NDP Leader John Horgan gestures during a campaign stop at Stanley Park in Vancouver on Friday, October 2, 2020. A provincial election will be held in British Columbia on October 24. nbsp;It’s still a long way from election day in British Columbia, but one thing is certain after the Oct. 24 vote, there will be at least 15 new faces in the legislature. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

New faces bring renewal, political opportunity after B.C.’s Oct. 24 election

Those not seeking re-election for the NDP, Liberals and Greens leave the door wide open for new candidates

It’s still a long way from election day in British Columbia, but one thing is certain after the Oct. 24 vote, there will be at least 15 new faces in the legislature.

The number of people not seeking re-election for the New Democrats, Liberals and Greens leaves the door wide open for political opportunity and party renewal, say political experts.

Among those not seeking re-election in the 87-seat legislature are seven New Democrat cabinet ministers and seven Liberals, two of whom were first elected in the 1990s.

Former Green party leader Andrew Weaver, who left earlier this year to sit as an Independent, won’t be running after serving two terms in the Oak Bay-Gordon Head riding.

Prof. Gerald Baier, a Canadian politics expert at the University of B.C., said he considered it strange the number of incumbent New Democrats who decided not to run this fall, especially with the party ahead in the polls.

“Usually, that attracts a lot of people who want to stick around,” he said in an interview. “I was actually surprised by the number of the people who had been in opposition and now that they are in government and they are tired of it that quickly.”

Among the NDP cabinet ministers not running are Judy Darcy, Doug Donaldson, Scott Fraser, Michelle Mungall, Shane Simpson and Claire Trevena.

The portfolios they held included: forests, energy, mental health and addictions, poverty reduction, transportation and Indigenous relations.

Finance Minister Carole James announced last March she would not be running in the 2020 election for health reasons.

The departure of seven Liberal MLA’s, including veterans Rich Coleman, Linda Reid and Ralph Sultan, gives Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson the opportunity to put a new face on his party, said Prof. Kimberly Speers, a Canadian politics expert at University of Victoria.

“Certainly, those who have served a political party as an elected member for a long time, sometimes they can also be seen as the old guard,” she said. “If they’ve been affiliated with a previous leader or thinking within a party, sometimes a new leader or new members might think it’s time to get rid of the old guard.”

READ MORE: NDP promise ICBC rebate as BC Liberals pledge to hold referendum on Surrey policing

Baier said the NDP turnover gives party Leader John Horgan the chance at renewal for his group while offering opportunities for his members.

The current NDP vacancies allow Horgan, if the NDP is re-elected, to promote from his backbench or reward newly elected members of the legislature, said Baier, adding members Sheila Malcolmson and Bowinn Ma are possible new ministers.

The candidacy of three former federal New Democrat members of Parliament: Fin Donnelly, Murray Rankin and Nathan Cullen, also provides Horgan with the possibility of having three experienced politicians who could be potential cabinet ministers, Baier said.

But the possible arrival of new NDP faces may also force Horgan to change his political style of leaving ministers on their own to handle their duties as he has done with James and Health Minister Adrian Dix during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It might mean he may be a little more hands-on, because certainly the feeling was with James and Dix he could just leave them in those jobs,” Baier said. “He’s had utter confidence in them because he’s known them since they were puppies.”

With the Liberals, the departures of Donna Barnett, Linda Larson, John Yap, Steve Thomson and Sultan, Reid and Coleman, gives Wilkinson the chance to renew the party, but he may not have much time, said Baier.

“The question is, is Wilkinson making the party in his own image? I don’t know,” Baier said. “I think people still don’t have a good grip on who he is.”

Speers said the COVID-19 pandemic may have played a part in decisions made by the politicians not to run again.

“I think it’s given everybody a time to reflect and perhaps revamp their priorities in terms of what is really important,” she said.

Dirk Meissner, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

BC politicsBC Votes 2020

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

’Herbert’ Shane Hartman with his daughter Isla. (Shane Hartman Facebook photo)
Love for daughter and drumming leads to author’s first book

Shane Hartman spent very spare moment writing and illustrating Isla’s New Drum

“We have to make a call out to address this now so our people don’t have to feel fearful,” said Tribal Chief Mina Holmes. (Carrier Sekani Tribal Council Facebook photo)
Carrier Sekani Tribal Council seeks Indigenous-led task force in northern B.C. hospitals

Request made in an open letter to federal minister Carolyn Bennett

NDP headquarters on election night, Oct. 24, 2020. (Katya Slepian/Black Press Media)
ELECTION 2020: Live blog from B.C. party headquarters

BC NDP projected to win majority government – but celebrations will look different this election

B.C. Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau outlines her party's climate action platform at Nanaimo's Vancouver Island Conference Centre earlier this month. (News Bulletin file photo)
Green leader Furstenau declared victor in her home riding on Vancouver Island

Cowichan Valley voters elect freshly minted party leader for her second term

Submitted
BC VOTES 2020: John Rustad re-elected in Nechako Lakes riding

The result is based on preliminary vote count and the final results will be available after Nov.6

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count jumps by 287, another senior home outbreak

Two more deaths recorded, community outbreak in Okanagan

An untitled Emily Carr painting of Finlayson Point was donated to the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria by brothers Ian and Andrew Burchett. The painting had been in their family for several decades. (Courtesy of the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria)
Never before seen painting by famed B.C. artist Emily Carr gifted to Victoria gallery

Painting among several donated to Art Gallery of Greater Victoria

The B.C. Centre for Disease control is telling people to keep an eye out for the poisonous death cap mushroom, which thrives in fall weather conditions. (Paul Kroeger/BCCDC)
Highly poisonous death cap mushroom discovered in Comox

This marks first discovery on Vancouver Island outside Greater Victoria area

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
Rescued bald eagle that came to life in B.C. man’s car had lead poisoning

Bird is on medication and recovering in rehab centre

Janet Austin, lieutenant governor of B.C., was presented with the first poppy of the Royal Canadian Legion’s 2020 Poppy Campaign on Wednesday. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)
PHOTOS: B.C. Lieutenant Governor receives first poppy to kick off 2020 campaign

Janet Austin ‘honour and a privileged’ to receive the poppy

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Premier-elect John Horgan and cabinet ministers are sworn in for the first time at Government House in Victoria, July 18, 2017. (Arnold Lim/Black Press)
Pandemic payments have to wait for B.C. vote count, swearing-in

Small businesses advised to apply even if they don’t qualify

A raccoon paid a visit to a Toronto Tim Hortons on Oct. 22, 2020. (shecallsmedrew/Twitter)
Who are you calling a trash panda? Raccoon takes a shift at Toronto Tim Hortons

Tim Hortons said animal control was called as soon they saw the surprise visitor

The duffel bags were found to contain 84 pounds of cocaine, valued at approximately $1.2 million and 198 pounds of methamphetamine, valued at approximately $960,000. Photo courtesy U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
2 men accused of fleeing border agents near U.S.-B.C. border with $2M in drugs

Cocaine and methamphetamine seized by U.S. law enforcement in remote Idaho area near Canadian border

Most Read