Disqualified NDP leader calls on BC to declare climate emergency

VANCOUVER — The NDP leadership candidate who was ousted from her chance to run for B.C.’s top political job says she’s open to accepting an invitation to work with the man who will become the next premier. minister.

However, Anjali Appadurai called for a greater push on climate change initiatives ahead of working with David Eby, who was automatically promoted to party leader after being disqualified from the race last week.

“We have not seen any signal of this qualitative change in leadership that will signal an emergency level response, that will signal the speed and scale of actions needed. We saw a watered down version of that,” Appadurai said.

Appadurai, 32, disagreed with a report from the party executive that she had engaged in ‘serious misconduct’ while working with third parties, including environmental group Dogwood BC, which allegedly conducted membership campaigns on its behalf.

The uproar following the report led Prime Minister John Horgan to blame Appadurai supporters for ‘thuggery’ because he said they contacted volunteer members of the executive who met to decide the comes out of his campaign.

Despite the controversy, Appadurai has maintained his membership in the NDP. She said various people have volunteered their time and she has no idea how many members their efforts have attracted to her campaign.

Appadurai said the NDP is still the best party to advance climate change policies in a province that within six months of last year experienced wildfires that nearly destroyed the town of Lytton, a heat dome linked to 619 deaths and flooding that wiped out farmers. ‘ livelihoods and cut off major highways.

British Columbia is now in the midst of a drought.

The best way to move forward with any serious action is for the province to declare a climate emergency, roll back fossil fuel infrastructure and announce a moratorium on new oil and gas expansion projects, said Appadurai.

“Reducing emissions slowly year by year is actually not how we are going to achieve meaningful climate action,” she said. “I think we have to recognize that we are failing on this file and, in a related way, on several other files, because the climate crisis affects all sectors of society and the economy.

During a muted celebration last week of his ascension to party leadership, Eby said the province could not continue to develop fossil fuel infrastructure in order to meet its climate goals. He also said he was « very excited to continue the conversation with Anjali and the people who signed up to support her. »

« They have a very clear set of values ​​around climate change, one of the issues of our time, » said Eby, who will become prime minister at a date yet to be announced.

The BC government has consulted with environmental groups on initiatives like its CleanBC plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. But Appadurai said these opportunities have been like a « dance » where defenders work to maintain a relationship with the government and meet officials halfway.

However, some regulations around subsidies and climate targets have been inadequate, so it’s time to « step up a gear », she said. This could include, she said, setting up a secretariat in the prime minister’s office and sharing climate-related decisions beyond the environment ministry.

Appadurai said the attention his leadership bid has brought to an evolving political landscape where social movements have growing influence in a democracy that relies on centralized power in a party system.

« This thing has escalated much faster than I could have imagined, than any of us could have imagined. I think it’s opened up a very important conversation that’s live right now. And I’m going to bring our movements together to start making sense of it and understanding where we’re going next,” she said of her plans for “climate justice.”

Appadurai, who was born in Madurai, a city in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, moved to British Columbia when he was six years old and grew up in Coquitlam.

She made her mark in federal politics last year coming within 450 votes of winning an NDP seat in the riding of Vancouver-Granville campaigning on climate change, food security and housing.

But compared to Eby, 46, who is the former attorney general of British Columbia and who won her constituency of Vancouver in 2013 against then-Premier Christy Clark, forcing her to run in an election partial, Appadurai has no political experience.

Hamish Telford, associate professor of political science at the University of the Fraser Valley, said experience can take a back seat in leadership contests, as federal Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre’s recent victory over the credentials of former Quebec Premier Jean Charest, for example.

“Leadership races are about winning over party members,” he said. « With the members she signed up, there was a very real fear that she might win this thing, » he said of Appadurai.

“As far as the party goes, it was a nice and neat result. They conducted their own investigation, found her guilty and kicked her out of the race. And that cuts out the possibility of an investigation by Elections BC, which would have been the final decision-making authority, if it broke election laws.

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on October 23, 2022

Camille Bains, The Canadian Press


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