Lawyer David Eby has resigned his position as executive director of the B.C. Civil Liberties Association to challenge Premier Christy Clark as Vancouver-Point Grey's NDP candidate in next year's provincial election.
The B.C. NDP announced in a Nov. 9 press release that the deadline for filing to run as an NDP candidate in the West Side riding was Nov. 8. Eby was uncontested.
The acclamation will be confirmed at an NDP nomination meeting at 7:30 p.m., Dec. 6 at St. James Community Square Hall.
Eby ran against Clark in the riding's 2011 byelection, losing by only 595 votes.
"It's going to be a very different race this time for a couple of reasons - the first being that we have a lot more time in terms of opportunity for Ms. Clark and I to debate the issues of interest in the community and I'm not a mystery to the people of Vancouver-Point Grey any longer," said the 36-year-old, who's lived in the riding for the past year and a half. "I've met a ton of people and I have a much stronger connection now to the community than I did when I ran during the byelection."
Although Vancouver-Point Grey is an affluent riding, it's also home to a more transient population of renters and students.
If elected, Eby said he sees himself as an MLA who would be very connected to the community. "The kind of person you're going to see at the farmers' market in the morning on Sunday, for example, or that you're going to find in the constituency office," he said. "For a long time Vancouver-Point Grey has had a very high profile and certainly, in their own way, has had very capable people as their MLAs, but the downside of having a Premier being your MLA is that loss of accessibility on local priorities. What I hope to offer is a real emphasis on the local priorities of Point Grey if I'm elected."
Eby predicts another close election in the riding and said he isn't taking the election for granted even though the Liberals' popularity has fallen. He's assembling a team of campaign volunteers, noting every vote in Point Grey is earned.
"It's a very well-educated community. It's a very informed community and they're going to be scrutinizing the Liberals, and certainly both me and Ms. Clark very carefully, so I look forward to convincing them that they should give me a shot."
Eby said education, including seismic upgrading of schools and class sizes, and the Broadway transportation corridor are among his priorities. He also cited concern about the justice system, in light of his work with BCCLA, and the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline, which the BC NDP opposes.
"I've heard from so many people [about the pipeline] and there is very serious opposition in the riding to that project. I'm going to be very pleased to go out and present the NDP position opposing that project to the constituency because I know that it's something that is important to them," he said.
The last time the NDP won Vancouver-Point Grey was in 1991 when Darlene Marzari was elected. Prior to Clark landing the seat, former premier Gordon Campbell held the riding for four terms before resigning in 2011.
"Without a doubt my biggest challenge is going to be Christy Clark. She is a formidable opponent. She is very bright and she has a lot of power behind her both in terms of being the Premier and being able to make policy on the fly," Eby said. "So that's my biggest challenge - convincing people of giving me a chance to be an MLA and to have a truly community-focused MLA."
The BCCLA has hired a new executive director who'll start in January, but that person's name has yet to be released.
Eby is closing up his files, but is out of any policy development or media spokesman roles for the BCCLA given its non-partisan status.