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Corky Evans

I’m off to Dave Barrett’s party celebrating his 80th birthday and have been mildly concerned as to how to answer the question, what the hell’s an old Socred doing at a party for Dave Barrett?

My answer is simple – I saw Barrett, up close and as a partisan saw nothing good; I now see him from a distance and appreciate some of his positive and permanent legacies.

I like and admire Carole James. Where I couldn’t even sit in caucus of a government led by Gordon Campbell, I would have no qualms supporting a Premier James. As best I can judge, I would be comfortable supporting Diane Watts.

Ms. James’ problem is the absence of a killer instinct leading to difficulty inspiring her party and the voters. Given the miserable place in polls that Campbell occupies one would think Ms. James would have good polling numbers yet she can’t get over 30% even though the NDP is 25 points ahead of the NDP.

Corky Evans has come out in favour of a full leadership change in the NDP. There is a growing groundswell of NDP faithful with the same idea in mind.

I’ve come to know Corky well in the past couple of years as he and I have a dog and pony show on environmental issues.

Corky is a rarity in modern Canadian politics as he truly has a deep seated political philosophy. Far from hating the Socreds under Bill Bennett and his father before him, Corky draws out the many social policies passed in those days and says, very clearly, that the goals by the “populist” Socreds just didn’t go far enough and fast enough.

This is one of the reasons Corky would make a good leader of the province.

If it were December 1975 again, I would do as I did then. But it’s 2010 and 35 years on gives perspective.

I do not believe that my political philosophy has changed but that the BC spectrum has altered with the Liberals so far right it leaves a huge gap in the centre. Politics, like nature, abhors a vacuum and Carole James is trying to move a reluctant NDP more to the Centre where all BC elections are fought, gaining internal dissent for her pains. .

In my view, Corky Evans would win a general election and give BC back the government we once had, socially left-centre, fiscally, right-centre.

As a leader, Corky Evans would also stop the ravaging of our rivers and their eco-systems and give British Columbia back to British Columbians.

The Liberals will have a new leader soon and, assuming it’s not a present cabinet minister, will bounce back in the polls. The issue no longer will be the slam dunk for the NDP but a question, “can Carole James stop a revivified Liberals under a truly new leader?”

The NDP always has a problem selecting leaders because the fault lines within the party are so obvious and so deep. It must also be remembered that the NDP has only won once in a head to head battle, That was in 1996 when Glen Clark, with a lower popular vote than the Liberals, beat them. They won In 1975 and 1991 because the governing Socreds collapsed.

The 2013 electon will arrive after a new Liberal Premier has been able to lay the groundwork for a much more populist party, especially in the area of the environment, so the real question facing the NDP is simply this – can Carole James beat a new Liberal party under Diane Watts?

To win in 2013, the NDP must find a seasoned gladiator who understands the BC election reality and is equipped to fight the battle they’re in, not the one they would prefer.

In casting about for such a person, for me at any rate, the name that stands out is Corky Evans.

9 Responses to “Potential new NDP leaders II”

  1. […] the Tyee, Rafe Mair is now pointing to none other than former  NDP Health and Agriculture Minister Corky Evans to be the next NDP […]

  2. Len Miller says:

    There is NO representation in Vancouver Langara . .
    there seems to be NO choice . .

    What is his position on courts ? I use the Middlauers example .

    What is his position on senior’s safety ?

    WE need support for seniors in South Vancouver

    Adam Henry ( as named by Rafe )

  3. Ben says:

    “socially left-centre, fiscally, right-centre”

    Sounds sensible and pretty romantic. Perhaps the 17 years of GC and the BC Liberals that has defined my adult life has skewed my perspective of BC politics, but clearly this current government is not concerned with social or fiscal issues.

    My hope is that the age of the public interest is not over because right now western governments at all levels are shameless in their service of corporate interests.

  4. istvan says:

    And why not,Richard?

