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Whistler's Jen Ford confirmed as NDP candidate for West Vancouver-Sea to Sky

Provincial election to take place on or before Oct. 19
NDP candidate for West Vancouver-Sea to Sky at the 2024 provincial election, Jen Ford.

It’s official: Whistler’s own Jen Ford will serve as the NDP candidate for West Vancouver-Sea to Sky in the upcoming provincial election.

Ford, who has served as a councillor with the Resort Municipality of Whistler since 2014, threw her hat into the ring for the NDP nomination back in March, and two months later she has been acclaimed with no challengers rising to compete for the role in a riding that has traditionally not had a strong NDP presence.

Her official campaign launch kicked off in Whistler Village on May 21, with supporters gathering at the Raven Room in Whistler for her formal acclamation.

Local riding association president Craig Keating touted Ford’s long resumé in leadership positions in the warm-up for the modest crowd of friends and supporters, pointing to her “great and unparalleled record in leadership” across local government and interfacing with provincial government.

Ford gave a brief stump speech, acknowledging the work ahead towards the provincial election.

“I know that all of you and everybody in this corridor, we can take this riding to Victoria in October," she said. "And I am ready to work, ready to listen, and I know that everybody here will have a part of this work ahead.”

Ford drew on her experience as a councillor since 2014, and the issues she has focused on over that time, listing child-care, health-care, housing, affordability and transportation.

Child-care came up again quickly in her brief speech, recounting her belief in the previous government of John Horgan, and the current government's progress.

“I believe this government of David Eby has really committed to child-care in the corridor and across the province,” she said.

Housing—which Ford has been dealing with directly as a municipal politician—is another area she said the government is making the right moves on.

“We have seen over and over that they are not afraid to make hard decisions," she said. "The recent slate of housing legislation has delivered very important goals, and I believe we can get there, and we need to continue to work forward on that legislation and all of these different policy issues that really affect the people that we live with, that we know, and that affect the well-being of our whole community.”

Speaking to Pique at the event, Ford said it was a privilege to be able to stand up to represent the NDP in the riding, and said the reception was good.

“It has been really supportive talking to people all over, in Pemberton, Whistler and Squamish—across the region. It’s been nothing but wonderful," she said. "I have been challenged by people and I will continue to be challenged by people on where the sticking points are and how we can turn people who would not support NDP, and will now consider supporting the NDP.

“It’s a great chance for us to change minds and hear from people who are passionate about this work.”

Ford enters a relatively vacant field considering the recent competitiveness of the riding: West Vancouver-Sea to Sky has long been held by the anti-NDP party of the day, and in the 2020 election the BC Green Party candidate came within a whisker of securing it as the first riding on the mainland to go to the environmentalist party.

The same candidate from 2020—Jeremy Valeriote—was also the first candidate out of the gate for this election. Valeriote was announced as the Green candidate in April 2023, giving him a year and change worth of a head start over Ford, who can only now hit the campaign trail in any official capacity now she has the nod from the provincial NDP.

For the incumbent party, no candidate has been named. Current MLA, Jordan Sturdy of BC United, announced earlier this year he will retire as of the election, and despite party leader Kevin Falcon telling Pique the riding would have a BC United candidate within 45 days of a March 7 interview, as of May 21 (75 days later) no candidate has been announced.

Likewise, the resurgent BC Conservative Party is yet to announce a local candidate.

Ford made no mention of any of the other parties at the campaign launch, sticking to her previous assertion to Pique that she is focused on the issues and not the opposition.

The provincial election will be held on or before Oct. 19 this year.