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David Eby running to replace B.C.'s outgoing premier

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After weeks of speculation, David Eby has announced he's running to replace outgoing B.C. Premier John Horgan.

The three-time MLA confirmed his candidacy Tuesday evening in his Vancouver-Point Grey riding, where he famously defeated former premier Christy Clark in 2013.

Eby thanked his family and colleagues for their support, including 48 members of the NDP caucus who have rallied behind his party leadership bid.

"It is because of all of you and your confidence in me that I will be putting my name forward," he said.

Entering the just-launched leadership race means stepping down from his roles as B.C.'s attorney general and minister responsible for housing.

In an interview with CTV News prior to the announcement, Eby confirmed he had already offered his resignation to the premier. He thanked Horgan, who announced his own pending resignation last month, for the opportunities he's been given in government.

"John and I go way back," Eby said. "I was co-chair of his leadership campaign. He's been a coach and a mentor to me, and an unofficial part of our family."

Despite recent dips in the polls, Horgan remains one of the most popular premiers in Canada. The longtime party leader blamed flagging energy since his latest bout with cancer for his decision to step aside.

So far, no other candidates have stepped forward. Prior to Eby's announcement, several high-profile MLAs confirmed they would not seek the party's leadership, including Finance Minister Selina Robinson, Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon and Municipal Affairs Minister Nathan Cullen.

Raj Sihota, former executive director of the B.C. NDP and vice-president of Strategies 360, suggested there's a "bit of a consensus" forming around Eby – but stressed that it's very early in the process.

"It’s not a done deal. The race is open until early October," Sihota added. "They always say a week is a long time in politics, so months is an incredibly long time."

The deadline for entering the race is Oct. 4, and NDP members are expected to vote on their next leader on Dec. 3.

Should Eby run unopposed, he would become the province's next premier by default.

Since the NDP rose to power in 2017, ending 16 years of B.C. Liberal reign, Eby helped ban union and corporate political donations, and spearheaded the province's switch to no-fault auto insurance at ICBC.

Prior to entering politics, Eby spent several years as executive director of the B.C. Civil Liberties Association, where he highlighted, among other things, allegations of racial profiling and excessive force against police.

He also repeatedly criticized the province's civil forfeiture laws as a means of circumventing due process – but has changed his tune since joining government.

Asked to comment on Eby's candidacy, B.C. Liberal MLA Todd Stone accused the former attorney general of being “soft on crime,” and failing to adequately address housing affordability while in cabinet.

“The NDP caucus, their party, might be willing to give David Eby a free ride,” Stone said. “British Columbians aren’t going to.” 

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