Popular local MLA says no to NDP leadership run

But Fleming says he will consider interim leader role

Victoria-Swan Lake MLA Rob Fleming has good reasons for not choosing to seek the top spot in the provincial NDP.

“It’s something I’ve thought of, but it just doesn’t work for me right now. I’m happy to have arrived at that decision,” Fleming told the News. “It would be difficult for me. I have two small children – neither is school-aged. I’m just enjoying being an MLA.”

Today (Jan. 19), the provincial party holds its first caucus meeting since leader Carole James’ resignation. An interim leader will be chosen to lead until the April 17 leadership convention and Fleming hasn’t ruled out that option.

“I’m getting some encouragement from colleagues so I’m thinking about that,” he said.

When James announced her resignation on Dec. 6, Fleming’s name was quickly mentioned by pundits as a possible successor.

Jamie Lawson, assistant professor of political science at the University of Victoria, said Fleming’s white-collar, cool-headed image as a politician was likely the reason he garnered leadership attention. “He doesn’t particularly come across as a populist and he doesn’t come across as the kind of ideologue who’d scare people because he wants deep social reforms,” he said.

“If what you’re trying to do is get (the NDP party) past 40 per cent, you want some of the (voters) who are saying ‘maybe’ about the NDP to say ‘yeah.’ I think, in that kind of a situation, people’s minds politically are going to turn to someone like Rob Fleming.”

Fleming acknowledged whomever takes the party helm – in the interim and for the long-term – needs to “put the difficult events of the past month behind us and move forward … This internal ‘coming together’ will be key.”

Six leadership candidates are declared so far: Malahat-Juan de Fuca MLA John Horgan, Mike Farnworth, Harry Lali, Nicholas Simons, Dana Larsen and opposition deputy house leader Adrian Dix, who officially joined the race on Monday. It’s anticipated little internal support will be thrown behind any of the candidates until the Liberals choose a new leader next month.

“I was away when John Horgan entered the race, but he’s a person I have tons of respect for, and his abilities as an MLA are very strong,” Fleming said. “On issues like the environment and economic recovery, people are going to bring their own unique stamp to the job. I don’t think you’re going to see significant change in the direction of the party. I think it will really be more about which issues are prioritized and championed.”

kslavin@saanichnews.com

Just Posted

VIDEO: Victoria writer and filmmaker turns her mental illness into mental strength

Mental illness robs Victoria woman of happiness from age 10

Physician assistants say they can help B.C. health care woes

Reducing wait times, improving doctor efficiency is the goal

Additional data from Point-in-Time survey finds most homeless people are local

Most homeless people are young men between the ages of 18 and 24

Two people sent to hospital in View Royal crash

Crash on Island Highway near Six Mile Road snarled the evening commute

Greater Victoria beach clean up recovers 655 pounds of garbage

Cigarette butts, straws discarded at alarming rates on local beaches

Legal pot price must be ‘competitive’ with black market: Blair

Bill Blair shared final words on journey to legalization ahead of official day Wednesday

Advance voting begins Oct. 10 in Greater Victoria

The polls open at 8 a.m. for the 2018 municipal election with the general election taking place Oct. 20

Find your future at Black Press career fair in Victoria

More than 70 booths expected at Bay Street Armoury on Oct. 25

Boeser tallies in OT as Canucks beat Penguins 3-2

Vancouver wins without star rookie Pettersson

Mayor of Kamloops says ‘history has been made’ with vote on B.C.’s lone pot shop

The store to be run by the province in B.C.’s Interior is opening Wednesday as pot sales become legal across Canada

New bus route to ‘replace’ Greyhound along Trans-Canada Highway

Rider Express Transportation says they will soon begin a bus service from Winnipeg to Vancouver

U.S. pot firm urges Trump to deny Canadian producers ‘competitive advantage’

The challenge for U.S. firms lies in the fact that while recreational cannabis is legal in nine states and medicinal pot in 22 others, it remains illegal under federal law

Government says imprisoned Canadian terror suspects must face consequences

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale showed little sympathy Tuesday for such individuals who now want to return to Canada

How rules for inmate segregation in Canada will change under Bill C-83

Federal government proposing changes to rules around inmates in federal correctional institutions

Most Read