Mike Farnworth emerging as front runner in NDP leadership contest

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Mike Farnworth (2nd from left) with MP Jinny Sims, and MLAs Harry Bains and Raj Chouhan.
 

MIKE Farnworth, whom Asian Journal supported in the last NDP leadership contest but who apparently got a raw deal because of mass sign-ups by Adrian Dix’s camp, is once again emerging as the front runner in the upcoming NDP leadership race as another serious contender, John Horgan, announced on Wednesday that he’s bowing out.
 
Horgan (Juan de Fuca) surprised everyone in the last leadership contest when he came up very strong in the end. But polls during that contest clearly showed that Farnworth (Port Coquitlam) had the most support among voters and if he had been elected the leader instead of Dix, many believe he would have been the premier today.
 
Horgan’s suggestion to the media that a member of the party’s “next generation” should take over looks like a case of sour grapes. He should be mature enough to know that politics is not about age, but about a leader who is mature enough to be trusted by voters like Farnworth is.
 
Farnworth told me on Thursday: “I am actively, seriously considering running. I haven’t made a final decision but I am talking to people and John’s announcement yesterday clearly changed the dynamic in the sense that there were a number of MLAs who were supporting him, so I’m going to be talking to them as well.”
 
Asian Journal has suggested that MPs should stay out of the leadership race.
 
When I asked Farnworth what he thought of MPs entering the race, he replied: “Anyone who’s a member of the NDP is eligible to run and I know some MPs are looking at it. Clearly they’ve got to be looking at the timeline because there is a federal election in 2015. Besides, it doesn’t surprise me that MPs are taking a look at running or considering running.”
 
Asian Journal has also supported the idea of some kind of regional weightage because of distortions and vote scams caused by mass sign-ups.
 
When I asked Farnworth about what he thought about a regional weightage system, he said: “I know the executive of the party is looking at the rules and the dates of the leadership convention and so clearly that will have a bearing. I know we are ‘one member, one vote.’ So I think what the party has to do is to ensure that during the sign-up period the memberships that come in are actual valid memberships. I think that’s the key thing that people want to make sure happens.”
 
So he wasn’t interested in a regional weightage system?
 
Farnworth replied: “If they decide to do that, I wouldn’t have a problem with it, but that’s not something that I have any control over. That’s what the executive have to decide. So whatever they decide is fine by me.”
 
In the last leadership contest, Farnworth had the support of South Asian MLAs Harry Lali and Jagrup Brar, while Dix had the backing of Harry Bains. MLA Raj Chouhan remained neutral.
 
When I asked Farnworth if he was going to reach out to the South Asian community too, he replied: “Oh, absolutely, absolutely. I think that the next leader of the NDP should be someone who is electable, who can win an election, and that means being appealing or being able to attract votes all over British Columbia. And I think it’s particularly important that the NDP is able to attract votes from the South Asian community, the [East] Asian community, right across B.C.”