Libby Davies, one of the NDP's two deputy leaders, said Thursday she will not be a candidate in her party's leadership race. The longtime Vancouver MP said on Twitter that "after much thought I'm not gonna do it," and she linked to a newspaper article where she explained that her lack of French is an obstacle.
She said she believes the next leader of the NDP should be able to represent a bilingual country. The NDP was boosted from the fourth party in the House of Commons to Official Opposition on May 2 after a breakthrough in Quebec where 59 seats were won.
The only two declared candidates in the leadership race so far – Brian Topp and MP Romeo Saganash – are both from Quebec. Davies's fellow deputy leader, Thomas Mulcair, is expected to enter the contest and is also a Quebec MP.
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The NDP will be choosing a leader in March at a convention in Toronto. The party's leader Jack Layton died of cancer in August and Nycole Turmel, a rookie MP from Quebec, is serving as interim leader.
Davies is one of the most experienced MPs in the NDP caucus. She was first elected in 1997 and served as the party's house leader for years. She is currently the NDP's health critic.
The list of potential candidates is further whittled down with Davies's confirmation she's not running for the leadership. On Wednesday, another potential candidate who was being encouraged to run, Megan Leslie, said she's not entering the race. Other MPs say they are still deciding. Mulcair has given strong signals he will enter; Paul Dewar, Nathan Cullen, Peggy Nash, Robert Chisholm, and Peter Julian say they are still thinking about it.