NDP Leader Adrian Dix announces he will step down as leader by the middle of 2014 “at the latest.”

NDP Leader Adrian Dix announces he will step down as leader by the middle of 2014 “at the latest.”

Victoria MLAs eye NDP leadership

Rob Fleming and John Horgan considering bids to replace retiring Adrian Dix

Juan de Fuca MLA John Horgan and Victoria-Swan Lake MLA Rob Fleming are among a handful of New Democrat MLAs considering a run at the NDP leadership.

Last week NDP Leader Adrian Dix announced he would be stepping down as party leader.

A new leader is expected to take the reins of the party by mid -2014.

The move follows the party’s surprising loss in last spring’s provincial election.

Horgan, who ran for the party leadership in 2011 and placed third, said he is considering running again, but hasn’t made any decisions yet.

“I have to focus on what the needs of my constituents are, the people in my communities,” Horgan said, “Can I best do that as leader of the opposition or just as a critic for a particular ministry? I have to weigh that.”

Horgan has known Dix for 25 years and said he has nothing but the “utmost respect” for him and the work he has done with the party. The fact Dix is staying on until a leader can be chosen is a positive, Horgan said, at which point the party needs to work on tapping into core values in the province.

“We need to reconnect with working people and middle class families,” Horgan said.

“We’ve got to be able to mix the economy and environment, not just in an isolated Lower Mainland, Southern Vancouver Island way, but in provincial way.”

Fleming believes this was the right time for Dix to step down, and hopes to see the party move forward with a focus on economic growth and environmental protection. Future leadership can look to the 1990s NDP government under premier Mike Harcourt for a model, Fleming added.

“It was a government that was fiscally responsible, advanced a strong environmental protection agenda and presided over the highest growth rates B.C. has seen in the last quarter century,” he said.

Other potential candidates include MLAs George Heyman, David Eby and Mike Farnworth. There’s also speculation Victoria Mayor Dean Fortin and Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson are considering leadership bids.