The battle for the riding of Richmond Centre became a little clearer Thursday as NDP leader Adrian Dix announced journalist Frank Yunrong Huang as his party’s candidate for the May 14 provincial election.
Huang is the editor in chief of the Global Chinese Press, a position he announced he was stepping down from to run for office.
“This is the right thing to do because I think the media should always be observed to be neutral and non-partisan,” he told a large gathering of media at the Shanghai Garden Restaurant for the announcement.
Huang moved to Canada in 2001 and in 2005 was a recipient of a Jack Webster Award.
He said his experience as an immigrant places him well to represent the riding’s constituents, many of whom speak English as a second language.
“Over the years I have seen Richmond Centre flourish as a multi-cultural city centre. More and more immigrants come to work and live and play in Richmond,” he said. “Like me they are all striving to have a better opportunity and quality of life.”
Huang added he understand the needs and challenges of newcomers and believes he can be an effective bridge between the Chinese-speaking and non-Chinese speaking communities.
While he does not live in Richmond, Huang said he has played a role locally as a member of the Asian Campaign Committee of the Richmond Hospital Foundation.
Huang added he’d seriously consider moving to Richmond if elected.
Dix said he liked Huang’s chances of getting elected in a riding that has long been a B.C. Liberal stronghold.
“We’re very excited about our campaign here in Richmond,” said Dix, who was quick to point out the last elected NDP MLA was Harold Steves in the mid-1970s.
“But we think this is the election that that’s going to change.”
Dix later added that the NDP is not here (in Richmond) to finish second.
“We think Frank has a strong opportunity to win the seat.”
Understandably, Huang was also upbeat about his chances.
“I believe Adrian Dix and the NDP are a vehicle for positive change,” he said. “With positive change in government in the wind, we need to ensure that Richmond Centre has a strong voice in Victoria.”
Huang’s main contender will be Liberal candidate Teresa Wat.
In mid-January, the BC Liberal Party announced it had selected Wat, president and CEO of Mainstream Broadcasting Corporation, as its candidate in the riding. Incumbent Rob Howard announced he would not be running.
Wat’s appointment drew scorn from Gary Law, an RCMP member living in Richmond who had sought the candidacy.
Law has since announced plans to run as an independent.
The Green Party of B.C. has chosen Michael Wolfe as it’s candidate.