The following statement was released by the B.C. NDP caucus on Wednesday afternoon:
“Since our defeat in the election on May 14, I have reflected both on my future as Leader of the B.C. NDP and on the future of our party.
“In doing so, I have tried to put the long-term success of the B.C. NDP ahead of any personal ambitions.
“I have always believed very strongly that politics is not about politicians or leaders themselves, but about the people we represent and the change we hope to bring to British Columbia.
“It has been an enormous privilege to lead our party, for which I will always remain grateful.
“It has also been a great privilege to lead and to work with our caucus of extraordinary MLAs, whose commitment and passion is on display every day. We worked together as an extremely effective team in the run-up to the election; that we fell short on Election Day is my responsibility as Leader.
“It has become clear to me that the best interests of our party mean that I need to step aside for a new Leader, who can lead us to victory in 2017.
“I intend to remain as Leader until such time as the party can hold a leadership vote to choose a new Leader.
“It is my hope that a leadership vote can be held by mid-2014 at the very latest, though of course any final decision on timing will be made by the party.
“In the meantime, I intend to continue to lead our party and caucus in the important work of holding the Liberals to account for the promises they made during the election and their actions since.
“We must take on a Liberal government that seems to reduce everything to its partisan advantage, and in doing so we must not leave any stone unturned. In the face of cynicism, it is our duty to nourish the need to aspire, to hope and to offer hope. Not by imitating our opponents at their worst or our critics at their most cynical but by speaking to the best in people. And of course to never ever give up.
“We must continue to make the case that the values the NDP stands for—a strong economy for all, equality, a just society, a commitment to an environment that can sustain good health and prosperity in the future—are the values of British Columbians, making our party the best party to govern our province.
“We must continue to fight for good jobs that will support families.
“We must continue to fight to ensure that all British Columbians—regardless of their background—are afforded the opportunity to make the most of their talents and prosper.
“And we must continue—now more than ever—to fight for those who have been left behind and for those with no voice.
“B.C. is at a crossroads: inequality growing, pressure on rural communities, the environment at risk, the basic needs of others—jobs, health care, access to public education and libraries and transit—all crying out for a better way. Such a time requires the B.C. NDP to learn and do better—and we will—but also to stick together.
“Whoever is chosen as the next Leader our party will have my complete support and relentless effort as we prepare to defeat the Liberals and form government in 2017.
“I want to thank the people of Vancouver-Kingsway for their ongoing support and the trust they continue to place in me as their representative. They are and will continue to be a source of inspiration for me.
“I have been blessed with some amazing support in the last two years: from Renée, from my family and friends, from supporters and co-workers, from the people of B.C. who have opened their businesses, their homes and their hearts to me.
“As I launch this part in my journey I wish to say that I will never forget your kindness and generosity, and will never stop seeking to repay it.