B.C.’s attorney general David Eby has announced he’s running for the NDP leadership to replace current Premier John Horgan.
Flanked by his colleagues, an exuberant Eby told a small crowd at the Kitsilano Neighbourhood House — located within his riding of Vancouver Point Grey — that he is the best choice to become the next premier of B.C.
In his speech, Eby noted that he has the support of 48 of his NDP MLA colleagues. He made it clear that his priority will be offering more provincial support to develop new housing for B.C.’s growing population. Beyond that, Eby said he will work to build safer and stronger communities.
“A home is not secure if you can’t afford it or if it’s not safe… the NDP has never shied away from delivering public solutions to failing public markets whether it’s child care, pharma care, housing or car insurance.”
Eby is best known for his efforts in overhauling ICBC, leading the provincial inquiry into money laundering and pushing for municipalities to develop more affordable housing — efforts that have garnered him plenty of supporters and critics over the years.
He is the only candidate to step forward so far and many of his notable colleagues have already bowed out of the race. Before announcing his bid on Tuesday (July 19), Eby resigned from his roles in cabinet — a move that is required to run in the leadership race. Eby would not comment on who should replace him as attorney general if he does become the next premier.
Premier John Horgan announced in late June that he would not be seeking re-election. Horgan has led the NDP since 2014 and brought the party historic electoral success. The 62-year-old cited his recovery from a recent bout with cancer as a reason for stepping down, saying his energy flags as the day goes by.
Horgan said he will stay on as premier until a new NDP leader is chosen. After that, he will serve out the remainder of his term as MLA until the next election in the fall of 2024.
While Horgan is looking forward to more days walking the beaches with his wife Ellie, Eby has his work cut out for him. If successful, he would take the helm of a province facing a housing crisis, an opioid crisis, a healthcare worker and doctor shortage, climate change and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Before Eby even officially announced he was running, the opposition Liberals put out a press release slamming the attorney general as “soft-on-crime” and “low-on-results” in his role as minister responsible for housing.
“The NDP is all talk and no action — on affordability, on crime, and more. Lots of bold promises with no follow-through,” said MLA Trevor Halford. “While David Eby’s record is too radical and abysmal to be Premier, his candidacy epitomizes the NDP government’s record of flashy promises and no results.”
Assuming other candidates come forward, the NDP will vote on their new leader in mid-November. The new leader will be announced on Dec. 3 before getting sworn in as premier in mid-December.