John Horgan is the first serious candidate in what has been the NDP leadership crawl. Does he have a chance of winning? Let us consider. First, his bio at http://www.johnhorgan.ca offers:
“John Horgan was re-elected as the MLA for Juan de Fuca on May 12, 2009. John was previously elected as the MLA for Malahat – Juan de Fuca on May 17, 2005. John serves as Opposition Critic for Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources. He is a member of the Legislature’s Standing Committee on Finance and is Deputy Chair of the Crown Corporations Committee.
“John was born and raised in Victoria. He attended Trent University in Ontario and received a Bachelor of Arts degree. He then moved to Australia and completed a Master of Arts degree at Sydney University.
“A former long time public servant, John began his career working in the House of Commons. He returned to British Columbia in the 1990’s to work for the Harcourt government.
“In 2001, John, with his partners, started a management and research consulting company.
“John and his wife Ellie have two sons who attend the University of Victoria.”
That describes a well-educated BC-born citizen with loads of political and governmental experience who has been sufficiently respected by colleagues to serve in senior frontbench roles. Pundit Palmer says this about Horgan:
“John Horgan, energy critic. One of the hardest-nosed and best informed members of caucus on policy matters. Would eat dissidents for breakfast. Probably the front-runner, if he runs.”
Paul Willcocks, a straight shooter himself compared to his media colleagues, lauded Horgan for avoiding blather and determinedly saying nothing, as would many MLAs. Willcocks gave rather rare praise about Horgan’s style:
“Honesty and straight talk are refreshing.”
Make no mistake, Horgan is a strong candidate. However, the ruling party dissidents have already signaled that Horgan may be unacceptable. Former – and ambitious to be again – éminence grise Bob Williams told The Georgia Straight in December,
“The qualities of the new NDP leader should be to get out and understand and enjoy the province and listen to the people because the people are aching for something difficult and I think in the Interior especially, that means empowering them.
“Victoria’s too much isolated from the Interior and the North and so I think the NDP has to reflect on that. Having a leader from Victoria is problematic. It’s much too isolated.”
Of course, many observers note that Carol James was criticized by associates of the would-be godfather for spending too much time and attention traveling the hinterlands at the expense of time in spotlights of the mainstream media. However, we can ignore the first part of William’s comment because he never earned a compliment like the one Paul Willcocks directed at Horgan.
However, Mr. Williams, nemesis of Carole James, hangs a dangerous X across Horgan’s campaign office with the statement that Victoria is much too isolated to produce the party’s next leader. That is an indicator that the dissidents have someone else in mind.
Categories: John Horgan