Thursday, May 01, 2014

Why New Democrat John Horgan Can Win BC's Next Election - and the Challenges He Faces

New BCNDP leader John Horgan
Horgan is absolutely the best person to take on Clark's formidable Liberals.

Bill Tieleman’s 24 Hours Vancouver / The Tyee column

Tuesday April 28, 2014
By Bill Tieleman
"A good leader needs to have a compass in his head and a bar of steel in his heart."
- Author Robert Townsend
On Thursday at 5:01 p.m., John Horgan is likely to be declared the next leader of British Columbia's New Democratic Party, and will launch his drive to become the province's next premier in the May 2017 election.

UPDATE May 1:  John Horgan - Juan de Fuca MLA - is now the new BC NDP leader. 
But the three years in between will determine if Horgan has the right stuff to end the NDP's string of four consecutive election losses in a row, and lead a party that has been shut out in all but three of the elections it has ever contested.
That's a tough test, but I believe Horgan is absolutely the best person to challenge BC Liberal Premier Christy Clark and win.
It's why I sent Horgan, whom I've known for 22 years, a personal and private email in February strongly encouraging him to reconsider his decision to drop-out of the NDP leadership race in October 2013 and re-enter the contest to replace Adrian Dix.
I was not alone, and Horgan only came back when a wide range of people persuaded him.
After MLA Mike Farnworth, the only other declared contender, gracefully bowed out of his own run in favour of Horgan, the NDP leadership was effectively decided.
The nomination deadline ends Thursday at 5 p.m., and with a $25,000 non-refundable entry fee, Horgan should be the only candidate.
But can Horgan succeed in the much more difficult task of uniting the party, finding policies with public appeal, encouraging new voters and beating the formidable campaigner Clark?
I'm betting on it for three good reasons.
Charm, experience, united support
One: Horgan has a winning personality, charisma and charm.
He is a natural, energetic campaigner who genuinely enjoys meeting people, talking politics and getting his message out.
Two: Horgan has a realistic perspective on where British Columbia needs to go, in our economy and society.
An MLA since 2005 and through his work as chief-of-staff to former NDP premier and cabinet minister Dan Miller, Horgan understands that B.C.'s success is based on resource extraction and exports as well as tourism and high-tech industries.
The delicate balance the NDP needs between jobs and the environment is essential to its success in 2017.
Three: Good will. NDP morale was crushed in the 2013 election, when apparently sure victory turned into bitter defeat through a failed campaign that squandered a substantial lead in the polls.
While some media observers claim an NDP "coronation" with no battle for leader is bad for the party, the successful examples of Dave Barrett and Mike Harcourt as the party's first and second elected premiers -- nominated unopposed as opposition leaders -- shows otherwise. A united, focused party can win.
The NDP can now avoid spending money, resources and energy in a divisive fight between opponents who hail from the same family.
Farnworth's impressive decision to spare the party a battle means the NDP has nearly half a year extra to focus on winning in 2017.
With potential candidates like Vancouver-Point Grey MLA David Eby previously bowing out to start a family this year and MP Nathan Cullen deciding to stay in Ottawa for the 2015 federal election battle against Stephen Harper's Conservatives, the acrimony all leadership fights bring is missing.
Mad as hell at BC Libs
Pundits who claim the BC NDP leadership wasn't worth fighting over completely neglect the fact that the party is within striking range of winning majority government, needing to turn over just nine seats.
It may well be that by the end of 2014, B.C. New Democrats are in the best position of any provincial sister party, with Canada's only NDP government in Manitoba at severe risk of defeat, Ontario's NDP running third, Nova Scotia's NDP devastated by the bitter defeat of its one-term only government under ex-premier Darrell Dexter in 2013, and Saskatchewan's NDP out of power since 2007.
Could anything go wrong? Of course! It's happened too many times before. But some of the criticism of the BC NDP is baseless or exaggerated.
Those who say the NDP should have a younger leader forget that at 54, Horgan is far younger than ex-premier Gordon Campbell, who was 63 when he retired after 10 years in office, and is just six years older than Clark.
Horgan's shrewd recruitment of MLAs Eby, 37, and Michelle Mungall, 36, as campaign co-chairs shows an appreciation for youth in the NDP.
Others question Horgan's temperament, and I did that myself back in 2007.
But I like that Horgan is passionate, and at times fiery, in his anger at what the BC Liberals have done in office.
The BC NDP needs a leader who is outraged at the disastrous way the Ministry of Children and Family Development abandons our most needy and vulnerable, who is furious that Clark's B.C. Jobs Plan is an empty shell filled with expensive, taxpayer-funded advertising, who is mad as hell that the B.C. legislature sat for just 36 days last year and went 200 days without a session.
Horgan will find a ready audience with British Columbians who share his anger at government ineptness and inaction.
Time to make trouble
The BC NDP caucus is full of MLAs who can make trouble for the BC Liberals -- maybe one reason the legislature rarely sits, and also at times for their own leader.
But Horgan's emergence as the consensus, unchallenged leadership candidate gives him significant clout in the caucus room, and NDP MLAs who want to be in government at last will have good reason to strongly back their new leader. 

