The first man has jumped into the race for the NDP nomination in the Skeena riding for the next provincial election.
Bruce Bidgood, associate professor of social work at the Terrace University of Northern BC campus, says he’s running because this riding is going to be remarkably important in the upcoming election.
“I want to do everything I can to make sure Skeena is retained as an NDP riding and that the NDP forms the next provincial government,” said Bidgood Aug. 26.
The retirement of NDP MLA Robin Austin, which has brought on the need for a new NDP candidate, could leave the Skeena riding open to a challenge from the Liberals because the provincial Liberal government is trying to demonstrate it has support here, he added.
Austin’s retirement has sent in motion an NDP mandate that it replace a white male MLA who is not running again with a candidate who is either female, aboriginal, a person of colour or a person with a disability.
“My understanding is after a white male (incumbent), the NDP makes a special effort to recruit people from equity-seeking groups,” said Bidgood in acknowledging the policy.
He adds that the first two nomination hopefuls to make announcements, Sarah Zimmerman and Nicole Halbauer, are respectively, a woman and an aboriginal woman.
“Equity is an important value of the NDP and one I share personally,” said Bidgood.
Bidgood said that while he is a white male he is also a person with an invisible disability as he is hearing impaired, having lost a great deal of his hearing years ago when he worked in industry to pay his way through university.
Bidgood has been a member of the NDP for about 30 years and says his political experience, he was a two-term Terrace city councillor from 2008 to 2014, which included a spell as chair of the Kitimat-Stikine regional district, would be valuable in provincial office.