Columbia River–Revelstoke MLA Norm Macdonald said he will not be running for NDP leadership, and would support Mike Farnworth should he choose to run in the race to replace Adrian Dix as leader.
“I thought Adrian did a fantastic job but I also thought Mike would have been great and I haven’t changed that view,” Macdonald told the Revelstoke Times Review. “He’s very capable. The things he talks about will resonate with people in our area. If he decides to put his name forward, I will offer my support.”
Dix announced on Wednesday that he was resigning as leader of the B.C. NDP, but would stay on until a new leader was found.
Macdonald said the announcement wasn’t a surprise. He called Dix “the smartest guy in the room” and said the NDP had been very effective in the house with Dix as the leader.
“There was no question with Adrian we had somebody who was very bright and very hard working and would have been a wonderful Premier,” said Macdonald, but, he added, the NDP needed to have a leader who could make up the voting gap with the Liberals.
“There’s no question in the campaign to come close isn’t good enough,” he said. “We really are talking about three or four per cent difference between the Liberals and the NDP and that’s a difference we need to make up.”
He said the next leader will need to be able to connect with British Columbians so the party can get the support it needs to win the next election in 2017.
Macdonald expects the next leader to come from one of the major political centres of the province, meaning Victoria or Vancouver, and said he didn’t think he could raise the money or get the exposure he would need to make a run at the leadership.
“While Revelstoke and Golden are at the centre of our world, it’s not the centre of political life in British Columbia,” he said.
He expects Farnworth, the MLA for Port Coquitlam, and John Horgan, the MLA for Juan de Fuca, to run. Farnworth, who finished second in the 2011 leadership race, told reporters he is considering running again.
Macdonald supported Farnworth in the last leadership race.
“I think we’ll get other members of caucus and possibly people from outside of caucus,” Macdonald said. “There’s a lot of talent and people that will do a very good job. They’ll have a chance to have a serious look at it and decide if they want to take on the challenge.
“I’m confident we’ll have some good candidates.”