The BC NDP may have two new prospective contenders, almost two weeks after their leadership convention was officially called - though they haven't made up their minds yet. No one's bothered to take the plunge, in fact, unlike the BC Liberal's 5 confirmed candidates.
The two new candidates, Peter Julian and Bruce Ralston, are both known faces in the NDP, and both have some excellent experience. They'll join Harry Lali, Leonard Krog, Mike Farnworth, and Rob Fleming in my list of probable candidates for the BC NDP's leadership (which, fyi, is better than the Globe and Mail's, considering that Nathan Cullen doesn't want the job).
Peter Julian is the federal NDP MP for Burnaby-New Westminster, and has been since 2004. He's had no other real experience, except for his time as a community activist, and a one-time run at New Westminster's City Council. However, 6 years as an MP has made Julian an experienced speaker and debater, and usually when he rises during Question Period, he starts a good show (though, still, he is a Dipper, so you are always a little disappointed). It seems he is somewhat of a surprise candidate, and so he's an unknown quantity. I don't know how much support he would have among the NDP's caucus, or among all BCers. He's a pretty left-wing guy. Julian has yet to make a decision, but if he does, he'll make it in the next couple of weeks, and then presumably resign as member for Burnaby-New Westminster. I wonder if Radwanski will start complaining about the provincials poaching Julian?
Bruce Ralston, on the other hand, is a fairly known quantity. The MLA for Surrey-Whalley and the NDP's finance critic, Ralston was first elected in 2005 and has been fairly noticeable ever since. He was the party's face when they came out swinging against the last Liberal budget, and has been on the forefront of the HST fight for a long while now. However, that being said, Ralston isn't well known, and he isn't very popular; according to Angus Reid's poll on the leadership contenders, only 7% of BCers thought of him as a "preferable" candidate, while 12% of NDP voters felt the same way. While we don't know how many people thought of him negatively, I assume the small amount was due more to a still relatively low profile, rather than anything he's done. However, this is still an unacceptable thing for the NDP to have; they must have a high profile candidate, or they risk being swept up by the Liberals, whose frontrunners are all well known.
While neither of these two candidates will mean there's a game changer, Julian, as I said, is an unknown candidate. He could very well be the dark horse candidate no one expects. We'll have to wait and see.
For the moment, however, I'd still say Mike Farnworth is the presumptive frontrunner. Whether Angus Reid's numbers are right or not, Farnworth is well known and popular; he would present a challenge to the Liberals if he's in charge. That's what I assume NDP members and voters are looking for.