New Westminster/Burnaby MP places bid for NDP leadership
By Mercedes Deutscher, News Editor
New Westminster—Burnaby MP Peter Julian became the first person to officially enter the federal NDP leadership race, which is to start in July and culminate in October.
After current leader Thomas Mulcair lost the confidence of his party at the NDP’s April 2016 convention, many began to speculate whether or not Julian would attempt to run for the leadership.
On February 12, Julian confirmed the rumours by announcing his bid at the Columbia in New Westminster, with his leadership announcement broadcast live on Facebook.
“Our vision is to change politics in this country. We have an appointment with destiny in the fall of 2019, just 33 months from now,” Julian said, as reported by The National Post. “The next election will not be about polls or money or any of the superficial things our national media love to talk about. The next election is about the future of our country and of our planet.”
Julian has been an NDP member of parliament since 2004. During his 13-year tenure as an MP, he has held a multitude of roles within the NDP—House Leader, and critic of finance, energy, persons with disabilities, etc.
Yet what would the NDP look like with Julian in charge? It seems that Julian will use his experience learned from his various roles in the NDP to his advantage in structuring policy.
Financially, this would mean ending tax breaks for the wealthy, creating a strategy to slow housing inflation, and removing tuition fees.
Julian spoke of making post-secondary education as accessible to the public as healthcare is.
Environmentally, Julian said that his party would create jobs in the clean energy sector in order to phase out less-clean energy producers, and would continue to oppose oil pipelines.
Social issues that are a concern for Julian include continuing efforts to reconcile with Indigenous peoples, as well as addressing homelessness.
“Homelessness in Metro Vancouver and all of the country has reached, as far as I’m concerned, an unacceptable level, and it’s an issue that hasn’t galvanized the support of any major leader,” Julian said to The New Westminster Record.
While others are likely to enter the NDP leadership race soon—with an early NDP leadership debate scheduled for March 12—Julian is securing an early upper-hand on his to-be-announced opponents. He has not wasted time in fundraising for his campaign. Even before he announced his bid for leadership, Julian has been able to fundraise $31,000 from supporters as of the end of 2016, according to The National Post.
Julian also has the support of New Westminster mayor Jonathan Cote.
“He’s been an incredible member of Parliament for over a decade; not only represented New Westminster well, but really represented Canada well,” Cote said to the New Westminster Record. “I think he’s putting forward a positive vision for the NDP leadership and it’s what the party needs at this point in time.”