Provincial New Democrat executive candidate Stephen Elliott-Buckley has included party leader Carole James's gender on a list of the "most popular explanations why we aren't in government right now." But Mr. Elliott-Buckley, who is running to be the New Democrats' vice-president at this weekend's convention, told Public Eye he personally doesn't think the fact Ms. James is a woman lost the party the election.
"I thought about not putting it on there, because it's not something I endorse or anything," he explained when asked about the list, which posted on his blog earlier this week. "But this was a list of explanations I've heard about people talking about why we're not in (government). And it's a really important one."
"Lots of people I talk with say we can't have a woman as our leader because B.C. isn't ready for a woman - which is an argument I hear a lot and there's some logic to it. But it's also a chicken and the egg thing. If you don't ever run candidates who aren't white men, you can never change the political culture."
Nevertheless, Mr. Elliott-Buckley - who supported a resolution at the party's last convention which saw ridings reserved for affirmative action candidates - said, "The fact that we didn't win I think is, in part, explained by lots of people in B.C. don't want a female premier and wouldn't vote for her. But I kind of think they wouldn't have voted NDP anyway.
"I suspect there might be some NDP members who don't want a woman as premier or some NDP members who wouldn't want her as running because they think the rest of the province doesn't want a female premier," he continued. "So it's definitely an issue. Not a lot of people are talking about it. And I think it's important to talk about it. Because if you don't talk about it it stays under the table and festers."