September 25, 2000
Kwan versus Sparrow - THE COMMENTARY
By Joseph Planta
VANCOUVER -- Recently I heard that some polling firm, dear to the NDP, ranked the 79 ridings in the province that the NDP would do well in, during the next general election. First on the list as the province’s safest NDP riding is Vancouver-Mt. Pleasant. Currently held by former civic councillor and now Minister of Women’s Equality, the Hon. Jenny Kwan, Mt. Pleasant was held for many years by former Premier Mike Harcourt.
The bloodlines, if you will, are there and they count. Mt. Pleasant stretches, if I am not mistaken into the Downtown Eastside, and so it’s a den for socialist support, especially that of the NDP ilk. The federal counterpart of Mt. Pleasant (Vancouver-East) is currently held by NDP MP Libby Davies, so the spill-off will certainly be evident for the provincial NDP.
However, Ms. Kwan has been a weak minister. She recently got in trouble with the law for painting a flower on the decrepit Woodwards building. Her performance at the NDP convention of last February was abysmal. She’s been tossed from a number of portfolios already. And when Premier Dosanjh does his cabinet shuffle within the next four weeks, I won’t be surprised to see Minister Kwan moved.
Now all that is not to say Ms. Kwan can’t win. As I said her party’s support has rested in the region, and no matter the sheer incompetence of the government, some people will still vote NDP.
The riding’s safety was tested recently. Gail Sparrow, a well-known member of the Musqueum nation let her intentions be known that she intends to go up against Jenny Kwan in Vancouver-Mt. Pleasant. The Minister has her work cut out for her.
I have never been an expert or remotely interested in the affairs of the natives in this province. That said, I knew who Gail Sparrow was and I sure as hell know she is no waif. Ms. Sparrow has determination written all over her and she knows just what the heck she’s talking about. She represents her nation well and I think it’s high time there be an aboriginal woman in our Legislative Assembly.
Ms. Sparrow will be running under the Liberal banner, which will certainly soften the image of Gordon Campbell, as he became a little undesirable for that demographic over his opposition to Nisga’a. Ms. Kwan is up for the fight of her political career. Gail Sparrow will be a most formidable candidate and I can’t wait for the election call.
In my riding of Vancouver-Kensington, irrespective of the fact federally it is held by a Liberal (Sophia Leung,) I believe it to be the NDP’s safest riding. Ujjal Dosanjh for one, is a sitting Premier and the leader of his party. That plays in the voter’s mind regardless of the party, as a leader has considerable clout at his/her disposable for their constituents.
The Liberals have nominated a man named Patrick Wong. I know nothing of him except he represents the Liberal demographic of free enterprise well. Wong will have his work cut out for him, but I doubt he’ll be able to crack the hold of Dosanjh. Vancouver-Kensington needs a representative, that of Premier Dosanjh’s reputation and his service. The people of Vancouver-Kensington will need a prominent MLA like Dosanjh to represent our concerns, regardless of political affiliation. But if Dosanjh spends his time battling Gordon Campbell, his seat won’t be as safe.
Couple that with the uncertainty next door with Kwan versus Sparrow, then no riding in BC will be safe for the NDP to hold.
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