It’s the worst best-kept secret in politics: John Horgan won’t be premier for much longer. But who will the NDP choose to replace him as leader?
I know, I know, give the guy a break. He’s recovering from cancer.
But here’s the thing, these rumours started well before Premier John Horgan took time off to get treated for cancer.
Last spring, NDP insiders started whispering that Horgan wouldn’t run again.
The whispered names of folks who might replace him include David Eby, Attorney General (MLA- Point Grey); Selena Robinson, Minister of Finance (MLA- Coquitlam-Maillardville); Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation (MLA-Delta North); and Nathan Cullen, Minister of State for Lands and Natural Resource Operations (MLA-Stikine).
Once Horgan’s leave for cancer treatments was announced, the rumours kicked into high gear.
The two front-runners appear to be David Eby and Ravi Kahlon.
The powerful inner circle around Horgan, including Geoff Meggs, is rumoured to be lining up behind Kahlon. They have given Eby the ICBC Reform and Housing portfolios. Those are impossible jobs to do without pissing off lots of people. They might have hoped folks would be so upset with Eby that they would sink any hope he had for leadership.
But Eby has done well in these tough roles.
Rumours say folks within the NDP caucus are taking sides on the party’s direction.
On the one hand are the BrowNDPers, who represent the extractivist side like miners and loggers. On the other Ravi Kahlonside are the GreeNDPers, who are fed up with the government’s lack of action on climate change, the police response to Fairy Creek and Wet’suwet’en protestors, and old-growth logging.
The BC Liberals are starting to smell blood in the water.
BC Liberal leadership hopeful Gavin Dew was the first politician to talk publicly about the rumours. He challenged another leadership candidate, Michael Lee, by saying Lee was not great at being Eby’s opposition. Dew challenged Lee, saying,
“We’re all keenly aware of John Horgan’s health challenges, and we wish him well. The brass tacks reality is that (as I have been saying for more than a year), it’s likely we will not face John Horgan in the next election. We could face a new NDP leader, like, say, David Eby. Michael, you served as David Eby’s critic for two and a half years. How did that go? What lessons did you learn that you would carry forward?”– Gavin Dew’s question to Michael Lee during the 3rd BC Liberal leadership debate on December 21, 2021
It could just be a rumour.
We’ll have to wait and see. And if it happens, who lines up for a chance to be the next leader of the BC NDP.
Whatever comes to pass, it’s sure to be dramatic.