MLA John Horgan (centre) wants to be the next leader of the B.C. NDP. You can meet him on Saturday

Former ‘King of Hearts’ deals for NDP’s top job

The MLA for Juan de Fuca is taking his second crack at running for leader of the New Democrats

B.C. NDP leadership hopeful John Horgan is stopping by the city on Saturday.

The MLA for Juan de Fuca is taking his second crack at running for leader of the New Democrats who hold a leadership convention Sept. 28 in Vancouver.

Horgan will be at the Campbell River Labour Hall to discuss his vision and to hear concerns from the public. His leadership bid is supported by North Island MLA Claire Trevena and several other MLAs.

On Wednesday, Horgan spoke with the Mirror by phone for a Q&A session:

Question: Who or what made you join the NDP?

John Horgan: I joined the NDP in 1983 during the solidarity movement. I was  part of the 20,000 people on the front lawn of the legislature…I also met Tommy Douglas when I was an undergraduate. It was the social gospel and his views on social justice that impressed me…I’ve been here ever since.

Q: Tell us about your first election victory.

J.H.: 2005 (pauses and laughs), well I was elected The King of Hearts in my  Grade 1 class for Valentine’s Day in 1966! But 2005 was my first real election victory for the former riding of Malahat/Juan de Fuca. I won by eight per cent and we’ve increased that margin ever since.

Q: What does the NDP need to do differently to attract votes?

J.H.: We need to be relevant to people’s lives and that involves talking about the economy…we need to do a better job.

Q: How would you manage BC Hydro rates and get out of unfavourable IPP (independent power producers) contracts?

J.H.: Had we won the election, I would have reviewed each contract to see if it’s in the public interest, but now we have three more years of paying above-market rates.

Q: What do you say to Mike Harcourt in light of his recent criticism and leaving the party?

J.H.: To Mike? I’ve been saying a lot lately. I consider him a friend and mentor and I see it as as an opportunity…I think Mike has done us a favour…and he’s entitled to say whatever he wants. And it’s a lesson: You have to earn that vote! One of the failures of the past campaign was we assumed the polls were correct and that everyone who had voted NDP in the past would do so again. That was clearly not the case.

Q: What makes you stay in politics?

J.H.: I was pretty down in the fall…I expected we were going to win. What makes me stay is the people I represent…hearing their dreams and aspirations and different points of view. Mike Harcourt was successful because he understood what every portion of the province needs…when you listen to people from different regions and their ideas, you can retell those stories and ideas to people in other areas…it’s something I think I’m good at…I also feel that as a cancer survivor I try and make a difference.

  • MLA John Horgan will be at the Campbell River Labour Hall, 830-14th Ave., on Saturday from from 2-4 p.m.