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McCurdy explains decision to step down as NDP leader in N.L.

Earle McCurdy announced Tuesday he is stepping down as leader of the provincial NDP.
Earle McCurdy announced Tuesday he is stepping down as leader of the provincial NDP.

Earle McCurdy announced Tuesday that he’s stepping down as leader of the NDP, and St. John’s Centre MHA Gerry Rogers is already the early favourite to replace him.

New Democrat MHA Gerry Rogers

Moments after McCurdy concluded his news conference announcing that he’s ready to leave politics, Rogers told reporters that she will be running.
The NDP’s only other member of the House of Assembly, former leader Lorraine Michael, said she has no intention of running for the leadership.
Rogers said that in the current municipal election, she’s feeling a groundswell of support from young people and progressive candidates, and she believes there’s an opportunity for the NDP to grow in the next provincial election.
She said with voters feeling frustrated and duped about the disastrous Muskrat Falls megaproject, the NDP should give voice to that frustration.
McCurdy was warmly thanked on Tuesday for his two years of service as leader of the NDP. He became leader in the spring of 2015, but failed to win a seat in the general election later that year.
The NDP has struggled and failed to rise above third-party status in the province since its inception.
McCurdy said that his decision to step aside is because he is planning on moving to Eastport with his wife, and he wasn’t prepared to make a six-year commitment to political life — the two years to the next election, and then four years afterward, if he wins a seat in the legislature.
There is a looming byelection coming in Mount Pearl North, with the announced departure of MHA Steve Kent. McCurdy lives in Mount Pearl North, and was widely expected to lose that byelection if he ran, but he said that factor had nothing to do with his decision to resign.
Party president Mark Grouchy said that the party executive will be meeting next week to pick an interim leader, and start deciding the timing and specific rules for a leadership contest to pick McCurdy’s replacement.

Earlier Story:

NDP Leader Earle McCurdy has decided to step down as leader of the New Democratic Party in Newfoundland and Labrador.

McCurdy made the surprise announcement Tuesday morning, indicating he will do so at the end of September.

In a news release, McCurdy said he made the move now well so there is plenty of time for voters to get familiar with a new NDP leader in advance of the next general election in 2019.

McCurdy said, after serious reflection, he was not prepared to commit to several more years as leader and decided it would be best for him, his family and the party to step aside now.

“I would like to thank our provincial executive, our two outstanding MHAs – Lorraine Michael and Gerry Rogers – and our committed and passionate membership for entrusting me with the leadership of our party,” McCurdy said.

“I’m proud to be a New Democrat. What convinced me to contest the leadership nearly three years ago was my lifelong belief in the values of the New Democratic Party.

“While I am stepping down as leader, I believe our party’s voice is needed now more than ever. It’s time for me to step aside and for a new leader to emerge to lead the party into the next election.”

McCurdy noted the NDP and its MHAs have been instrumental in advancing issues surrounding mental health and leading the charge against anti-literacy measures such as library closures and the book tax.

The NDP also pushed back hard against the 2016 Liberal budget and continue to challenge the government to immediately proceed with a public inquiry into Nalcor and the Muskrat Falls Project, he added.

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