Home Climate justice Why Anjali Appadurai is running a ‘crazy and bold’ campaign to be BC’s next premier

Why Anjali Appadurai is running a ‘crazy and bold’ campaign to be BC’s next premier

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It took a 13-hour moonlit road trip for Anjali Appadurai to decide whether to run for premier of British Columbia.

The 32-year-old climate justice activist was returning home to Vancouver after a few days of meeting with Indigenous leaders and activists on Wet’suwet’en territory in northern British Columbia, and her phone was on fire. Word had spread that she was considering running for prime minister. Dozens of friends and allies from across the province – youth advocates, Indigenous leaders, disillusioned NDP members and others – called to convince her to run.

“In my mind, I wasn’t going to do it. But to see the hope that I could run was really, really powerful,” she said in an interview with Canadian National Observer before officially launching his campaign on Monday. “I realized that even though I don’t want to do this, even though it’s going to be really difficult, I have to step in and answer the call.”

His decision turned the election of a replacement for current B.C. Premier John Horgan from a sleepy single-candidate race into a ‘dividing’ race poised to focus on change climate and economic inequalities.

Appadurai has repeatedly been in the spotlight for her climate activism, starting with a thunderous speech to delegates at the 2011 United Nations climate conference. She has since worked for West Coast Environmental Law, the Sierra Club BC and the Climate Emergency Unit. She was also the NDP candidate in the 2021 federal election for the riding of Vancouver Granville, losing by just around 400 votes – one of the tightest races in the country.

His leadership challenger, former BC Attorney General and Housing Minister David Eby, is running on a platform that promises to maintain the BC NDP’s current approach to progressive change on issues like climate change and the housing crisis. While that consistency has won Eby the support of most current NDP MPs and senior NDP brass, Appadurai said for many B.C. residents, the approach falls flat.

It promises a more radical platform where tackling climate change and prioritizing the public good over private interests would be the organizing framework for BC’s economic and social policies. It’s an approach she says can address the province’s greatest challenges — climate change, the housing and drug crises, or systemic racism, for example — and ensure that residents of British Columbia Britons have the basics of a “good life”, she said.

Although climate change plays a key role in her platform, she stressed that she seeks to do more than reduce carbon emissions or implement tougher environmental policies. Its goal is to create a government that redistributes power and money from corporations and private interests to key public services.

His decision to run against Eby drew criticism. Some party members, other activists and pundits called his campaign “bold” and “unwinnable”, citing his lack of political experience and Eby’s institutional backing.

Eby welcomed Appadurai to the race in a statement, saying “the race is an opportunity for a healthy exchange of ideas and a chance for (NDP) members to have their voices heard through the electoral process.”

“In my mind, I wasn’t going to do it. But to see the hope sparked by the possibility of me running was really, really powerful,” Anjali Appadurai said in an interview with Canada’s National Observer before kicking off. officially his campaign.

These are all valid criticisms, she said, but she believes she has the ability to bring together experts from different backgrounds and fields to develop more radical and transformative policies.

“It’s divisive because we’re doing something that feels crazy and bold and incredibly inconvenient for the scheme of things,” she said. “(But) to deal with the climate emergency, you have to go into emergency mode – and it’s an unpleasant place.”