Rachel Blaney

‘We need to come together as a party and move forward’ – MP Blaney reflects on NDP convention

One day after the federal NDP voted to look for a new leader, North Island-Powell River MP Rachel Blaney  expressed confidence that her party can move forward.

Blaney was at the federal NDP convention April 8-10 in Edmonton where, on the final day, delegates voted 52 per cent to 48 per cent to embark on a leadership election. Tom Mulcair indicated he will stay on as party leader until his successor is chosen, a process that could take up to two years.

Blaney sees the leadership vote as an example of how her party gives members a chance to have their say.

“I think what I appreciate the most is we have a party that’s based on grassroots engagement,” she said April 11. “We gathered last weekend for lively debate and enjoyed discussion on issues that are important to all of us. I am a great admirer of Tom and I think it’s important that we thank him for the tireless work he’s done for our party and our country. We’ve heard from the membership and now we have to move forward.”

Blaney says the atmosphere was “very solemn and respectful” on April 10 when Mulcair addressed the delegates after the vote was announced.

“We stood with Tom and he spoke of moving forward and unity and our job now is to get on with the important work of representing our constituents,” she said. “It was a very respectful audience, which I appreciated. I really admired Tom and his strength of focusing on that, that we need to come together as a party and move forward. And I feel that we will.”

Blaney says she appreciated the work Mulcair did and she really appreciated his passion for people and for working hard.

“I really appreciated during my time as a candidate how many times he came to the riding; he came to some of the remote parts of our riding and I appreciated his dedication,” she said, adding that Mulcair came to the riding often enough that people felt they knew who he was.

When she looks ahead, Blaney is confident the NDP can move forward with energy and hope.

“I think we’re just going to work tirelessly to rebuild, renew and strengthen this party that we love so much,” she said. “The next chapter begins today and I know New Democrats across Canada will move forward united together, that was the feeling I left with and I know we will continue to work hard.”

Blaney feels inspired by attending the convention.

“It was amazing,” she said. “We had some wonderful speakers. I really appreciated hearing Stephen Lewis, Rachel Notley and Cindy Blackstock. It was inspiring to hear from these people who are working hard to make our country a better country.”

Blaney says there were many heated debates throughout the convention and she was glad for the opportunity for differing voices to be heard.

“I always appreciate that we make the time to have these difficult conversations,” she said. “It was quite inspiring to hear some of that conversation.”

One of the much-publicized topics debated at the convention was the Leap Manifesto, “a call for a Canada based on caring for the Earth and one another.” Among other things, the manifesto calls for full implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, a move to getting 100 per cent of the country’s electricity from renewable resources and states “there is no longer an excuse for building new infrastructure projects that lock us into increased extraction decades into the future,” including oil and gas pipelines.

“That was a fantastic debate we had and I really liked where we went with it,” said Blaney.

The party did not endorse the manifesto but agreed to consider it, deciding that NDP riding associations across the country will come together with the ridership and ask New Democrats to look at the manifesto.

“We are at a place where across Canada, New Democrats are going to be having that conversation,” said Blaney. “I think the goal is next convention to have a report back from the multiple riding associations. It was an exciting debate and heated and wonderful and I appreciate taking the time. I think it’s important.”


Just Posted

Land-based aquaculture proponent gets Haig-Brown Conservation Award

Eric Hobson known for financing and building Kuterra in partnership with ‘Namgis First Nation

La Familia gets Campbell River’s River City Arts Festival swaying to the music

Campbell River Arts Festival was treated to the sounds of Latin music… Continue reading

Disaster risk reduction course open to Campbell River high school students this fall

SRD protective services coordinator hopes program will eventually become integrated into curriculum

Large sections of Baikie Island Nature Reserve in Campbell River still in need of major attention

Greenways Land Trust has been looking for almost $1 million to address south side of conservancy

VIDEO: Break-in third this year at Indigenous art stores in Campbell River

Awatin Aboriginal Arts robbed for second time in 2019; Wei Wai Kum House of Treasures robbed in June

VIDEO: Bystander training gains traction as tool to prevent sexual harassment, violence

Julia Gartley was sexually assaulted after an event, and no one stepped in to help

Sexual assaults, extortion on the rise even as crime rates stay low: Stats Canada

Rates of police-reported sexual assault rose for the fourth year in a row

Vancouver Island teens missing after vehicle found ablaze near Dease Lake, BC

RCMP say a body discovered nearby not one of the missing teens

Comox Strathcona Waste Management compares landfill costs in region

Staff report shows economies of scale mean waste costs less in the Comox Valley

A year later, ceremony commemorates victims of the Danforth shooting

It’s the one-year anniversary of when a man opened fire along the bustling street before shooting and killing himself

Japanese Canadians call on B.C. to go beyond mere apology for historic racism

The federal government apologized in 1988 for its racism against ‘enemy aliens’

B.C. VIEWS: NDP pushes ahead with Crown forest redistribution

This isn’t the time for a radical Indigenous rights agenda

Two dead in two-vehicle crash between Revelstoke and Golden

RCMP are investigating the cause of the crash

Most Read