Two-term MLA Nicholas Simons will run for leader of the B.C. NDP
Powell River-Sunshine Coast NDP MLA Nicholas Simons plans to enter his party's leadership race.
Simons, who was first elected in 2005, told the Georgia Straight that people have become "disaffected" from the democratic process.
He said that he has chosen to run for B.C. NDP leader because he wants to rekindle people's hope and get them more involved in decision-making.
"I think it's important to have a new voice with a new approach," Simons said.
He is positioning himself as the candidate for party renewal, saying that politicians should pay attention to good research and listen to public input before developing and implementing policies.
Simons won the support of many environmentally minded voters in his constituency in the last election campaign by not criticizing the carbon tax. As an MLA, he introduced a private member's bill promoting food security and local agricultural production.
He was one of 13 NDP MLAs who did not wear a yellow scarf in support of the current leader, Carole James, at a November NDP provincial council meeting in Victoria.
Simons has a master's degree in criminology from SFU and is the former director of health and social development with the Sechelt Indian Band. He is a cellist, and he won a gold record playing on an album by the Chicago punk band Rise Against.
He's also the first openly gay politician to seek the leadership of a major B.C. political party.
When asked about that, he replied: "My joke answer is we really don't know a lot about Amor de Cosmos [a 19th-century premier]," Simons quipped. "I think that people are past that as an issue. I've got two brothers and three sisters. They're all straight."