British Columbia

David Eby launches campaign for leadership of the B.C. NDP

B.C.'s attorney general is widely viewed as the frontrunner — and possibly only candidate — to replace Premier John Horgan as leader of the B.C. NDP and premier of British Columbia.

Eby widely viewed as frontrunner — and so far only candidate — to replace Premier John Horgan

David Eby smiles, standing at a podium.
B.C. Attorney General and Minister Responsible for Housing David Eby announced in Vancouver on Tuesday he will seek the leadership of the B.C. NDP party. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)

Attorney General David Eby has announced he will be running for leadership of the B.C. NDP.

The announcement ended weeks of speculation over who might replace John Horgan as party leader and premier of British Columbia, since other high-profile New Democrats have bowed out of this fall's leadership election.

Eby is widely viewed as the frontrunner — and so far the only candidate — in the running for the Dec. 3 decision.

In announcing his leadership bid on Tuesday, Eby told supporters at the Kitsilano Neighbourhood House in Vancouver that more housing, affordable childcare and family doctors are needed for communities.

"Building public housing for middle-class families was something government never had to do when I was growing up,'' he said, adding that's needed because pressures in the housing market are pushing people onto the street.

B.C. Attorney General and Minister Responsible for Housing David Eby speaks to supporters from Vancouver on Tuesday. Eby is widely seen as the person most likely to become the next leader of the B.C. NDP — and the province's next premier — following John Horgan's announced departure. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)

One-horse race?

In late June, Horgan announced he would step down before the next provincial election, scheduled for 2024.

He cited a lack of energy after enduring treatment for throat cancer, which he says left him cancer free.

Horgan's coming departure set off speculation about who would take the reins of his party and government next.

Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon was expected to seek the job but two weeks ago said he would not and publicly urged his cabinet colleague Eby to seek it instead.

Finance Minister Selina Robinson has said she won't run, as has Health Minister Adrian Dix.

Lands Minister Josie Osborne, Municipal Affairs Minister Nathan Cullen, Tourism Minister Melanie Mark, Minister of State for Infrastructure Bowinn Ma and Minister of State for Childcare Katrina Chen have all said they won't run, either.

Eby plans to tour B.C.

Eby, who was born in Kitchener, Ont., and will turn 46 on Thursday, said he strongly urged Horgan to run for the party's leadership in 2013 and co-chaired his campaign after the NDP's tough election loss to the B.C. Liberal Party that year.

Eby won his Vancouver-Point Grey riding in 2013 over then-premier Christy Clark, forcing her to run in a byelection in Kelowna.

The timing for his chance at the premier's job wasn't right then, Eby said, adding: "I was just recently elected. I didn't even know where the bathrooms were in the legislature. My wife and I were expecting, and she was in school.''

B.C. Attorney General and Minister Responsible for Housing David Eby is pictured with his children at the announcement on Tuesday. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)

Now, he represents a "generational shift'' in the legislature, Eby said.

"I think if I'm successful, I'll represent a new generation of leaders in British Columbia. I've got a young family and will be able to bring that experience to the legislature with me.''

He plans to spend the next two months touring the province with his wife Cailey Lynch, who is a family physician, and their eight-year-old son Ezra and two-year-old daughter Iva.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Liam Britten

Digital journalist

Liam Britten is an award-winning journalist for CBC Vancouver. You can contact him at liam.britten@cbc.ca or follow him on Twitter: @liam_britten.

With files from Justin McElroy, Rhianna Schmunk, Josh Grant and The Canadian Press

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