Peter Julian steps down as NDP House leader to consider leadership bid

NDP MP Peter Julian is stepping down from his job as the party's House Leader to focus on a potential bid to succeed Tom Mulcair.

Bruised party will select a successor to Tom Mulcair in the fall of 2017

NDP MP Peter Julian will step aside as his party's House leader to consider a possible leadership bid. (Julian Tang/The Canadian Press)

NDP MP Peter Julian is stepping down from his job as the party's House leader to focus on a potential bid to succeed Tom Mulcair.

Julian said he will have discussions with people across the country before deciding if he will formally enter the race.

"I'm inspired by New Democrats, I'm inspired by Canadians, and I'm looking forward to those conversations that will be taking place in the next period," he said.

Party members rejected Mulcair's leadership at a convention in Edmonton in April, voting 52 per cent to 48 in favour of a leadership review. The caucus agreed to keep him on as caretaker leader until a replacement is chosen next fall.

So far, no one has officially declared a run for the leadership. Meanwhile, nine candidates have declared their intention to seek the Conservative leadership, with several more sending signals they will join the race.

But Mulcair said there is much enthusiasm within the party.

"It's an exciting time for us in the NDP as we go through this process," he said.

The next NDP leader's primary role will be to rebuild the party after last year's crushing electoral defeat.

The NDP has struggled with sagging support and flagging fundraising since the Liberal government was elected a year ago.

Slumping support

Polls in September put the NDP's support at between 9 and 12 per cent.

Julian, who was first elected in 2004 to represent the British Columbia riding of Burnaby–New Westminster, is bilingual and has served as the party's critic for portfolios that include energy, natural resources and finance.​

As Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appeared on a series of morning talk shows to tout his government's record the first year in office, Julian said the Liberals have let people down.

"I think there are a lot of Canadians that are disappointed in how the first year has gone," he said. "There was a commitment to real change and we haven't seen that real change. So what I'll be doing over the next little while is talking with Canadians and getting my inspiration from them and from New Democrats about the next steps to take for our country."

B.C. MP Murray Rankin will take over the post of NDP House leader. That role comes with an annual salary bump of $16,800.