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B.C. NDP leadership race awaits first contender as MLA Heyman rules out bid

George Heyman prepares to take the stage after winning the NDP nomination in the Vancouver-Fairview riding in Vancouver on Oct. 21, 2012.

Rafal Gerszak/The Globe and Mail

Yet another prospective candidate for the leadership of the B.C. NDP has decided he won't run for the job.

On Friday, rookie MLA George Heyman said he gave the idea of a leadership bid much thought over several months, but won't run.

New Democrats will pick a successor to Adrian Dix on Sept. 28, but there are no candidates in the race even though Mr. Dix said he would leave as leader last September. His decision came after the party's unexpected defeat in the spring election.

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"My reason for not running is deeply personal," said Mr. Heyman, a former leader of the B.C. Government and Service Employees Union who went on to serve as executive director of the Sierra Club B.C. He did not elaborate.

Mr. Heyman was elected to the legislature for the first time in Vancouver-Fairview in the 2013 provincial election.

Mr. Heyman said, in an interview, he ruled out a leadership bid a few weeks ago, but took time to take a second look at his decision because supporters asked him to reconsider.

"I thought I could have won," he said.

The high-profile New Democrat, whose critic duties include the regional transportation agency TransLink, is the latest in a series of MLAs and NDP MPS to consider a leadership bid, but rule it out.

On Thursday, Burnaby MP Kennedy Stewart said he had concluded a long, detailed process of looking at a bid with a decision to stay in federal politics.

Mr. Stewart, a political scientist at Simon Fraser University on leave from academia, also said it had become clear to him that the provincial New Democrats want someone from caucus as leader instead of an outsider.

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Asked about parting advice for provincial New Democrats, Mr. Stewart said it was time for someone to actually enter the race.

"People would really like to know who's in the race," he said, adding tremendous work signing up members and running a campaign lies ahead of any prospective candidates.

At this point, MLA Mike Farnworth, who came second in the 2011 race that elected Mr. Dix, appears the only candidate likely to enter the race.

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About the Author
B.C. reporter

Ian Bailey is a Vancouver-based reporter for The Globe and Mail.  He covers politics and general news. Prior to arriving at The Globe and Mail, he reported from Toronto and St. John’s for The Canadian Press.  He has also covered British Columbia for CP, The National Post and The Province. More

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