The BC NDP is losing its ‘heart and soul’ as an advocate for workers’ rights, an advocate for the fight against climate change and a model of transparent governance, says Anjali Appadurai, an environmental activist who announced her intention to challenge the candidate for the leadership of the party. David Eby, provincial attorney general.
Appadurai, 32, who narrowly lost her bid to become MP for Vancouver-Granville last year, is now ensuring that some form of political debate will take place for the party’s leadership race, following Prime Minister John Horgan’s decision to step down as Prime Minister this fall.
“It’s not so much me running against David Eby, but rather me running against the current leadership of the party,” Appadurai told Glacier Media.
“It’s more about what [Eby’s] reported, and he reported no significant departures from the Horgan administration and party leadership,” she said, adding that she was particularly inspired by young people who are unhappy with party politics.
Fight against climate change not progressing under current NDP policies: Appadurai
Generally speaking, the BC NDP has, according to Appadurai, “put industry above people,” as evidenced by continued fossil fuel subsidies in the fracking industry. .
Appadurai is director (on leave) of the non-profit group Climate Emergency Unit and cites the need to “end our government’s colonial violence” against indigenous peoples, in line with the United Nations Declaration of Rights of indigenous peoples.
She also opposes the development of LNG, which she says will take precedence over any specific desire of indigenous communities to develop LNG themselves – although government policies supporting a “livable future” should prevent this from happening. .
“It’s important to recognize that our entire economy exists within ecological limits,” Appadurai said.
That said, Appadurai generally supports greater immigration to the province and the construction of more housing; and the province’s population growth can still align with climate change goals as long as wealth and resources are distributed more equitably, she said.
The NDP is a party for workers, she said, and government investments in retraining workers in the fossil fuel industry should prevent job losses – a fundamental short-term concern of the transition. energy.
A more worker-friendly government, says Appadurai
As the province considers new public service contracts, such as the BC General Employees’ Union and the BC Teachers’ Federation, it faces the prospect of increasing its policy of a 2% annual salary increase which will once aligned with stable inflation before the pandemic. . Appadurai says “the civil service needs huge public investment” right now and pay increases need to outpace inflation, currently at around 8%.
Since it all adds up on the spending side of the budget, she says she’s willing to challenge “cookie-cutter” arguments against higher taxation.
“We allow companies to set the agenda, or the tone and direction of the economy,” Appadurai said.
Concerns about policing, housing and government transparency
Appadurai said she was unable to comment on specific actions the NDP has taken regarding freedom of information laws, such as government document request fee legislation, but said the overall functioning of the NDP government was opaque.
“Working on the advocacy side of nonprofits, it’s hard to see how decisions are made and ordered in this government,” she said.
Appadurai praised Eby for her work as attorney general on anti-corruption files, but said she could not yet comment on whether the province should establish its own provincial police force. She mentioned then that she was inspired by visiting Wet’suwet’en communities in northern British Columbia. She said she was appalled by the government’s police action against indigenous residents opposed to the pipeline expansion.
Appadurai said solving the overdose crisis is “not an easy recipe”, but is advocating for the decriminalization of drugs.
“What we’ve seen in Vancouver the last few days with street sweeps is not the right approach,” Appadurai said referring to the City of Vancouver’s decision to remove tents from Downtown Eastside streets.
Offer well received by Eby, the Greens
Eby took to Twitter to express his support.
“Welcome to Anjali Appadurai as she joins the race to become the next leader of the BC NDP. This race is an opportunity for a healthy exchange of ideas on how best to serve Britons. Colombians, and I look forward to this debate. I wish him luck, but not too much luck!”
And Adam Olsen, Green MP for Saanich North and the Islands, issued a statement echoing some of Appadurai’s “social and environmental values”.
Olsen suggested the race is a fait accompli granted “48 of the 57 BC NDP caucus members endorsed David Eby as leader and premier, who said at the launch of his leadership campaign: ‘Really , I don’t see any drastic change happening here for the government.'”
“The reality is that the BC NDP caucus has backed the fossil fuel industry with billions of dollars in tax breaks and subsidies, continued the destruction of farmland and traditional Indigenous territories by endorsing the Site C twice, and he used the RCMP and the courts to aggressively fight Indigenous rights. The BC NDP caucus has failed to stem the escalating housing crisis, and it hasn’t even come up with a plan to address the shortage of family doctors,” Olsen said.
As part of his campaign, Appadurai is now seeking to buy into the NDP with the public for the next vote, which begins Nov. 13. Other candidates may come forward, but the deadline for nominations is October 4.