Cowichan NDP members chose environmental advocate and regional district director Lori Iannidinardo as their candidate in the May 2017 provincial election. Packing the Cowichan Secondary gym on Jan.15, the members heard presentations from the three candidates – Iannidinardo, Leanne Finlayson and Hannah Seymour – before casting their orange ballots (264 of them). The breakdown of votes was not announced, but it was enough to know the win was “decisive,” and after a campaign full of conflict, the next task was pulling together behind one person. “We need to keep our eyes on the prize,” said Iannidinardo. “Christy’s got to go.”
Iannidinardo grew up in the Cowichan Valley, where she and her husband raised four children. She served multiple terms as an area director on the Cowichan Valley Regional District Board. She has been a strong community, forestry and environmental advocate; and been a member of the high school PAC board and the Cowichan Watershed Board, as well as the coordinator of Cowichan Community Kitchens.
While the ballots were counted, retiring MLA Bill Routley regaled the crowd with his stories of all-night filibusters and his proud moments in the BC Legislature, such as convincing the Liberals to vote against their own amendments to the Woodworkers Lien Act. He even threw in his favourite phrase “jiggery – pokery.”
Routley was full of praise for the new candidate. “Lori has a wealth of experience working at the community level. MLAs don’t get handed the job – they have to be willing to work hard. I’ll help in any way I can,” he said.
“What we have over the Liberals is people power. The Liberals will outspend us five to one,” said Glen Sanford, deputy director of the provincial NDP, as he called on members to support a clean NDP sweep of Vancouver Island in the next election.
NDP constituency association president Ian Morrison resigned last weekend to run as an independent, citing the party’s equity mandate as his reason for the break. Candidate hopeful Georgia Collins dropped out earlier over claims of bullying by the party. Former nomination candidate and Cowichan Tribes councilor Debra Toporowski is the new interim president.