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B.C. NDP ministers Bains, Ralston and Fleming won't seek re-election in Oct. 19 vote

B.C. NDP ministers Bains, Ralston and Fleming won't seek re-election in Oct. 19 vote

VICTORIA, B.C. – Three veteran New Democrat cabinet ministers and community stalwarts in Surrey and Victoria have announced they won’t seek re-election in British Columbia’s fall vote.

Harry Bains, Bruce Ralston and Rob Fleming were all first elected in 2005 and have served five terms in the legislature but said Thursday they will not be running on Oct. 19.

The three ministers join at least eight other NDP MLAs who have said they will not seek re-election.

NDP campaign director Marie Della Mattia said the three believe their decisions will help bring new voices to the party.

“I think they all see it as a chance to have new people come forward because we’ve got lots of interest in people running in those ridings,” she said. “There’s always an excitement around fresh energy and new people.”

Della Mattia said Premier David Eby was informed before the ministers went public with their decisions not to run.

She said applications for prospective candidates to run in the three ridings will be announced shortly and nomination dates will follow “pretty quickly.”

Bains, 72, who represents the Surrey-Newton riding, said in a statement it was the honour of a lifetime to represent his constituents and serve as B.C.’s labour minister, but it’s time to “allow someone new to continue the work we have begun.”

“When I first decided to run many years ago, I started with a mission to take action on human rights and workers’ rights,” said Bains, a former union leader. “Under the leadership of premiers John Horgan and now David Eby, I am proud of the work we’ve accomplished and the difference we have made in people’s lives.”

Fleming, 52, transportation minister and Victoria-Swan Lake MLA, said it had been a privilege to serve his constituents for “the better part of two decades.”

Fleming saluted Horgan and Eby for appointing him to cabinet and thanked former NDP opposition leader Carole James for her leadership and friendship as a colleague in the neighbouring riding of Victoria-Beacon Hill.

“I am optimistic about our province’s ability to solve complex problems when we work together,” he said. “And I hope to continue to be able to contribute to solving challenges in a different capacity in the future.”

Fleming said he would be “forever grateful” to the B.C. Road Builders and Heavy Construction Association, labour unions, First Nations and transportation ministry staff for their dedication and co-operation rebuilding the devastated Coquihalla Highway after November 2021 flooding.

Ralston, 71, who represents Surrey-Whalley and is B.C.’s forests minister, confirmed on social media he won’t seek a sixth term.

Ralston, who served as B.C. NDP president before being elected to the legislature in 2005, said he was looking forward to his next phase in life after almost 20 years in provincial politics.

Ralston served previously as NDP house leader when the party was in opposition and held cabinet posts in energy and mines and jobs, trade and technology.

The other NDP MLAs who have said they will not seek re-election are Katrine Conroy, George Heyman, Nicholas Simons, Doug Routley, Jennifer Rice, Katrina Chen, Fin Donnelly and Murray Rankin.

©2024 THE CANADIAN PRESS

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