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Who is the climate activist challenging David Eby for BC NDP leader?


Anjali Appadurai is a climate activist who is challenging David Eby for the BC NDP's top job. As a woman of colour, she knows that will come with challenges.

"As a young, brown woman in politics, I'm prepared for whatever that might bring, you know, all these systems that work against us are alive and well," she told CTV News in an interview.

Appadurai went on to say she's faced dismissive and patronizing attitudes since she began her foray into politics.

"To be honest, I don't think about it very much, because like I said, I'm in a position where the work that I've done in my life has led me to this moment and I feel like I've answered a call from a huge number of people," she said.

That call – to become not only the NDP's next leader, but also the premier – is a long shot.

She faces David Eby, who stepped away from his duties as housing minister and attorney general to run for leadership after current Premier John Horgan announced he was stepping down, saying cancer treatments left his energy "flagging."

Eby has the support of nearly 50 NDP MLAs. He entered the race weeks ago, and there was speculation no one else would seek the job. That would have led to Eby's coronation in late October. Instead, it appears there will be a race, with a decision coming Dec. 3.

Appadurai is a long-time climate activist. As a youth, she gave a speech to the United Nations in 2011. Her bio says she's "a climate and social justice advocate with experience in grassroots campaigns and climate communications." She is the campaigns director at the Climate Emergency Unit.

Climate change is one area where Appadurai thinks the NDP has its priorities confused.

"What it actually means is reorienting our economy so that everybody is guaranteed good and clean jobs," she said. "So, prioritizing workers and making sure that everybody has what they what they need in terms of a sustainable livelihood."

Appadurai believes younger people are disillusioned with the party because of the lack of focus on not only the environment, but also health and housing.

"Whether it's the big industrial projects that get, you know, approved without consent from Indigenous people, and without a clear benefit to British Columbians, or whether it's the poisoned drug supply crisis that has been allowed to get out, become out of control, or whether it's housing that's, you know, no longer accessible for my entire generation. All of these point to that same set of priorities and set of values that that are backwards right now," she said.

Appadurai hasn't officially filed to be part of the race, but plans to do so soon.

On Twitter, Eby welcomed Appadurai's participation, wishing her luck, but "not too much luck."

In turn Appadurai said she appreciated Eby's work.

"Ten years ago, he was in my position," she said. "He was the activist and the insurgent and he's made a great contribution. I think at this time, though, the party is at a place where young people simply cannot get behind it."

She believes many young people are looking for transformative change, and that Eby represents the status quo. Top Stories

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