Horgan has the skills, abilities and now opportunity to become premier of British Columbia. It will be up to him and the BC NDP to achieve what has been a tantalizingly close but elusive victory.



Anonymous said...

It will be none of those. The NDP needs to shake the indecisions that are rampant in that party and end the perpetual pandering to the environmentalists and the public sector unions. The NDP needs to be balanced resource development minding environment while ensuring good paying resource jobs are there for the economy.

There needs to be a rebuild of the NDP Caucus, who gets what critic post, some NDPers should be relieved of their current posts, and others moved in.

Horgan will have to ensure that Farnworth is at a senior position perhaps Deputy Opposition Leader.

The more left wing of the NDP such as those showing on the Tyee need to wise up and face reality, this is not the 1990s NDP.

In addition, the NDP does need to get back to its former glory that is being a real Party of Opposition and go after the NDP like the NDP did go after Social Credit, hit and hit hard when it counts.

The NDP also needs to come up with policies that will not be accepted by the choir, but by the voters who would never touch the NDP.

Do that, and government can be yours. But its Horgan's to handle.
Up to him to make it work.

Anonymous said...

Dix refused to stoop to Christy Clark's level of underhanded tactics and that cost him dearly.

BC is one of the most corrupt provinces in Canada and has been since, Gordon Campbell's reign of terror. Campbell twice lied and cheated to win his elections too. He worked hand in hand with Harper, to dismantle and destroy BC.

Christy Clark campaigned on, thousands of jobs for BC. Which is an out and out blatant lie.

I believe Horgan does have the toughness of mind, to challenge Christy Clark with her lies and deceit, corruption and cheating to win. However, the BC Liberals work for Harper and are his satellite party.

Horgan will have his work cut out for him. And, one hell of a mess to clean-up, that will be left by the Liberals.

DPL said...

Anon mentioned the other contender Farnsworth who stepped aside and how he should be Opposition Deputy Leader. Let's not forget Adrian Dix , the guy who has knowledge of many subjects and it showed in his questioning Liberal decisions. Adrian for Deputy Leader will be a good decision. Farnsworth as House Leader, so watch out Ms.Photo Ops and group.

Anonymous said...

DPL, really? Adrian Dix? His questioning Liberal decisions? Adrian's questioning of the Liberals was like questioning the shop steward at a union shop meeting about how much beer will be arriving at the union BBQ.

C'mon DPL you can do better than that.

I'd place Dix as a Critic and make Farnworth Deputy Leader. It would be smarter.

The only time Ms Photo Ops and group would take notice of the NDP is after they finally get their rear in gear and end the internal decisiveness and be a party that actually wants to work to become government, not one simply because they hate Honey Boo Boo and company.

DPL said...

It's nice to see that Anon is reading the blog.Yes Adrian will be a great critic no matter which seat he gets to sit in. Farnsworth is no slouch in or out of question period, but it's up to the new leader, in consultation with the caucus to decide such things. I can't understand the comment about "internal decisiveness and want to work to become government" Every party wants to become government,just ask the Green's. And some tell pretty big fibs to get there,Thousands of jobs in maybe 10 years, then suddenly their big ideas seem to fade. Does Anon figure that a group BBQ at any party is much different.Nice new name for Clark"Honey Boo Boo"sort of fits too.
The Globe has a couple of interesting articles today about the new NDP Leader

Anonymous said...

DPL widen the peripheral vision. The NDP has been plagued with internal decisiveness and hidden agendas. It has blocked them from being government because a few go off in different directions. Adrian did himself. The Greens would never be government in BC, they don't see the reality.

Get with the game, and end the perpetual whining about Premier Honey Boo Boo and get to it to come up with something the voters will go for and yes that does mean resource based jobs.

The NDP needs to get out of the 1980s and the supporters who perpetually whine and complain on "indedependent journalism" blogs such as this and left wing The Tyee, need to contirbute to the NDP's direction. Complaining about the BC Liberals and not offering solutions that are workable is being lazy. The NDP will never become government if all the members and supporters do is whine and complain. All that will do is add to Bill's whine cellar.

DPL said...

Let's just wait awhile and see how things go. I don't believe that ALL of the members and supporters whine and complain.The NDP lost the election for a few reasons, as mentioned. It's all about jobs should be written on all candidates forehead. But the outright lies coming from the government side during the campaign should have got more folks to support the NDP. The number of votes between the two parties are usually not that far apart. The bit about Bill's wine cellar was pretty cute and might send more people over to that blog.

