July 14th, 2024

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

By Dirk Meissner, The Canadian Press on July 4, 2024.

B.C. Labour Minister Harry Bains listens to a question in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, March 14, 2022. Three veteran British Columbia New Democrats representing Surrey and Victoria ridings have announced they won't be seeking re-election in this fall's Oct. 19 vote. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

VICTORIA – 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 say they will not stand on Oct. 19.

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

Bains, who represents the Surrey-Newton riding, said Thursday 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, 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 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, 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.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 4, 2024.

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