February 28, 2019 5:30 pm

Victoria MP Murray Rankin leaving federal politics, more NDP politicians could be on the way

NDP MP Murray Rankin asks a question during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill, Friday, Feb. 10, 2017 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
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The race for the doorway continues for federal NDP MPs.

Murray Rankin, MP for Victoria, is the latest to announce he is not going to run in the upcoming federal election.

“After careful consideration, I have made the decision to not seek re-election in the 2019 federal election. This was a very difficult decision to make,” Rankin said. “The honour of representing Victoria in the House of Commons has been the most exciting and rewarding experience of my life.”

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Rankin is the 12th NDP MP to announce they are not running in October’s election. The mass exodus of experienced politicians has been a question hanging over leader Jagmeet Singh, who earlier this week won the Burnaby South byelection.

READ MORE: NDP loses two more incumbents as Quebec MPs say they won’t run for re-election

Rankin was first elected as a federal MP in a 2012 byelection. The two-term MP turned 69 years old earlier this year and thanked Singh and former NDP leader Tom Mulcair in his letter announcing his decision to leave federal politics.

“And of course, I’d like to thank you, the people of Victoria. It has been a privilege to serve and to work with you. I’ve always said I am so fortunate to represent such a compassionate, engaged and progressive riding,” Rankin said “You have been a constant source of inspiration. I will continue working hard as Victoria’s voice in Ottawa until Election Day.”

READ MORE: Svend Robinson announces return to politics

At the beginning of February the B.C. government announced Rankin as B.C.’s representative to help guide and design the reconciliation process between the B.C. government and the Office of the Wet’suwet’en.

On Jan. 8, 14 people were arrested in the Wet’suwet’en First Nation for allegedly failing to obey a court injunction that required the removal of a blockade.

The Unist’ot’en Camp was set up years ago to manage entry into the Indigenous territory. A blockade, called the Gitdumt’en access point, was set up further along the road. A December court injunction was granted in favour of Coastal GasLink, ordering protesters to remove the blockade.

WATCH: Jagmeet Singh one on one interview with Global News following byelection win

The Wet’sewet’en have raised concerns over decades of denial of rights and title.

Rankin said there is still more he wants to do before his term is up in October.

“I will continue working with my NDP colleagues to defend our beautiful coast against the Trans Mountain Expansion project. I will keep pushing the Liberal government to agree to my proposal to expunge criminal records for simple cannabis possession,” Rankin said.

“I look forward to campaigning with the next Victoria NDP candidate this fall, as we work to keep our winning tradition of five consecutive victories for the NDP in this riding.”

READ MORE: Victoria MP calls on federal government to expunge criminal records for minor cannabis possession

Last week a pair of NDP MPs in Quebec announced they weren’t seeking re-election. In December, Port Moody—Coquitlam MP Fin Donnelly decided he wasn’t running again.

Now all eyes will be on longtime NDP MP Nathan Cullen. The Skeena—Bulkley Valley MP has been in office since 2004 and has not yet made a formal decision on whether he is going to run again.

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“I am confident Nathan is going to continue to work hard for progressive values,” Singh said on Monday night following his byelection victory. “He has worked hard for the New Democrats. I am confident he will make a contribution whatever his decision is.”

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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