Rice wins NDP nomination

  • Jan. 30, 2013 9:00 a.m.

Prince Rupert city councillor and environmental activist Jennifer Rice will be the NDP candidate for the North Coast riding in the May 14 provincial election. NDP members selected Ms Rice at a nomination meeting Jan. 26 in Prince Rupert. Ms Rice received 180 votes while the only other candidate, Prince Rupert teachers’ union president Joanna Larson, received 116. Most of the votes were cast at the meeting but members also had the option of mailing in their ballots. There are a significant number of NDP members on Haida Gwaii, enough that both candidates visited the islands earlier this month to campaign for support. MLA Gary Coons, who won the riding for the NDP in 2005 and again in 2009 but is retiring this year, said the nomination meeting was exciting, with guest speaker and MLA Jenny Kwan entertaining the crowd with stories. “We had two excellent candidates and a full house of 150 people,” he said. Mr. Coons said he is a friend of both Ms Larson and Ms Rice and had to be very careful what he said over the past few weeks. “Both candidates are very close friends of mine,” he said. “I was basically not seen or heard during the whole campaign.” Reflecting back on his first win in 2005, Mr. Coons said he had to hit the ground running in Victoria, with virtually no help. The NDP had been reduced to holding only two seats in the election before that, and had lost its opposition status, so there was pretty much no staff to help orient the brand new MLAs. And the previous MLA, Bill Belsey, a Liberal, didn’t share any of his constituency files with Mr. Coons. “It should be a lot easier for Jen when she does get elected,” he said. “It will be a lot easier transition.” But, he added, the NDP won’t be taking this riding for granted. Anything can happen in an election. So far, the NDP is the only party in the North Coast riding that has selected its candidate.