Anonymous said...

No time to wait. The NDP did that before, and it didn't work. The time to start doing is today. The time to whining was yesterday.

Much easier to whine than to do.

There's no reason to constantly blame the lies from the BC Liberals for the NDPs defeat. That's like someone who speeds blaming the straight stretch of road as the excuse.

Face facts the NDP had the election in the bag. The whole province knew it, you knew it, Bill knew it. The only one who didn't was Adrian Dix and his blindly loyal supporters.

No need to send people to Bill's other blog.

Welcome to Bill's Whine Cellar, DPL. You'll find some of the best BC Whines right here. There's exqusite vintage whines at the Tyee too.

e.a.f. said...

The NDP needs to get to work on reforming the party. The extremists need to go. People in this province need jobs. That may mean some environmentalists will have their noses out of joint. If they can't deal with it, the greens will be happy to have them. People want jobs. If we don't have jobs, the rate of child poverty will continue to rise. That isn't good for kids and it won't be good for the rest of us,,when these kids are teenagers.

Jobs maybe as simple as declaring, you get governmentfunding, you pay a living wage. That would put a stop to the constant firing of workers in assisted care homes, when they are bought and sold. i.e. 120 lost their jobs in Campbell River and 284 in Duncan. New owner, all fired, new contracts let. That needs to stop.

Spend some money on new schools and no P3s. They cost money because a company, usually a foreign national is making a profit.

We need an opposition like Dave Barretts or when the NDP was left with only Joy MacPhail and Jenny Kwan, and no party status. Those two women did more work, than most of the current NDP MLAs put together.

Some like Sue Hammel need to retire. The nominations need to be opened to the community, not handed down like a dynasty. The NDP needs to not only look open, but be open.

The party needs to get rid of its old style, gender balance representation. We need the best new young candidate out there. Yes that is young. Most of the older ones are just too comfortable in their jobs. They look like they have just taken it for granted they will be there forever. Yes, I know the jobs pay well, but its time to let some one else have a go at it. All of the not to functional old ones need to retire.

The party needs to get its message out. Now given the MSM isn't going to give the NDP the assistance they give the lieberals, the NDP is going to have to come up with a new strategy and it better be aimed at including a new generation of voters. They are out there. They are trying to find jobs, raise kids, find a place to live. Appeal to them, educate them, and get them to buy into voting counts.

Anonymous said...

Not bad, at least one NDPer has his head on the correct way. Has a grasp of the realities out there. Good jobs also mean resource jobs, so the NDP needs to focus on good resource based development with balancing protecting the environment.

If the NDP does not get its act together rest assured it could possibly end up as it did in 2001, with just two members. David Eby and Spencer Chandra Herbert for example.

Then guess what happens. You start all over again. Blame the BC Liberals. Sure. It is all their fault the NDP lost once again. It sthe BC Lbierals fault the NDP lost in 2013. Perpetually whine about that and everything that is not in favour of the NDP, the Tyee and its followers. On and on it goes.

Vanstar said...

I can't for the life of me, Bill, understand why you and your hard core NDP Faithful are stuck on Glen Clark but the voters aren't. Can't you get that, Bill? The people you support, Bill, are not electable. Horgan signed off on Dix's Golden Handshake. He is not electable for that reason.

The NDP has tossed away three elections due to their inability to think outside their echo-chamber.

Bill Tieleman said...

Vanstar - wrong on all counts. I'm not "stuck" on Glen Clark - and he's done better than any former BC Premier from any party. And the people I support are eminently electable: Mike Harcourt, Glen Clark, Larry Campbell, Gregor Robertson and many more at other levels.

The NDP in BC has lost winnable campaigns 3 times - on that we agree - and I've written here.

John Horgan has every opportunity to win in 2017 with discipline and the right campaign.

Vanstar said...

You are not "stuck" on Glen Clark? Read what you wrote, Bill.

"and he's done better than any former BC Premier from any party"

He reduced his party to rump of TWO seats, Bill. What are you smoking?

Bill Tieleman said...

Nice try Vanstar - I meant rather obviously that Glen Clark is President of Pattison Group and no other former BC Premier has had his success in career after leaving office - with no offence to any of them either.

You are trying to change what I said but it doesn't work that way. Realistically, no Premier has left on great terms or with their party in good shape - not W.A.C. Bennett, Dave Barrett or anyone else since.

Vanstar said...

The point I am trying to make Bill, is you consistently support candidates that cannot win. There is no way Dix could win, but you annotited him as the Second Coming.

Horgan cannot win, as he signed Dix's golden handshake. The Liberals jumped with joy with Dix was annointed (in a pretty sleazy way, I man add, in Staplergate) and they are equally happy about Horigan. A floor mop can beat him. Problem is, in your Glen Clark echo chamber, you can't realise it.