NDP Leader Singh downplays another NDP MP's departure
OTTAWA –NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh is playing down losing another MP, with Nanaimo-Ladysmith, B.C. MP Sheila Malcolmson announcing Wednesday that she'd be vacating her federal seat to run as an MLA for the provincial New Democrats.
Malcolmson is the latest in what’s become a string of federal NDP MPs declaring they won't run again under Singh’s party in 2019.
Asked whether this was a blow to his leadership, Singh said "not at all," and said Malcolmson has been a great MP who will continue to do important work as part of a broader New Democrat family.
Malcolmson is now the eighth NDP MP to leave, or announce they intend to do so, in this Parliament. Included in this count are former leader Tom Mulcair, and fellow B.C. colleague Kennedy Stewart, who stepped down to run as mayor of Vancouver, a job he now holds.
"We're going to have a strong team come the next election, we’re going to have a great team of MPs that will be returning, as well as a bunch of new exciting candidates that we’ll present in the upcoming election," Singh said.
Standing next to Singh in the House of Commons foyer as he commented on Malcomson's departure, was Julia Sanchez, who is running for the federal NDP in Mulcair’s now-vacant Outremont seat.
Speaking to whether or not her departure had anything to do with the current standing of the federal NDP—Malcolmson said her decision was "in no way" about not about regret for the job she's now had for three years as an MP, and that she is fully supportive of Singh.
She said Singh announced her departure Wednesday morning during a caucus meeting.
"I'm really proud that Jagmeet is our leader. I support him absolutely," she said, adding that among what was pulling her to the provincial side, was the position the B.C. NDP are in to continue fighting the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion and "to be able to get results."
Malcolmson announced her news alongside B.C. NDP Premier John Horgan, who she said invited her to jump ship.
Horgan said that it was done with Singh’s blessing.
"He knows full well that Sheila’s participation in our government strengthens the NDP not just here in British Columbia, but indeed across the country," Horgan said. "We are all in this together."