The North Coast NDP organization, energized by victory in the federal election, is now turning its eye on the provincial race.
The provincial election won’t be held until May17, but an unprecedented five people are already saying they want to run for the NDP nomination, North Coast constituency president Rod Kingsfield told the Observer this week.
Whoever wins the nomination will likely run against Liberal Bill Belsey, the current MLA. The NDP constituency organization is tentatively planning to hold the nomination meeting Feb. 15, Mr. Kingsfield said. He expects that more than the current five candidates will come forward in the next little while, and said he is hoping to see lots of involvement from NDP members on the Charlottes.
Mr. Kingsfield said the NDP organization, which meets the first Thursday of every month in Prince Rupert, was especially excited earlier this month to hear from a chief who lives on the islands. The chief-who Mr. Kingsfield did not want to name until he had his permission-told the group he has previously voted for the provincial Liberals but is now disillusioned with that party, and urged the NDP to start talking to islanders.
“It was electrifying,” Mr. Kingsfield said. “It just blew us all away.”
The NDP will be reaching out to islanders in the near future, he said. He is interested in attracting potential candidates from the islands, and the nomination may include a mail-in ballot, which would allow NDP members on the islands to vote without attending the nomination meeting in Rupert.
The constituency group now needs to sign up 82 new members. Once that happens, he said, it will formally begin the nomination process.
The group will also be busy fundraising in the coming months, he said. The constituency association raised around $50,000 for the federal campaign (which resulted in the election of MP Nathan Cullen), and Mr. Kingsfield said they want to raise even more for the coming provincial campaign.
“All the stops will be pulled out,” he said. “It’s going to be exciting.”
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