Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan is backing John Horgan for the leadership of the B.C. New Democrats, suggesting the Vancouver Island MLA has a shot at winning but has work ahead in gaining political traction in the Lower Mainland.
"John is going to have a learning curve on the Lower Mainland and the issues that are here in the Greater Vancouver," said Mr. Corrigan, a three-term mayor who earlier ruled out his own bid for the leadership to be decided by New Democrats on April. 17.
But Mr. Corrigan noted that such Vancouver-area candidates as Adrian Dix and Mike Farnworth will face reverse challenges learning about Vancouver Island issues and matters in rural B.C.
"They all have areas where they have a great deal of comfort, and areas where they're going to require more education, and I am going to be the first one in line to educate John Horgan on some of the more important issues in the Lower Mainland."
On Thursday night, Mr. Corrigan and his wife, NDP MLA Kathy Corrigan, both threw their support behind Mr. Horgan, the NDP energy critic. Larry Hayes, chair of the Burnaby Board of Education, also announced his support for Mr. Horgan.
Mr. Corrigan said his wife speaks very highly of Mr. Horgan. "[She]felt that he was one of the people in the NDP caucus, who has consistently shown that he has leadership qualities."
Mr. Corrigan said the Malahat-Juan de Fuca MLA first elected in 2005 is articulate, has had the opportunity to travel across the province due to his role as energy critic and "hasn't been Vancouver Island centric" in his thinking on B.C. issues.
He also said he respected Mr. Horgan as a moderate with respect for business and labour, who can bring both together.