NDP MP Kennedy Stewart is quitting federal politics and throwing in his hat to be the next mayor of Vancouver.
The Burnaby South MP will wrap up the parliamentary session in Ottawa and officially resign in June to focus on winning the mayor’s job.
Stewart is running as an independent candidate, shooting down the speculation he would follow three-term mayor Gregor Robertson atop the Vision Vancouver ticket.
The 51-year-old said he is now focused on uniting “progressive” voters.
WATCH HERE: NPA Vancouver mayoral candidate accuses party of ‘stacking the deck’ against him
“I believe progressive voters across Vancouver are united in our desire to keep the Non-Partisan Association out of city hall,” said Stewart. “Make no mistake, the NPA stands for the same thing as the Harper Conservatives, they will make life worse for everyone except themselves.”
The Vancouver mayoral race is wide open, with the two mainstream parties struggling to manage a foothold in the race.
The NPA disqualified Coun. Hector Bremner this week and will choose a candidate this month. Vision Vancouver will pick a candidate in June, but none have yet come forward with interest in the job.
Green party city Coun. Adriane Carr is considering a run and Shauna Sylvester, director of SFU’s Centre for Dialogue, has announced she is running as an independent.
Stewart’s name recently surfaced as a potential candidate, after high-profile federal NDP members Libby Davies and Don Davies decided not to pursue the mayor’s job.
Stewart said his campaign will focus on various issues, but topping them is housing affordability.
WATCH HERE: B.C. MP Kennedy Stewart on why he is protesting at Kinder Morgan facility
“Just living here is a fading dream. We are all stressed out about thinking about housing costs and I think it is ruining our city,” Stewart said.
“We need to work together to reverse this affordability crisis.”
As an NDP member of Parliament, Stewart has been an active protester against the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.
He was arrested at the Kinder Morgan facility on Burnaby Mountain after he defied a court injunction that banned protesters from disrupting construction work at both Trans Mountain terminals.
“Improving our economy won’t mean anything if we ruin our environment,” said Stewart.
He said people have to fight back against people using the city to place their money and then “leave it to us to clean up.”
Municipal elections are slated to take place across the province on Oct. 20.