Opinion Column

Horgan has charisma to win over B.C. 0

Bill Tieleman

By Bill Tieleman, News, Views, and Attitude – 24 hours

BC NDP leadership candidate John Horgan speaks to supports in March. (FILE PHOTO/24 HOURS)

BC NDP leadership candidate John Horgan speaks to supports in March. (FILE PHOTO/24 HOURS)

On Thursday at 5:01 p.m., John Horgan should be declared the next leader of B.C.’s New Democratic Party — launching his drive to become the province’s next premier in the 2017 election.

The three years in between will determine if Horgan has the right stuff to end the BC NDP’s string of four consecutive election losses and lead a party that has lost all but three of the elections it has ever contested.

That’s a tough test — but I believe Horgan is absolutely the best person to challenge BC Liberal Premier Christy Clark and win.

It’s why I sent Horgan — whom I’ve known for 22 years — a personal and private email in February strongly encouraging him to reconsider his decision to drop out of the leadership race last year and re-enter the contest to replace Adrian Dix.

I was not alone. And after MLA Mike Farnworth, the only other declared candidate, gracefully bowed out of the race in favour of Horgan, the NDP leadership was effectively decided.

The nomination deadline ends at 5 p.m. Thursday and Horgan should be the only candidate.

Can Horgan succeed in the more difficult task of uniting the party, finding policies with public appeal, encouraging new voters and beating the formidable campaigner Clark?

I’m betting on it for three good reasons.

One — Horgan has a winning personality, charisma and charm.

Two — Horgan has a realistic perspective on where British Columbia needs to go in our economy and society.

An MLA since 2005, Horgan understands that B.C.’s success is based on resource extraction and exports, as well as tourism and technology. The party’s success requires a delicate balance between jobs and the environment.

Three — goodwill of the party. The successful examples of Dave Barrett and Mike Harcourt — nominated unopposed as opposition leaders and then becoming the party’s first and second elected premiers –– show that a united, focused BC NDP can win.

Horgan has the skills, abilities and now opportunity to become premier — it will be up to him and the party to achieve what has been a tantalizingly close, but elusive victory.

Bill Tieleman is a former NDP strategist. Read his blog at http://billtieleman.blogspot.ca Email: weststar@telus.net Twitter: @BillTieleman

 

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