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REPORTING · 5th January 2011
Merv Ritchie
The NDP Party of BC has been relatively quite over the celebratory end of the year/Christmas period regarding their leadership candidates. The Liberals on the other hand are working their news release producing machine at full tilt. Only one NDP candidate has officially stepped forward to offer his soul to the media scalpel yet it seems the Liberals are tripping over themselves.

The first candidates forward are virtual unknowns. In the case of the Liberals it was Moria Stilwell, and the NDP, still the only one official runner for Carol James’ job is Dana Larsen.

Some NDP are officially stating they will not run for the job, such as Peter Julian as did Skeena MLA and Education Critic, Robin Austin.

The word around the political circles indicates the race could become busy with a potential six more NDP names joining Dana Larsen; Nicolas Simon, John Horgan, Mike Farnsworth, Adrian Dix, Harry Lali and Doug Routley.

None of this is confirmed however Nicholas Simons, the NDP MLA for Powell River-Sunshine Coast, has scheduled a media event for today to apparently launch his campaign.

Virtually all of the Liberal Candidates are refusing to endorse a public inquiry into the BC Rail and Legislature raid scandal which has the public incensed about the court process and the apparent corruption rampant in the Liberal wings. Even Christy Clark, the most popular front runner is implicated in the scandal with her family connections being deeply implicated. She has been accused of using her attractive features and charm to brush off serious questions. Only George Abbott, MLA for the Shuswap, stated he was prepared to consider an inquiry into the fiasco. He suggested it should be looked into by a third party, meaning an investigative body not connected to the government. Abbott was elected to the legislature in 1996 after serving as the Chair of the Columbia Shuswap Regional District for 10 years.

Liberal candidate Kevin Falcon is already creating a hostile environment, effectively following up on the Gordon Campbell style by attacking the teachers. He suggested yesterday they should be paid by the score results achieved by students on standardized testing. The teacher’s federation claims this will reduce the overall quality of the education where the subjects taught would more likely then focus on the subjects related to those on the test papers.

NDP Candidate Dana Larson is being singled out for his pro cannabis stance and even the NDP are attempting to distance themselves. He speaks clearly and forthright about his desire to see the criminality taken out of the personal use of intoxicants. In an interview with CBC he explained his position. He questioned why the governments would spend millions of dollars in criminal charges and investigations against individuals who were using drugs. If people were only involving themselves, taking the drugs, there should be no need for criminal charges.

CBC put a short video clip up on their website featuring an in depth interview with Larson. View it HERE.

The NDP face another problem. The constitution of the party states a woman must be in one of the three top party positions. Currently the other two positions, the Party President and the Party Treasurer are held by men. As no woman is yet indicating her desire to follow James to the media scalpel it would appear the President, Moe Sihota, is the most likely candidate to be pressured to resign to make room for a woman to hold the Presidency. Jenny Kwan maybe; unless she puts her name forward as leader, which she previously stated she wouldn’t.