Election rumours continue to heat up in B.C. as two major political announcements were made in as many days on Vancouver Island.
The first came from Tofino’s mayor Josie Osborne, who announced via Twitter on Tuesday that she would be seeking the BC NDP nomination in the Mid Island – Pacific Rim riding.
The riding is currently held by Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation Scott Fraser, who announced just a day earlier that he would not be seeking re-election.
Osborne was first elected mayor of Tofino in 2013, after her sole opponent dropped out of the race only a month before the vote. She was re-elected in 2018 with 87 per cent of the votes cast.
Osborne wrote in a statement that she is seeking the NDP nomination to work on the provincial government’s pandemic recovery.
“At the heart of my passion for public service are my strong convictions that governments must serve all people, not just some people,” she stated.
“Here in British Columbia we must shape our future together with Indigenous peoples.”
Excited to announce that I'm seeking the @bcndp nomination to serve the people of Mid Island-Pacific Rim & work with @jjhorgan! Grateful for the opportunity to build on the strong foundation of learning I've received in Nuu-chah-nulth territories & 7+ years as mayor of #Tofino. pic.twitter.com/db1FnllKLV
— Josie Osborne (@Josie_Osborne) September 15, 2020
Osborne will continue to serve in her current capacity as mayor. In the event she wins her seat in the next provincial election, she would resign from her current post.
A second major announcement in Island politics came on Wednesday when former MP Murray Rankin announced that he would be seeking the BC NDP nomination in Oak Bay – Gordon Head.
Rankin’s move is sure to raise some eyebrows, as the riding is currently held by former BC Green Leader Andrew Weaver.
Weaver is currently sitting as an Independent after parting ways with his party in January.
Rankin previously served two terms as a MP with the federal NDP, representing the riding of Victoria from 2012 to 2019.
He was succeeded in that role by Laurel Collins.
Collins followed a political path similar to Osborne’s in that she was first elected to a role at the municipal level, and later resigned after winning her seat in the 2019 federal election.
Rankin is widely seen as a popular politician in Victoria, edging out Green candidates at the federal level in two elections.
He also served as the national security-review chair for the Trudeau government in 2019.
Rankin wrote in an announcement on his campaign website that it was “not an easy decision” to seek the nomination.
“After listening to the views of many people in our community, I concluded that the stakes were too high to sit on the sidelines,” he stated.
“The pandemic has changed all of our lives; the challenges it has created require urgent attention.”
Rankin’s potential nomination in a riding currently contested at the provincial level suggests the BC NDP will be seeking a majority government by overturning key seats.
With the BC NDP taking home 41 seats in the 2017 provincial election, and a seat count of 44 needed for a majority, the party is likely to concentrate their efforts in ridings they consider viable for change.