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Peter Julian launches federal NDP leadership campaign in New Westminster

New Westminster-Burnaby MP Peter Julian launches his NDP leadership campaign in New Westminster (Kurtis Doering, NEWS 1130 photo)

NEW WESTMINSTER (NEWS 1130) – A local MP has become the first candidate to launch a campaign for the federal NDP’s top job.

Peter Julian made the announcement today in downtown New Westminster, telling a theatre full of supporters that “regular folks” need to be the government’s priority instead of the rich and well-connected.

Julian stepped down as the NDP House leader last fall to consider his bid for Tom Mulcair’s job. Now officially in campaign mode, he’s hoping to fire up the party’s grass roots with ambitious policies like ending post-secondary tuition fees Canada-wide.

“It’s time to treat post-secondary education as the new health care, open doors and end tuition fees to everyone who’s willing to work hard and learn,” he says.

Mulcair drew criticism during the last federal campaign for attempting to forge a middle-ground on pipelines and energy. Julian is taking a sharper approach, vowing to oppose all the recent pipeline projects approved by the Trudeau government.

“Ten to 15 years is all that we have to preserve this planet for our children and their children, and that is why I oppose Kinder Morgan, Keystone, Energy East, all of Mr. Trudeau’s raw bitumen export pipelines.”

Julian likely won’t be running unopposed for long. Quebec MP Guy Caron announced this morning that he is stepping aside as the party’s finance critic to consider a leadership bid.

Other possible contenders include Ontario MP Charlie Angus, Manitoba MP Niki Ashton and Ontario deputy NDP leader Jagmeet Singh.

A leadership debate is scheduled on March 12 in Ottawa. The election itself in in October.