Meghann Barsalou collects her Dr. Bonnie Henry ‘Be kind, be calm, be safe’ mask from Jennifer Rice MLA for the North Coast on Sept. 10. Rice gave out more than 400 masks in Prince Rupert and Port Edward. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)

Jennifer Rice North Coast MLA seeks re-election

Northwest politicians announce intent on elections

North Coast NDP MLA Jennifer Rice has confirmed her plans to run for the party’s candidacy in the next provincial election, which this week is rumoured to be called as early as next month.

“I am happy to say that I intend to run again in the next provincial election to represent the people of North Coast for another term, whenever the next election may be,” Rice told The Northern View on Sept. 18.

“I’m very proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish as a government over the last three years — from implementing B.C.’s first-ever poverty reduction plan to bringing the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples into B.C. law, to making historic investments in affordable housing and child care,” she said.

Rice was elected to the position of North Coast MLA in 2013 and re-elected in 2017. She is currently also B.C.’s Parliamentary Secretary for Emergency Preparedness.

“I also know that there is much more work to do, and I look forward to continuing to work alongside Premier John Horgan and our team to make life better for people in the North Coast and around B.C.”

Rice previously served as the Official Opposition spokesperson for Northern Economic Development, Rural and Northern Health, and was deputy spokesperson for Children and Family Development. She is a former city councillor for Prince Rupert.

Rice’s statement came shortly after Nathan Cullen announced on Sept. 17 his intent to become the BC NDP’s candidate in the provincial Stikine riding.

Cullen is a well-known politician in the area, having served from 2004 to 2019 as NDP MP of the federal Bulkley-Skeena riding, which includes Prince Rupert, Port Edward and also covers much of the same area as the provincial Stikine riding.

READ MORE:Cullen announces bid for provincial NDP nomination for Stikine riding

The current MLA for Stikine, the NDP’s Doug Donaldson, announced Sept. 14 that he will not seek re-election.

“After 22 years in public life, it’s time to get back to the balance of spending more time on the land with family and friends, both in the backcountry and at home on Gitxsan territory,” Donaldson said in a statement.

Terrace resident Nicole Halbauer has announced that she will be seeking the B.C. NDP nomination for Skeena riding, which is currently held by Ellis Ross of the B.C. Liberals.

Halbauer is the current Chair of the Board of Directors at Coast Mountain College, and her key interests include education and the Contact North program, which connects students in remote and Indigenous communities to online learning opportunities.

Officially, the next provincial election is scheduled for Oct. 16, 2021, but rumours of a snap election this fall are flying after the B.C. Green Party, with whom the minority NDP government has a power-sharing agreement, elected a new leader.

B.C. Premier John Horgan has thus far denied election rumours.

READ MORE: Nicole Halbauer seeks B.C. NDP nomination for Skeena riding

With files from Jake Wray, Clare Raymont

K-J Millar | Journalist
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