Tuesday July 19, 2022 | VANCOUVER, BC [Updated 2:20 pm on July 20, 2022]
by Mary P Brooke | Island Social Trends
The suspense is over. Though many people in the political scene already knew, that BC’s Attorney General David Eby (MLA for Vancouver’s Point Grey) is running to be the next leader of the BC NDP.
Attorney General David Eby has announced this evening that he will be running for leadership of the BC NDP.
His official campaign website went live earlier in the day, and Eby himself went live at 6 pm to make things ‘for sure’. As of this afternoon, no one else had officially announced their intention to run to succeed Horgan.
Eby has over 26,000 followers on Twitter and over 10,000 on Facebook. Eby until today has described himself on Twitter as “Attorney General and Minister for Housing. MLA for Vancouver Point Grey (Kitsilano, Point Grey, UBC). Dad, lawyer, yoga guy and podcast co-host.”
Supported by 48 NDP colleagues:
“After working side-by-side with David for years, there’s a reason that 48 of his NDP colleagues in the legislature from every part of the province, and from diverse backgrounds, support him in his leadership bid,” reads the site’s description.
Tuesday morning, Eby teased the announcement when he tweeted, “Big announcement later tonight … stay tuned.”
Eby spoke to his constituents and supporters as well as media about his candidacy at an event at the Kitsilano Neighbourhood House in Eby’s riding of Vancouver-Point Grey at 6 pm. The event — livestreamed on Facebook — started off with a few other low-key local speakers, with only about 75 people tuning in (that number reached about 100 at its peak).
Eby is widely viewed as the frontrunner — and possibly only candidate — to replace Premier John Horgan as leader of the B.C. NDP and premier of British Columbia.
Tonight Eby said that tonight’s announcement has a big impact on his two young children. “I am so proud of my family,” said Eby, describing his wife as ‘brilliant’ and supportive.
Leaning heavily on the influence of his stable happy family upbringing, he says all British Columbians deserve a stable home like that. Love and security as well as opportunity are the benchmarks of what he aims to help all British Columbians achieve.
Eby talked about resiliency during the unprecedented times that have been brought on in the last few years by the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change. He talked about health care, long term care and child care as priorities. The availability of mental health treatment “must be accelerated” he said amidst his comments.
He spoke with premier-style leadership about housing as a priority, using the phrase “attainable housing” and livable communities, including better homes for everybody. He has been the Minister Responsible for Housing as well as Attorney General in the Horgan NDP government. He shares the values of Tommy Douglas (who spearheaded universal health care in Canada), as does Horgan.
“David has a vision for how we can build on our province’s strengths to turn our province into a clean energy superpower, while growing local opportunities to address housing, fuel and food inflation affecting every British Columbian,” it is stated on his campaign website.
After his speech this evening — which lasted about 20 minutes, Eby was joined on stage or later in the room by MLAs Ravi Kahlon, Rob Fleming, Bowinn Ma, Harry Bains and Jennifer Whiteside, and a crowd of other supporters. He said there were 48 MLA’s supporting him that evening.
Afterward, current Education Minister Jennifer Whiteside posted her support on Twitter: “David Eby will lead our party and our government with strength and empathy, and nourish the solidarity we have built across our movement. He has a proven track record in solving tough issues. I’ve seen how hard he works, and I know he truly cares about people.”
Eby thanked the current leader of the BC NDP — Premier of BC, John Horgan — for his tireless service to British Columbia “through his entire professional life”.
On June 28, Horgan announced he would step down before the next provincial election, scheduled for 2024. He cited a lack of energy after going through a significant treatment for throat cancer (including surgery and radiation). Horgan says he is cancer free, and in recent days said he will go on to doing other things.
Last week BC Premier John Horgan chaired the Council of the Federation meeting of Canada’s Premiers, with a leading theme of seeking more federal funding toward health care. It’s conceivable Horgan has plans to continue working on the health care funding file somehow.
As stated on the DavidEby.ca campaign website:
“In government, David Eby served as B.C.’s Attorney General and minister responsible for ICBC, BCLC, gaming and liquor policy from 2017 to 2020. Following the 2020 provincial election, he continued on in his role as Attorney General and was also tasked as the minister responsible for housing. His initiatives resulted in a provincial crackdown on money laundering and tax fraud related to real estate and casinos, a ban on union and corporate political donations, legal protection for government whistleblowers, the establishment of a Human Rights Commissioner for B.C., and an overhaul of auto insurance that will reduce rates for drivers by 20% on average.”
So far no others in the race:
The BC NDP is a fairly cohesive party. It appears at this time that no other MLAs or members of the party are thinking to run for the leadership. It could, in that sense, be considered a ‘coronation’ for Eby.
There was some popular talk about Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation Minister Ravi Kahlon perhaps running. Agriculture and Food Minister Lana Popham was a popular pick for some. A poll taken by Island Social Trends a few weeks ago (local to Vancouver Island) showed results of: Lana Popham 42%, David Eby 30%, Rob Fleming 9%, Mike Farnworth 6%, other 12%.
Finance Minister Selina Robinson expressed no interest in running for the party leadership. Josie Osborne, who heads up the new Ministry of Land, Water and Resource Stewardship did not step up, and neither has Municipal Affairs Minister Nathan Cullen. Three Vancouver/mainland-based MLAs are not running: Tourism Minister Melanie Mark; Minister of State for Infrastructure Bowinn Ma; and Minister of State for Child Care Katrina Chen.
The party currently says it will formally elect its next leader by December 3 of this year, but Horgan mentioned he would step down ‘in the fall’ when a new leader is chosen.
The next BC provincial election is officially scheduled for Fall 2024.
A regional shift:
With John Horgan as premier the last five years, the interests of south Vancouver Island have been well served (he is MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca in the Greater Victoria area).
Eby has a Vancouver base.
===== ISLAND SOCIAL TRENDS:
Island Social Trends is a daily news publication online at islandsocialtrends.ca covering local, regional, BC and national news through a socioeconomic lens.
Island Social Trends Editor Mary P Brooke has been covering politics of the west shore and south Vancouver Island region since 2008 (first with MapleLine Magazine, then Sooke Voice News, and then West Shore Voice News, before the publication re-launched as Island Social Trends entirely online in mid-2020).