Langara history instructor aiming for BC NDP presidency

Craig Keating, Langara history instructor, teaching a lesson to one of his classes. Photo by Andrea Anthony
Craig Keating, Langara history instructor, teaching a lesson to one of his classes. Photo by Andrea Anthony

North Vancouver city councillor Craig Keating could be adding BC NDP president to his resume if elected this November.

Current NDP president Moe Sihota announced last month that he would be stepping down once his term ends in November.

What will his presidency look like?

If elected president of the BC NDP, Keating said he would have to take a look at his workload. “It’s a lot of balls in the air, you’re trying to balance things and still do a good job in every realm,” said Keating. “This is, at this stage of my life, something I can still handle.”

Keating said he hopes his generation can find a way to bridge what he calls “an obvious gulf between our current political system and youthful desire for change.”

His interest in politics came early on

Keating got his start in politics as a teenager in Peterborough, Ont., when he worked on the campaign for his high school teacher and NDP candidate, Paul Rexe in 1981. Keating ran for the NDP in 2005 and again in 2013 in the North Vancouver-Lonsdale riding, coming in second to the BC Liberal candidate both times. Keating is now running for what he calls “a bit less glamorous” job, the president of the BC NDP.

Keating earned a degree in history from Trent University, and subsequently a PhD in history from McMaster University, and he’s lived in North Vancouver since 1991, but Keating said he’s never going back. “I’m a refugee from Ontario,” he said.  Keating has been a professor at Langara for 22 years, and a North Vancouver city councillor for 14 years.

Working with the past

Keating said his background in history helps bring perspective to what he is doing in council by using the historical process to think about the modern world today. “Knowledge about the past helps to decode the world in which you exist today,” he said. “I have to control myself from making historical analogies when I talk politics, because it marks me as a dweeb who people should beat up and throw in their lockers.”

Despite running for a less glamorous position, Keating is still shooting to win. “The aim is to win a friggin’ election,” he said.

Reported by Andrea Anthony

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