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Interview: The Next Premier of British Columbia?

“We don't want to spend our time on a divisive leadership race and focusing on our differences.”

Interview: The Next Premier of British Columbia?
Left to right: B.C. Attorney General and Minister Responsible for Housing David Eby, Powell River-Sunshine Coast MLA and Minister for Poverty Reduction and Social Development Nick Simons. Photo credit: Alex Cosh.

By Alex Cosh

By nearly all accounts, B.C. Attorney General and Minister Responsible for Housing David Eby’s path to victory as leader of the B.C. NDP – and therefore premier – is a “shoo-in.” He is the only confirmed candidate running to replace outgoing leader John Horgan, who announced in June that he is stepping down after undergoing treatment for throat cancer.

Several other MLAs who were initially floated by political watchers as potential leadership candidates have declined to run, and some even joined the 48 B.C. NDP MLAs who endorsed Eby at the outset of his campaign in July. Would-be competitors have until Oct. 4 to enter the race, with the winner scheduled to be announced on Dec. 3.

At an Aug. 7 campaign event in my local riding of Powell River-Sunshine Coast – whose MLA, Nick Simons, was among those who have endorsed the leadership race’s sole contender – Eby told me that the majority of MLAs who haven’t endorsed him only declined to do so for reasons related to their roles in the NDP caucus.

“I think the reason why I have such broad support among the caucus is we all just want to get on with the work,” Eby told The Maple. “We don't want to spend our time on a divisive leadership race and focusing on our differences.”

Somewhat comically, the NDP are currently running a Facebook ad inviting British Columbians to join the party so they can “choose the next Premier of B.C.” At this point, there isn’t a choice.

With Eby’s path to the premier’s office looking more like a coronation than a “contest,” I asked him if having another competitor in the race would give his prospective premiership more legitimacy.

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