NEWS ~ Statement by Peter Julian, MP Burnaby-New Westminster

Statement by Peter Julian, MP Burnaby-New Westminster

BURNABY, BC. Almost to the day, one month ago, Carole James stepped down as leader of the BC NDP after successfully bringing our party from two seats in the legislature to the brink of forming government. Her resignation was a surprise to many of us in the NDP.

Almost immediately afterwards, I was approached by a significant number of activists, including those in provincial caucus and the labour and environmental movements, to consider running for the BC NDP leadership. At the time, I committed to leaving the door open for a few weeks in order to consult as widely as possible. Though there are a vast number of British Columbians that I could still speak with, I am satisfied that I have spoken with enough individuals in our movement to make a decision. I will not be a candidate for the leadership of the BC NDP at the April 17th leadership vote.

Over the past few weeks I have met with many members of the provincial NDP caucus and have been impressed, yet again, with the many talents and abilities that our caucus members possess. It was the opportunity to work with such an exceptional group at home in British Columbia that tempted me for a time to consider putting my name forward for Leader of the BC NDP. This is an exceedingly important time in our province and the debates that will take place during the leadership campaign will be vitally important. I know that a number of candidates will step forward from provincial caucus and that each of them possesses not only the qualifications to manage the challenges facing British Columbians but also the skills and abilities needed to fulfill the role as a successful Premier of British Columbia.

But, as many activists, constituents and folks from outside BC have pointed out in letters, e-mails, postings and calls to my offices and home phone number, there is important work that needs to be done in Ottawa in 2011. Our national leader, Jack Layton, continues to be the most popular opposition leader in federal politics and the federal NDP has a very strong caucus in Ottawa. The Harper government continues to go in the wrong direction hurting the quality of life of most Canadians and Canada's reputation abroad. And there is widespread speculation that a federal election will take place this spring.

As a proud BC Member of Parliament who has been fortunate to live and work in most regions of Canada, I have heeded those who tell me it’s important to continue the work of building our Party nationally for a probable election in 2011. This opinion was particularly strongly expressed in the last few days prior to this announcement, as many realized that to run for provincial leadership meant resigning forthwith my position as Member of Parliament for Burnaby-New Westminster. I am honoured to represent our community in Parliament and will run for re-election in Burnaby-New Westminster in the federal election that will likely take place later this year.

I encourage all those who are contemplating running for the BC NDP leadership to step forward in the coming days. Our Party needs their participation in this important leadership process. Our Party will undoubtedly come out of this process strengthened by vigorous debate and the presentation of new ideas.

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