Vaughn Palmer: Horgan’s defence of Stikine fiasco as plausible as rationale for calling early election

Article content continuedCullen wasn’t a member of any group that was under-represented within the NDP — there

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Cullen wasn’t a member of any group that was under-represented within the NDP — there being no need for affirmative action for party insiders who have been on the receiving end of lucrative government contracts.

McPhee asked him to make way. But Cullen refused, insisting that he’d followed all the rules laid down by the party in the course of stacking the deck in his favour.

“Annita McPhee is a friend of mine,” he told Mike Smyth on CKNW this week. “I have a great deal of respect for her.”

That didn’t keep the Stikine riding association from trashing McPhee in a news release that insinuated she was embittered by the earlier loss of a nomination to run for the federal NDP.

Enter party president Craig Keating to suffocate her bid as only a party bureaucrat can do. The NDP tried to give McPhee a fair shot at the nomination, he insisted. But “there was simply not enough time to process the application.” With that, he announced that Cullen, being the only candidate, had been acclaimed.

McPhee, who learned of being frozen out via social media, is now considering legal action.

NORTH VANCOUVER, BC: OCTOBER 7, 2014 - Annita McPhee is finding Sundays are no longer a day for rest but are rather packed with activity getting ready for the following week. (Ric Ernst / PNG) (Story by Dana Gee) TRAX #: 00032196A
Annita McPhee put forth her name for the nomination for Stikine for the BC NDP. Photo by Ric Ernst /PROVINCE

Horgan, at his first media conference of the campaign, twice ducked questions about the Stikine fiasco: “I’ll direct you to the party president” he told reporters.

But when the issue came up again Tuesday, he realized that buck-passing to as weak a functionary as Keating was probably not an effective strategy. So he fell back on telling reporters that he was “confident” that the NDP equity policy had been respected, never mind that the outcome — the nomination of a Caucasian man over an Indigenous woman — was not, shall we say, entirely in keeping with the spirit of affirmative action.
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