Harcourt weighs in on NDP leadership

Former B.C. premier Mike Harcourt (left) worked with Rick Hansen's spinal cord research foundation after Harcourt was injured in a fall at his Pender Island home in 2002.

Former Premier Mike Harcourt has joined the elder statesmen of the B.C. NDP in declaring their choices as party members started voting in advance polls.

Harcourt made a rare political appearance in Vancouver Monday morning to endorse Port Coquitlam MLA Mike Farnworth.

“There are three major candidates running, all good people, any one of whom would make a fine premier,” Harcourt said in a statement released from his Pender Island home. “However, I believe that Mike Farnworth would give the BC NDP the best chance of winning the next election.”

Leadership rival and Juan de Fuca MLA John Horgan added to his endorsement list Monday, as Vancouver-Hastings MLA Shane Simpson became the 10th current MLA supporting him. Simpson said he waited until late in the contest because he is the NDP caucus chair and he wanted to make sure the group was working together after the split that developed over former leader Carole James.

Horgan shrugged off the Harcourt endorsement, saying he spoke to the former premier twice and was told both times Harcourt was staying out of the contest. The endorsement of current MLAs is more significant than the support o “a guy who’s been out of politics for 15 years,” Horgan said.

Vancouver-Kingsway MLA Adrian Dix has announced several union endorsements in recent days, including the president and western vice president of the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union.

Marijuana activist Dana Larsen is also running for the leadership, which will be decided Sunday.

The selection will be the first one-member, one-vote selection of a leader in the B.C. NDP’s history. About 25,000 party members have the option of voting by phone or website this week, or waiting until a series of votes on Sunday. Party members are gathering at the Vancouver Convention Centre for a tribute to former leader Carole James and a convention-style event.

Unlike the recent vote to select B.C. Liberal leader Christy Clark, the NDP event allows for live rounds of voting. If advance votes on a preferential ballot don’t determine a winner, the bottom candidate will be dropped from the ballot and members will vote again until a winner is declared Sunday evening.


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