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Greens, NDP readying for 2005 provincial election


Armed with history-making federal election results, the Green and New Democratic parties are now preparing for next spring's provincial election.

And the vote last Monday indicates those parties have a good shot at wining the Sunshine Coast-Powell River riding in 2005.The NDP, in particular, was encouraged by winning 37 per cent of the Sunshine Coast and Powell River vote.

Nicholas Simons, federal NDP candidate, said those results show "the NDP is in a very strong position for a provincial election.""The nomination for the NDP is going to be exciting," said Simons.

Four people are vying for the NDP nomination: Norm Gleadow, president of the Sunshine Coast Teachers' Association, Judith Wilson, a Gibsons lawyer and long-time NDP activist, Kathy Northrup, Gordon Wilson's former constituency assistant in Powell River, and Sam Heppell, a UBC student.

Norman Ruff, a political scientist at the University of Victoria, said the federal NDP vote carries over to B.C. provincial elections.

"Since the 1970s, the provincial vote has run about ten percentage points above the federal NDP vote," said Ruff. "Clearly there's an NDP revival going on I think the B.C. Liberals are concerned about the NDP federal vote."

Incumbent Liberal MLA Harold Long was surprised to learn the NDP had won all but one polling station in Powell River.

However, Long said, "I don't think the NDP have ever gone away There's a strong NDP organization here, there's no doubt about it."

Long said he plans to run on his record.

"I go out and do the right thing for the people," he said.

Green candidate Andrea Goldsmith took nine per cent of the Powell River and Sunshine Coast vote, slightly less than her 9.7 per cent in the whole West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast riding. Goldsmith said she was happy with that result, which more than doubled the Green vote on the Sunshine Coast.

B.C. Green leader Adriane Carr said she expects a much stronger Green vote when she challenges Long in the provincial election.

"Many people are saying to me, 'I don't think I can vote for the Green Party federally, because the party isn't strong enough, but I'll vote for you provincially'," said Carr. "I think it's going to be a tough fight, but I'm aiming to win."

Carr got 26.8 per cent of the votes in the 2001 election, while then-incumbent Gordon Wilson, running as the NDP candidate, got 27.6 per cent. Long won the election with 42.3 per cent, while Marijuana Party candidate Dana Larsen got 3.4 per cent.