ALL FOUR people who want to be the New Democratic Party candidate for the Skeena riding in next May’s provincial election have now been approved by the party’s provincial office.
Sarah Zimmerman and Michael Prevost were the first two of the four to be approved and were followed by Nicole Halbauer and Bruce Bidgood, just ahead of a deadline of Dec. 16.
Prospective candidates not only have to pay $2,000 but they also have to fill out an extensive questionnaire requiring personal and professional backgrounds and information which is then checked by party officials.
Also involved is the examination of the posts each may have made on various social media sites.
Even in advance of being approved, the four had been speaking and taking questions at sessions held for party members in Terrace and Kitimat.
They’ve also been to the Nass Valley and a meeting at Kitsumkalum is also being planned.
The nomination meeting date itself is Jan. 14.
The New Democratic Skeena riding candidacy opened up earlier this year when Robin Austin, who has represented the riding in the provincial legislature since 2005, decided not to run again.
When local New Democrats do gather Jan. 14 to select their candidate for next May’s provincial election, there won’t be the kind of intrigue and drama that has characterized nomination balloting in the past.
Instead of going through a series of ballots in which results are announced each time resulting in the last place finisher being dropped and voting taking place again until one candidate attains a majority, members will only fill out one ballot.
On that ballot, however, will be the names of the four candidates and members will be asked to rank their choices by preference.
Scrutineers will begin by counting the first choices on each ballot, says Pam Sihota, the president of the Skeena NDP constituency association.
“If no candidate attains 50 per cent on the first count, then the candidate with fewest first choices is dropped off and his/her ballots are distributed amongst the remaining candidates according to his/her second choices,” she said.
That continues until one candidate does reach that 50 per cent mark. In this fashion, only one results announcement will be made and that will be of the winning candidate.