started to lose focus and I swear I heard the candidates all together promising more sunny days and apple pie for all union members. I could be mistaken though.
After the meeting had adjourned I had the opportunity to talk briefly with the three candidates. My first question to each of the candidates was about Harry Lali dropping out of the leadership race because of the costs that the NDP have put in place for the candidates. The final question I asked each candidate was which BC Liberal leadership candidate they would like to face off against in an election. The answers I got to that question was very informative. Watch and see what you think.
First up was Adrian Dix.
After Adrian I pulled Mike Farnworth aside and listened to him.
Finally I had a chance to chat with John Horgan. Excuse my blooper in the middle of this recording. I had a brain fart and started to cut off my interview. Horgan was a little taken aback but graciously agreed to continue talking to me even after my blooper.
So which candidate do you like? Care to comment?