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Dennis Adamson intends to run as independent, after stint with BC Greens

Greens, Liberals, NDP running candidates in Fraser Nicola district, less than a month to election
Lawn signs with potential BC Greens candidate in the Fraser Nicola riding Jonah Timms were up in Hope shortly after a snap election was called. (Emelie Peacock/Hope Standard

Dennis Adamson intends to enter the race for Fraser Nicola MLA as an independent, after being active with both the BC NDP Party and, briefly, the BC Green Party.

“I believe, right now, that the party system is broken,” he said Tuesday, adding he was gathering the signatures needed to become a candidate before the Oct. 2 deadline. “I left the NDP because I thought the party was being bullies and I went to the Greens, and I decided to go independent so I wouldn’t have to be told what to say by anybody. I could just work for the people.”

Adamson is an electoral area director with the Fraser Valley Regional District, representing an area that includes the communities of Laidlaw, Sunshine Valley and Yale. He resigned from his role as vice-president of the NDP’s Fraser Nicola riding association in mid-September together with all members of the association.

He told Black Press Media he resigned over the way the BC NDP handled the nomination of candidate Aaron Sumexheltza. The riding association accused the party of ignoring requests of local members and setting too short of a nomination timeline, preventing anyone from running against Sumexheltza for the nomination. BC NDP president Craig Keating defended the process.

“I left one party that had people that abused their power and are bullies,” Adamson said.

Read more: Controversy in Fraser-Nicola riding as NDP names their candidate

Thinking he could raise the profile of the BC Greens in the district and help them win the election, Adamson then put his name in to become a candidate for that party. “Because of my twelve years as electoral director, and I had a lot of NDP people that would support me if I did that,” he said.

On Sept. 21 Jonah Timms confirmed to The Hope Standard that he would be the candidate for the Greens in the Fraser Nicola district.

CEO of the Fraser Nicola Green Party Riding Association Kathleen Burman said at this point no other potential candidates had submitted applications.

“At the time, in all good faith, they thought that the only candidate stepping forward was Jonah Timms, because no other candidate had come forward and followed the process,” Burman said. “We were all aware of somebody else who had shown an interest but there had been no form completed.”

After submitting his application Adamson decided to withdraw, opting instead to run as an independent.

The reason behind this decision, Adamson said, is that he is discouraged by the way political parties function. “All parties are the same, with control over what you say. And I have to say whatever I see wrong, it’s just part of me,” he said. “I just didn’t want to work with a party anymore.”

Securing an election victory as an independent has traditionally been exceedingly difficult in a first-past-the-post electoral system. Despite this reality, Adamson said he believes an independent would work harder for their constituents and could represent “true democracy.”

“I’ve been listening to a lot of people in the area, I see people that have problems with the system and experience with these two parties,” he said. “People care more about protecting the parties than they do about helping people.”

The Greens confirmed Tuesday that Jonah Timms is the candidate for the party in Fraser Nicola.

The choice of a candidate for the Greens will look very different this year Burman said, due to the calling of a snap election and the requirement that parties have candidates nominated by this Friday, Oct. 2.

Normally, Burman explained, a nomination contest would be run where potential candidates are first vetted by the BC Greens headquarters and local members of the party then vote for their preferred candidate. This process would be impossible to follow, she added, when faced with a snap election.

“Potential candidates were to be vetted and chosen by our Green Party headquarters in Victoria,” Burman said of how the process will work ahead of the Oct. 24 election. The party headquarters will look at the candidates and make a choice based on their criteria, which will likely include looking at candidates’ backgrounds and ensuring there is “nothing in their background that would compromise the party” she added.

The BC NDP and BC Liberals have confirmed candidates running in the district: incumbent Jackie Tegart with the Liberals and Aaron Sumexheltza with the NDP.

The BC Ecosocialists have indicated they intend to field a candidate in the district, yet have not announced one yet. The Conservative Party of BC, in an email to Black Press Media, have stated they are announcing candidates over the next week yet did not specify whether a candidate for Fraser Nicola would be part of those announcements.

Read more: Greens, Liberals, NDP field Fraser Nicola candidates ahead of October election

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