Written by Alex Cosh

The B.C. NDP leadership “race” just became a real race, with two candidates now competing to become the next premier.

On Wednesday morning, Global News’ Richard Zussman reported that former federal NDP candidate and climate justice activist Anjali Appadurai would be throwing her hat into the ring, with a focus on, as Zussman put it, “people rather than corporations, as well as addressing climate change.”

Her candidacy, Zussman noted, presents a “speed bump” for B.C. Attorney General and Minister Responsible for Housing David Eby, who until yesterday was the contest’s sole candidate. In a subsequent interview, Appadurai told Zussman:

“I have answered the call from a growing movement in this province to run for NDP leadership as a way to challenge the party status quo and to lay out a vision for what our province could be like. I have agreed to be the candidate and the spokesperson for the movement, but it is much bigger than me.”

Appadurai’s campaign will be focused on tackling the climate emergency, the drug poisoning crisis and affordability for young people in B.C. Her official website states: “Together we can put power back in the hands of the people – and solve the overlapping crises facing our communities.”

In an interview with The Maple earlier this week, Eby said regarding what was then Appadurai’s prospective candidacy:

“I think Anjali represents the viewpoints, in particular, of a large group of young people, (concerned about) what is the future of our province going to look like and how we balance the economy and the environment. I think it's entirely appropriate that someone step up to represent that in the leadership race.”

Eby said he was not concerned that Appadurai would bring discussions about the B.C. NDP government’s climate record to the front and centre of the contest.

Following Appadurai’s announcement of her leadership campaign, Eby tweeted:

“Welcome to Anjali Appadurai as she joins the race to become the next leader of the BC NDP. This race is an opportunity for a healthy exchange of ideas about how best to serve British Columbians, and I look forward to that debate. I wish her luck, but not too much luck!”

Responding to Appadurai's campaign launch video, author and activist Naomi Klein tweeted: "The race to be the new Premier of British Columbia just got interesting. We have a climate justice candidate, and a brilliant one at that!"

Other candidates have until Oct. 4 to enter the race, and the winner of the contest will be declared on Dec. 3.

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