It's not raining men

Last year, the British Columbia New Democrats passed a controversial resolution setting aside 40 percent of the party's non-incumbent seats for affirmative action candidates. And now New Democrat president Jeff Fox and secretary Laura Nichols have released a list of which ridings have been designated for women and under-represented groups. But not all of those ridings volunteered for the job.

Instead, that list was "determined" by the party's provincial executive and approved on August 12. Asked for comment, Mr. Fox explained the party initially asked associations if they were interested in self-designating. "But it was always stated and understood that - if there was an insufficient number that came to us - we would then be obligated to make designations above and beyond the volunteers. And that was the position we found ourselves in" - with nine out of a required 15 associations interested in running a female candidate and four of a required five associations interested in running a candidate from an under-represented group.

Mr. Fox explained the party been focusing on establishing and re-establishing its constituency associations to comply with the province's new electoral boundaries. And that's meant some of those associations, which "expressed a verbal interest" in self-designating, didn't have the time to do so before the party's August 1 deadline.

But Mr. Fox acknowledged some associations have expressed concern about their new affirmative action status. "We had a couple that came back and said, 'Gee, we voted for it at convention. But we actually didn't think we'd be designated. And so we've gone out and had some meetings with those folks. And we've had a series of conversations. And I think we're in pretty good shape on the issue. Would it be far to say there's one or two in a perfect world that would have preferred not to be on the list? There's probably fair to say. But is it fair to say all of them are moving forward. Yeah, I think that's true."

The following is a complete copy of the aforementioned list.


August 29, 2008

To: Provincial Executive
Constituency Presidents
Council Delegates
Provincial Candidates
EPC Committees

From: Jeff Fox, President
Laura Nichols, Provincial Secretary
EPC Co-chairs

Re: List of Designations

We are very pleased to announce that the Provincial Executive, working with constituency presidents around the province, has determined that the following constituency associations will participate in our program of designation of women and other under-represented groups for the 2009 Provincial Election.

List of Designations
As approved by Provincial Executive August 12, 2008


1. Peace River North
2. Surrey Tynehead
3. Prince George Valemount
4. Kamloops South
5. Westside Kelowna
6. Boundary Similkameen
7. Langley
8. Port Moody Coquitlam
9. Surrey Panorama
10. Richmond Centre
11. Burnaby Deer Lake
12. North Vancouver Lonsdale
13. Comox Valley
14. Vancouver Langara
15. Parksville Qualicum

Under-represented Groups

1. Vancouver West End
2. Kootenay East
3. Abbotsford West
4. Vancouver Fraserview
5. Delta South

The designation follows the recommendations of the Nomination Review Committee as passed at Convention last November.

Participating constituencies are already making progress identifying strong candidates. We're looking forward to presenting a strong team for Carole James in the upcoming election - one that will not only defeat the Campbell Liberals but bring a new balance to government that will benefit all British Columbians.


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