  5. ml johnstone says:

    Corky would get the support of the organic food and farming sector and because he values agricultural land, environmentalists(as opposed to non-environmentalists)

  6. cherylb says:

    I’ve always thought Corky would have made the best leader. Again, we made a mistake and picked the wrong person. That’s what we do best 🙂

  7. Jean Grant says:

    Good to hear Rafe speaking as intelligently and even-headedly about the best choice for the BCNDP leadership as he did about the Run of the Rivers debacle so self-servingly promoted by the corporatist-bound Liberals. Corky’s record of honesty and integrity, coupled with his impassioned and certain view of the obligatory role of government to preserve and protect the natural and human resources of the province for future generations, make him an obvious choice not only to lead the NDP to victory in the next election, but, more importantly, to execute the role of Premier of BC with honour and vision and determination.

  8. Stewart MacKenzie says:

    This family supported Corky for leader in 1996, when he made all the same points about the power mongering and backroom spin doctoring and elitism that he and others are making today. We would support him now, no question, if he wanted the responsibility and if not, will pay close attention to who he supports. Whoever that may be will know going in that they will have some hawkeyed backers who will call BS when they see it wherever the crap might end up flying!

    The NDP has long been a coalition of labour and social activists of many descriptions. The labour sponsored elites have always told the activists, be we environmentalists, multicultural and human rights advocates, First Nations people, and so on that the NDP was our only real alternative. They lusted after our support in time, energy, and money but all too often had little use for us once in power, as the labour sector was group was often the only one heard.
    The party has never won an election where this coalition did not turn out in numbers, many voluntarily, not just to vote but to work in all the different aspects of the campaign.

    During election time the party has always had seconded union people to the party as campaign workers, thus giving these people the support to participate full time. We volunteer activists have worked with the labour people and developed pretty harmonious tactics and strategies. Given we all live in the same community and have very few degrees of separation in all directions from each other, what with working together, having kids on the same ball teams, relatives in the same hospitals, we become a pretty effective force when we pull it together.

    All too often the balance is disturbed by the imposition of a mentality and strategic/tactical approach designed by advertising strategists, media spin doctors, and inner circle party honchos.

    The central campaign strategy, using almost exclusively negative advertising and campaigning tactics, reducing the issues to slogans and insisting all candidates, canvassers and letter writers keep repeating the “Key Phrases” that are sent out from the Central Committee, reduces local activists to the role of wind up dolls and lowest level grunt workers, and relies on the assumption that 20 year old urbanites with two or three weeks training have a superior understanding of local and regional issues than all the activists combined.

    These issues are common to all large parties and may work well for parties based on greed and self interest as an ideology, but for a value based, community activist based party it is self defeating and merely drives more people away from the ballot box.

    The elites will still be rewarded if only 20% of the voters turn out as is getting to be the case in civic elections, and the fewer peons are asking questions or getting involved the easier it is for them to rule rather than lead!

    In ’96 about 80% of party delegates did as directed by Georgetti, Munro, MacPhail, Miller, and the rest of the “Power Players” . There was much bullying behind the scenes, some of it disgracefully boorish, and a huge push to “back a winner” so that local MLAs could curry favour with him by bringing “their” riding delegates fully committed to Glen Clark.

    Gordon Campbell self destructed in 1996, and the “New Leader” effect helped Clark squeak out a win, but the next five years were a disaster for the party and the province due to the arrogance and unwillingness to listen to critics which was also driving many non labour activists right out of the party.

    I still believe Corky was the guy nobody was going to like except the voting public. The likes of Palmer used to ridicule the “hayseed” wit and down home persona, as if this hick from the sticks could maybe get a few laughs but never be taken seriously by a sophisticated urbane audience.

    I see Corky as a highly educated and well informed fellow who says intelligent things in a language everyone understands, with the skills of a satirist to temper the steel trap mind beneath the surface.

    He could have smoked Gordon Campbell in any kind of debate and his supporters were activists from all around BC tuned into and highly involved in their communities and issues and mostly volunteers.

    Five or six thousand new members in the NDP could tip the balance of power to the dissident side, given the Sihota/Sinclair/James faction can’t seem to attract any new members.

    That translates to roughly 60 – 70 members per constituency.

    If 10% of pissed off NDP supporters signed up and showed up at the appropriate meetings it would come to a lot more than that number!

    Depending on what happens over the next week, I’m waiting to bring myself and about 8 others into the party – for starters.

    Of course, by Monday we may have a new party to join or be campaigning for “Independent” next time around!

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