Next NDP candidate in Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows won’t be a straight, white man

MLA Mike Sather is leaving politics but under party rules the person who replaces him as to be either a woman, a visible minority, or gay, bisexual, lesbian or transgendered

The hunt is on for someone to replace Michael Sather and hold onto the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows riding for the NDP in the next provincial election.

But whoever’s chosen – it won’t be a white man.

Under the party’s equity rules, when a nomination takes place in an NDP riding, the candidates have to be either a women, members of an ethnic group, or gay, bisexual, lesbian or transgendered.

Long-time NDPer Coun. Craig Speirs, who ran in the last federal election, isn’t any of the above.

“I don’t fit any of those profiles,” he said Wednesday.

“Only when an incumbent gives up their seat, those rules apply.”

Instead, Speirs will run for a fifth term on Maple Ridge council.

Sather, an NDP Member of the Legislative Assembly since 2005, announced last week that he wouldn’t run in the next election.

Speirs is the local riding president and will help in the search for a new candidate and hopes to have a few lined up for the fall in case an election is called.

Elizabeth Rosenau will be one of those seeking the NDP nod after trying for the federal nomination, losing to Speirs, this past spring.

She decided to run for election after police shot and arrested her daughter during a peaceful protest outside the G-20 meeting last summer in Toronto.

“I believe this is a highly winnable riding for the NDP.”

She’s talked to former NDP cabinet ministers and MLAs and says, “They really feel I have the stuff.”

While she lives in the Maple Ridge-Mission riding, Rosenau is about to transfer her membership to Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows. The boundary is roughly 224th Street.

She wants other NDP members to challenge for the nomination. “As far as I’m concerned, the more the merrier.”

Rosenau could end up campaigning against Maple Ridge Coun. Michael Morden, if he tries for the Liberal nomination and wins.

But he hasn’t made a final decision.

“I do want to run provincially at some point. That’s where I would like to go. If the timing is right, I will do it.”

He’s also running in the November municipal election for a second term on Maple Ridge council. If he wins that, then runs in the B.C. election and wins, he’ll resign his municipal seat and pay the $15,000 or so it would cost the district to hold a byelection to fill the council vacancy.

Pitt Meadows Liberal Sandy Wakeling, now executive-assistant to Health Minister Mike de Jong, said he has no idea when a provincial election will be called.

But he said Premier Christy Clark consistently out polls NDP boss Adrian Dix.

And there’s lots of interest in the riding.

“People think that Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows is a winnable riding for the B.C. Liberal party and I think it’s certainly going to be a priority for us to try to win back.”

Pitt Meadows Coun. John Becker won’t be part of the Liberal race. He’s president of the constituency association and says he’s focusing on the mayor’s race and that serving as MLA would be more difficult to coordinate with his legal practice.

“The mayor’s race is all consuming at the present time. That’s just not on my radar screen at all.

“If I was going to run for MLA, I would not run for council.”

However, his wife Terry Becker is leaning towards running. “But nothing official.”

Pitt Meadows Mayor Don MacLean has ruled out provincial politics after 21 years on municipal council. Not even thinking about it.

“Not at all,” he said.

After council’s term ends in October, MacLean leaves political life.

“Let’s say forever.

“I’ve been asked that [running provincially] … during my term on council and have consistently said no.”