British Columbia

Who are the 371 candidates running in the B.C. election?

The main parties are running a record number of women, including more than half of the NDP's 87 candidates.

CBC breaks down the backgrounds of the people running for the Liberals, NDP and Greens

Liberal, NDP and Green Party candidates vary wildly in their backgrounds. (CBC)

Last week, the deadline for registering as a candidate in the 2017 B.C. election came and went, with 371 people putting their name forward. 

The B.C. Liberals and NDP nominated a full slate of 87 candidates, the Green Party nominated 83 — only missing out on Skeena, Stikine, Peace River North and Peace River South. Fifteen minor parties are running 79 candidates and 35 people are going it alone. 

But what's equally interesting is how candidates break down by different demographics and professions — and what the differences are between various parties. 

On gender, NDP make history

For the first time in B.C. history, over half the candidates from a major party are women.

The NDP has female candidates in 44 of the province's 87 ridings, compared to 36 for the B.C. Liberals, and 33 of the Green Party's 83 candidates. All three increased their number of female candidates by at least 20 per cent compared to 2013. 

The NDP's milestone didn't come without some controversy: a party policy ensuring that retiring white male MLAs had to be replaced in their ridings by a woman or "equity-seeking" man resulted in controversies in Columbia River-Revelstoke and Cowichan Valley.  

In total, there are 124 female candidates this election (33.4 per cent), compared to 96 (25.6 per cent) in 2013. 

On diversity, Greens lag behind NDP and Liberals

As the share of British Columbia's non-white population has risen, so too have the number of visible minority candidates. 

Except for the Green Party: of their 83 candidates, just five are not white, compared to 20 Liberal candidates and 26 NDP candidates. 

A screengrab of the Green Party's website where their candidates in the 207 election are listed and shown.

"They don't have strong inroads with ethnic minority communities to date," said political scientist Hamish Telford last week in describing the party's challenges for an electoral breakthrough. 

"It's certainly going to affect their ground game. They don't have the same type of operation and they don't have the inroads ... to mobilize voters there."

Twenty-two of the 114 candidates running as independents or for minor parties are not white making 73 visible minority candidates in total (19.7 per cent).

Splits in backgrounds

But where the parties differ most is in the backgrounds of the people who win nominations to serve as candidates.

With 42 MLAs seeking re-election, the Liberals have 45 new candidates of diverse backgrounds running, including:

  • Eight small business owners.
  • Five mayors or councillors.
  • Four business leaders.
  • Three lawyers.
  • Three recent First Nations leaders. 
  • Two former Global B.C. personalities (Steve Darling and Jas Johal).
  • One Olympian (Dave Calder in Saanich South).

The NDP has 59 candidates who aren't MLAs, but they tend to come from certain areas:

  • Eighteen of them are either current councilors (9), former ones (7), or regional directors (2).
  • Twelve are involved in the education system, either as teachers (5), school trustees (4), or in support or activist roles (3).
  • Seven are known primarily for their involvement with public sector unions.
  • Six are either leaders for non-profit organizations or work for them.
  • One, Delta North candidate Ravi Kahlon, is also an Olympian.

With 83 candidates, only one of whom is an MLA, the Green Party had many more candidates to recruit, but a majority of them come from the following places:

  • Thirteen are small business owners.
  • Eleven are professors, teachers or school instructors.
  • Five are known primarily through their environmental activism
  • Five are elected officials (two councillors, two school trustees, one regional director) 
  • Four are involved in the tech industry
  • Three are IT professionals or work as real estate agents.

A full chart for each party, not including MLAs or people who are difficult to classify: