Sunday, June 15, 2008

Hampton urges ‘robust' leadership race for successor

TORONTO — Ontario New Democratic Party Leader Howard Hampton remained tight-lipped about his future plans Saturday after triggering a leadership race by confirming the “worst-kept secret” at the legislature — that he will step down in March after 12 years as head of the party.

Mr. Hampton, who will stay on as a member of the legislature for Kenora-Rainy River, wouldn't say who should replace him. But he urged the party to remain true to its roots as a voice for the working class while searching for a new leader.

“We need to have a robust leadership campaign,” he told delegates at the party's provincial council meeting.

“Our leadership campaign is one of the ways that we get these issues before the people of Ontario. Conservatives aren't going to raise them, (Premier Dalton) McGuinty and the Liberals aren't going to raise them. Only New Democrats will raise these issues.”

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