A 'battle between incrementalism and "let's do it now"'
It’s been a rough week for the federal government. David Suzuki laid into the federal tourism minister at an airport. Canada’s food inspection agency is in hot water after a lobbyist helped write some draft guidelines. And Justin Trudeau says we can have climate action and more oil, too.
This weekend, I’m going to dig into a provincial fiasco involving British Columbia, the NDP and a climate candidate’s thwarted bid for party leadership. If you live on the West Coast, you’ll probably know the story of Anjali Appadurai, a young climate advocate who mounted a challenge for the BC NDP leadership but was disqualified by the party for illegal campaign practices.
What went down with the BC NDP this week is hardly exclusive to one province or one party — internal tensions have been a recent feature for the federal Greens, the Conservatives, even Alberta’s governing party. I spoke with my colleague Natasha Bulowski to learn more about what Appadurai’s disqualification means and how the BC NDP might move forward. You can also check out Arno Kopecky’s deep dive into how loyal party members are thinking about the BC NDP’s future here.
But before we get to all that, I want to say a big thanks to everyone who filled out that short survey about the newsletter last week. You gave some great feedback about what The Weekly is doing well and what we could be doing better. Also, my apologies for any trouble you might have had filling out the survey: a few folks flagged a design error with one of the questions. I appreciate you letting me know and I’ll make a note to avoid that next time!
As always, you can let me know what you think of this newsletter by reaching out to [email protected].
Have a great weekend and stay safe!
— Dana Filek-Gibson
Looking for more CNO reads? You can find them at the bottom of this email.
‘A no-win situation’
After a rough couple of weeks, it’s official: David Eby will become B.C.’s next premier and the leader of the provincial NDP. But neither he nor his party can rest easy, as the swift ouster of his only competitor raises big questions about where the party is headed — and who’s welcome to come along for the ride.
Before she was disqualified, climate advocate Anjali Appadurai drew thousands of new members to the BC NDP in a matter of weeks, posing a real threat to Eby, the caucus’ preferred leadership candidate. But on Wednesday night, Appadurai was barred from the race after the party’s chief electoral officer found “improper co-ordination” between her campaign and third parties, namely environmental groups Dogwood BC and 350.org. Appadurai, Dogwood and 350 deny any wrongdoing, and Appadurai argues a “pattern of bias” from the chief electoral officer dogged her campaign from the start.
Since then, party members, political scientists and commentators have weighed in with a range of views on the party’s decision. Some say disqualifying Appadurai was necessary to head off a hostile takeover that would have jeopardized the province’s progress on climate. Others argue the time for slow-but-steady action ended ages ago, and barring her campaign over missteps in process highlights the party’s resistance to healthy debate on climate policy. One insider described the leadership race as a “battle between incrementalism and ‘let’s do it now.’”
No matter how you slice it, the optics don’t look great and the party is bound to take a hit. My colleague Natasha Bulowski spoke with three political scientists in B.C. this week to understand the aftermath of the decision.
“The resounding message is that the NDP is in a no-win situation because young, energized, climate-conscious members have been alienated and soon-to-be-premier David Eby’s legacy will be tainted by the fact that he was handed the victory, as opposed to winning it,” she told me.
Instead, the biggest prize in this fiasco goes to the BC Liberals, who will prove to be stiff competition for the governing party in the 2024 provincial election, according to the experts Natasha interviewed.
Meanwhile, the federal NDP has stayed mum, “but the fact several MPs publicly supported the idea that Appadurai should be allowed to run indicates some level of unease with how the BC NDP leadership race unfolded,” Natasha says.
As for party newcomers — some of whom signed up to support a candidate who’s now out of the running — Appadurai and several others have decried “the suspicious way” they’ve been treated as the provincial NDP conducts spot checks to weed out any ineligible members. (BC NDP members aren’t allowed to join or support other political parties.)
Those newcomers are now faced with a tough choice, Natasha says: “Rip up their membership card … or remain a BC NDP member and try to effect change at a grassroots level.”
For at least one member, the way forward is within the party. At a press conference after her disqualification, Appadurai vowed to stick with the BC NDP, despite its decision.
“This conversation we've started here is so much bigger than me, so much bigger than the B.C. NDP,” she told reporters. “It's about what we compromise for power ... what we compromise for winning the next election.”
Eby seems to agree. In an email to the party’s membership after his opponent’s ouster, the premier-to-be wrote: “While the leadership race is over, the conversation within our party on issues raised by Anjali during this campaign must continue.”
Skate to where the puck is going
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Monday, Oct. 24
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The global race to cash in on clean energy is afoot — and Alberta has a chance to take the lead.
That’s according to a recent report from the Alberta Federation of Labour (AFL) that reimagines the province’s energy economy for a low-carbon future.
On Monday, AFL president Gil McGowan will join CNO columnist Sandy Garossino and Vina Nadjibulla, adjunct professor at the University of British Columbia’s School of Public Policy and Global Affairs, on Twitter Spaces to talk about the report and the AFL’s vision for the future.
Be sure to mark your calendar and listen in!
More on the BC NDP leadership race
- Anjali Appadurai’s disqualification stirs the political pot
- B.C. premier-to-be David Eby has 'mixed feelings' about leadership race kerfuffle
- Why B.C.'s NDP disqualified leadership contender Anjali Appadurai and how she responded
- Anjali Appadurai is running ‘audacious’ campaign to be B.C.’s next premier (from August)
- The desperate disqualification of Anjali Appadurai
- BC NDP’s leadership fiasco is a blight on the way we select leaders in Canada
NEW PODCAST ALERT
Over the past 20 years, editor-in-chief Karyn Pugliese has watched a generation of kids grow up at land actions. Today, those babies are adults and on the front lines. They're the new generation of Indigenous activists staring down police over the same unresolved land claims. And Canada’s National Observer and Canadaland will be telling their stories in a new podcast about the fight to reclaim stolen land.
Read more about the podcast here and stay tuned for Episode 1!
More CNO reads
A Microsoft Word document exposed holes in Canada’s lobbying laws. A draft of federal guidelines on genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, wasn’t created by the agency regulating them but, rather, by an industry lobbyist, Marc Fawcett-Atkinson reports.
Canada’s climate targets have room for more oil and gas, Justin Trudeau says. “If (oil) companies can … reduce their emissions, then there is room within that to increase production,” the prime minister told a Bloomberg reporter this week.
Finally, a credit card that tracks your carbon footprint. Starting next year, cardholders with the country’s largest community credit union will be able to see how much greenhouse gas pollution their purchases create — a first in Canada.
Young racialized candidates are running for more representation in Mississauga. Councillors in the city west of Toronto are overwhelmingly older and white, but two contenders are hoping to change that on Monday when Ontario's municipal elections take place, Nairah Ahmed reports.
Researchers look to Canada’s oceans to sink planet-warming carbon. We may have the longest total coastline in the world, but one marine ecologist tells Rochelle Baker we still don’t really get how our coastal ecosystems can help combat the climate crisis.
Danielle Smith’s anti-urban agenda should scare Albertans — and worry her fellow conservatives. The Alberta premier’s entire electoral strategy revolves around ignoring Calgary and Edmonton, writes columnist Max Fawcett.