NEWS RELEASE · 6th December 2010
Earlier this morning I informed the Provincial Secretary of the NDP and our Caucus Chair that I will be stepping down as Leader of the Opposition and of the New Democrats.
Iíll be stepping down pending the election of an interim leader. That decision will be made in the New Year.
This hasnít been an easy decision, as Iím sure you can imagine. But itís been a decision that Iíve made in the best interests of the party.
Most importantly, itís been made in the best interests of British Columbians, who expect and deserve a functioning Opposition.
Theyíre not getting that right now in this province.
Over the last two months, weíve seen some members of our caucus decide to use their time and energy in-fighting instead of working on behalf of British Columbians.
I and many others have made efforts to try and resolve this issue. Weíve reached out; weíve tried to get people back to work.
I sent a messageÖ our party's governing body sent a very clear message.
But the in-fighting continues.
Iíve spent my entire life working at building things, not complaining and taking them apart.
And right now, at this point in time, my time and energy as leader is consumed with the in-fighting. And thatís not right.
Itís not productive, itís not useful and most importantly, itís not serving the people of British Columbia.
Fighting amongst ourselves is not what we were elected to do.
Itís been just over seven years since I was first elected leader of the New Democrats.
That point of history in our party was an incredibly exciting and an incredibly challenging time to come into provincial politics.
We had two seats in the Legislature.
There certainly wasnít any public belief that our party could rebuild, re-organize or come back.
I ran for leader when there were few people in this province who believed in our party.
But I did.
I ran because I had a deep belief in our party, a deep belief in public service, and most importantly, a deep belief in this province and the people of this province.
Iíve always believed that more is accomplished by working together than continuing the old divides.
Iíve always believed that you don't complain about things, you get in there and you do something about making change.
I ran because I wanted to contribute to a new progressive vision for our party.
And I'm proud of the work that Iíve doneÖ that our party has done.
From two seats, to three seats, to 35 seats.
Iím proud of the fact that we offered a progressive, modern vision for New Democrats.
Iím incredibly proud of the work we did in standing up for at-risk children.
Bringing back an independent Childrenís Commissioner once again in this province.
Iím proud of the work that we did standing up for people who donít have a voice under the B.C. Liberals.
People with disabilities. Children and families living in poverty.
Iím also incredibly proud of the work that weíve done over the last number of months reaching out to British Columbians through dialogue, to talk about the things that we have in common in this province not the differences.
When I first began that work, I was told that I couldnít do that in British Columbia, that the traditional divides were too great in this province.
Well Iím proud to say that we brought together people from all over British Columbia with diverse views, who came together to say we do have commonalities; there are things we agree on in this province and we want to move ahead on them.
That work, I believe, put us on a course to governmentÖ and is work that must continue in our party.
But those accomplishments and the work weíve done are a stark contrast to the last two months.
I have always believed in putting the common good ahead of personal gain.
Thatís been my family's hallmark, thatís been my genetic makeup, itís been the work Iíve done my entire life.
It is time for all caucus members to find a way to unite to serve British Columbians.
There have been some in our caucus have used me as an excuse to keep from doing that work.
Well, I won't let that happen.
The work has to get done on behalf of the people of British Columbia. And I will not participate in slowing down that work.
And if Iíve become the excuse for some people to not get that work done, then itís time for me to move on so the work does get done.
New Democrats have an incredibly proud history of putting people first.
Whether itís the Agricultural Land Reserve, public auto insurance, protecting parks, care for seniorsÖ we have an incredibly proud legacy.
And I have been so honoured to serve as leader of this party.
I have been incredibly humbled by the volunteers, the members, past and present leaders, MLAsÖ the people who make up our party are extraordinary.
And I had an amazing gift of being reminded every single dayÖ of this extraordinary province we live in.
Iíve visited communities, and talked to people whoíve shared their passion with me.
And Iíve also spent time with the real heroes in British Columbia.
Families who struggle to better themselves and look after their children.
The workers of British Columbia: the health care providers, teachers, paramedics, childcare workers, firefightersÖ
Iíve had the honour to work with not-for-profit organizations, who toil away in communities often without any recognition that do the real work that keeps our communities going.
Iíve met with immigrants, who I believe are some of the bravest people in our province who come to this province often without language skills -- to share their abilities with all of us.
Iíve met with the business leaders and entrepreneurs who keep our economy going with their investments and their hard work.
And Iíve had an opportunity to spend time in First Nations and Aboriginal communities, which I have to tell you are the most resilient, warm and welcoming places I have ever spent time.
Iíve loved this job. Itís been such an honour to serve the people of this province.
I couldnít have done this job without the support of my family.
My husband Al, my children Alison and Evan, their spouses, Bronwyn and Chris, Hayden, my mum and dadÖ my family and my friends.
Theyíve been incredibly patient while Iíve worked through anniversaries and birthdaysÖ while Iíve worked through family membersí cancer, my own personal cancer.
They deserve huge appreciation for what theyíve given to this party and the province.
And finally, the people of Victoria-Beacon Hill.
Itís such an honour to represent the community I grew up in, that I raised my children in... the community Iíve spent most of my life in. I have such a deep connection and support from the people here.
And I am looking forward to continuing to serve them as the MLA for Victoria-Beacon Hill and having a chance to spend time with the extraordinary people in this community.
Itís been an amazing journeyÖ an incredible rollercoaster ride.
Iím proud of our party, Iím proud of the people of British ColumbiaÖ and I want to end by thanking them, for the opportunity to serve them, for the passion, the time and the energy theyíve shared with me.