After weeks of speculation, BC Attorney General David Eby is set to formally announce this evening he is running to become the next leader of the BC NDP.
Eby, the front-runner in the race, would become premiere if he wins the leadership race or is the only candidate to enter the race before the October deadline.
The 44-year-old announced his intention to join the race in front of caucus colleagues and supporters Tuesday evening in Kitsilano, part of his Vancouver-Point Gray riding.
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Eby says 48 MLAs are supporting his bid to lead the party and replace Premier John Horgan.
“I think I can deliver consistency and certainty at a very inconsistent time,” Eby said.
“If I am successful British Columbians should not expect any radical changes from what John is doing. But if I am successful I definitely see some opportunities to respond to needs in fast growing communities. Around housing. Around essential infrastructure. Around awarding those cities that are approving that we need.”
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Over the past few weeks, nearly a dozen potential candidates have turned down the opportunity to take on Eby.
Jobs minister Ravi Kahlon and Minister of State for Infrastructure Bowinn Ma both told supporters not only were they not running for leadership but were encouraging Eby to run.
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Ministers Selina Robinson, Josie Osborne, Nathan Cullen, George Heyman, Melanie Mark, Katrina Chen and Adrian Dix have all publicly ruled out a bid for the leadership position.
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Eby is one of the province’s best-known politicians and recently helped ICBC overhaul, launched a public inquiry into money laundering in the province and is leading the province’s response to the ongoing housing crisis.
He says he would be happy to see others join the race as well.
“It is a democratic party. If someone can get the signatures then they can run, my team is preparing for a race,” Eby said.
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Over the weekend the BC NDP announced the leadership rules to replace Premier John Horgan.
Horgan announced in June he would not be seeking re-election and would step down as premiere as soon as the NDP membership voted for a leader to replace him.
On Monday, Horgan and his government celebrated five years in power. A cancer diagnosis and the recovery, in part, led Horgan to decide to walk away from the premier’s chair.
The deadline to join the party and be eligible to vote in the leadership is Sunday, Sept. 4.
The final candidate list will be available on October 4. If no other candidate runs against Eby, the party could decide to not hold a final vote.
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Eby would then become a leader and could be sworn in as early as November.
If there are multiple candidates or the party decides to keep the current timelines, voting will begin on Sunday, Nov. 13, with the new leader being announced on Saturday, Dec. 3.
If option two happens, the new NDP leader is expected to be sworn in as premiere in mid-December, after a brief transition following the leadership race.
“It is good for the party from the start to show that unity but there is also a cathartic to air some of those concerns. Because not doing it builds up some of those resentments,” UBC political scientist Gerald Baier said.
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