Federal NDP can't find candidates of Chinese descent in Vancouver
By Charlie Smith
NDP Leader Jack Layton can speak some Cantonese, but his party hasn't run a candidate of Chinese descent in any of the five Vancouver federal ridings since the 2000 election. And in a city with a huge Chinese Canadian population, that could pose a problem for the party as it heads toward the next federal election.
The last NDP federal candidate of Chinese descent in Vancouver, the very capable Victor Wong, lost to Liberal Sophia Leung in Vancouver Kingsway in 2000.
The way things are looking, it appears as though the federal NDP won't field a Vancouver candidate of Chinese descent in the next election either, marking the third straight time this has occurred.
But it gets worse than that. The current NDP candidate in Vancouver Quadra, Rebecca Coad, had to hustle up a resident of Vancouver Kingsway, UBC psychiatry professor Kerry Jang to present an image of someone of Chinese descent on her Web site.
The photo appears as though Coad is chatting up a Vancouver Quadra constituent on the doorstep. In fact, Jang is a long-time NDP activist and has been a diligent president of MLA Adrian Dix's Vancouver- Kingsway provincial constituency association.
Jang was going to seek the federal nomination in Vancouver Kingsway, but backed out after revealing his plans to the Straight. He said at the time that he lived in Vancouver Kingsway for almost his entire life, so don't expect him to be casting a ballot in the Vancouver Quadra byelection.
Coad also appears alongside Layton's wife, MP Olivia Chow, in another photo on the Web site.
Last night, Coad came across exceptionally well in an all-candidates' debate, calling Stephane Dion the "leader of the ineffective Opposition" and pointing out how Liberal candidate Joyce Murray was condemned by several environmental groups during her tenure as Gordon Campbell's minister of land, air and water protection.
But Coad will have an uphill battle becoming the riding's MP if the NDP doesn't make connections with the large number of people of Chinese descent who actually live in the riding (23 percent of the entire population according to the 2001 census, and probably higher today).