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Two more cabinet ministers rule out a run for B.C. NDP leader, solidifying Eby's position as front-runner

Finance Minister Selina Robinson and Minister of Land, Water and Resource Stewardship Josie Osborne say they won’t run to replace Premier John Horgan.
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B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson is photographed during a news conference ahead of the budget at the legislature in Victoria on Monday, February 21, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

Two more high-profile NDP cabinet ministers have announced they’re not running to replace Premier John Horgan, further solidifying a likely coronation for Attorney General David Eby.

Finance Minister Selina Robinson told Postmedia Monday she won’t seek the B.C. NDP leadership.

“I think I’d be a great premier,” Robinson said, adding that it was lovely to hear from so many people who encouraged her to run.

“But my first thought was, ‘Well, who’s going to do the budget then?’ ” Robinson said. Government rules require ministers to step down temporarily from their cabinet position while seeking the leadership. The treasury board begins budget preparations in the late fall and presents the budget in February.

She said she’s also discouraged by the vitriol she’s received from some members of the public, including cases where her staff have reached out to RCMP because of threatening messages.

Robinson said last week she was seriously considering a run but decided over the weekend it’s not the right time for her.

“I think it’s critically important that whenever there’s an opportunity that presents itself, particularly for women, we should think seriously about it and and really challenge ourselves around ‘Would I do this? Could I do this? Should I do this?’ ” Robinson said.

Josie Osborne, minister of land, water and resource stewardship, said on Twitter Monday that she won’t seek the party leadership. She said she’s proud to serve as MLA for Mid Island-Pacific Rim and as part of the cabinet and “that’s the work I’ll stay focused on as we choose our next B.C. NDP leader.”

Several other cabinets ministers have said they won’t run for the position, including Ravi Kahlon and Bowinn Ma, who have thrown their support behind Eby.

Nathan Cullen, Rob Fleming and George Heyman have also ruled out a run.

Eby — the presumed front-runner because of his work on tough files including money laundering, overhauling ICBC and pushing local governments to approve affordable housing — is expected to announce his candidacy this week.

Robinson said she will wait until all candidates have declared before endorsing anyone. She also said as finance minister it’s important to remain impartial.

Premier John Horgan, 62, announced in late June that he won’t seek a third term as premier, citing health struggles following his bout with throat cancer. He will stay on as premier until his replacement is selected.

The leadership campaign officially kicked off Sunday after the B.C. NDP released the leadership rules.

Leadership candidates have until Oct. 4 to enter the race and must pay a fee of $15,000, according to party rules released on the weekend.

Candidates have until Sept. 4 to sign up new members as the party’s constitution requires individuals to be members for at least 90 days in order to vote for the leader. The mail-in voting period will begin Nov. 13 and the results will be announced Dec. 3.

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