Vancouver-Mount Pleasant MLA Jenny Kwan was instrumental in triggering the resignation of Carole James as leader of the B.C. NDP, and now she has endorsed Port Coquitlam MLA Mike Farnworth to take over.
Kwan is the 10th current MLA to back Farnworth for the party leadership vote, set for April 17. His supporters also include Nanaimo MLA Leonard Krog, Nanaimo-North Cowichan MLA Doug Routley, Delta North MLA Guy Gentner, Columbia River-Revelstoke MLA Norm Macdonald and Saanich South MLA Lana Popham, all of whom refused to back James last year and forced her to step down.
Making the announcement at a Vancouver housing project developed during the NDP government of the 1990s, Kwan emphasized that both are party veterans who served together in cabinet during those years. The announcement also highlighted the change of approach to low-income housing, when both the federal and provincial governments moved away from directly funding housing projects.
“Christy Clark talks about families first, but the B.C. Liberal government has not built one single unit of family-oriented housing in more than ten years,” Farnworth said.
The announcements come as election speculation ramps up in B.C., with both parties launching new TV ads. The NDP ad satirizes Clark’s selection to succeed Gordon Campbell as premier, using breakfast cereals called Christy Crunch and Campbell Crunch.
The B.C. Liberal government has announced it intends to hold a mail-in referendum on the harmonized sales tax in late June, and Clark has indicated she favours an election as early as this year to seek a new mandate from the public.