Hampton will not seek re-election as party leader


    TORONTO, June 14 /CNW/ - After 12 years at the helm of Ontario's NDP,
Howard Hampton announced today that he will not seek re-election as leader at
the party's next convention, scheduled for March in Hamilton. Hampton will
continue to serve as leader until then and will remain MPP for Kenora-Rainy
River.
    "After a prolonged period of reflection, I have decided that I will not
seek re-election as leader at the next party convention. I look forward to
continuing to represent my constituents in Kenora-Rainy River and to spending
more time with my wife, Shelley Martel, and our two children, Jonathan and
Sarah," Hampton said.
    "It's been an enormous privilege to serve as Ontario NDP leader for the
past 12 years. I am very proud of all that we have achieved over the course of
three general election campaigns. Regardless of their political stripe, I hope
Ontarians will feel that I tried my best to represent them by raising the
issues that mattered."
    Hampton made his announcement at today's NDP Provincial Council, a
quarterly gathering of party and labour activists from across the province.
    "I'm especially proud of our accomplishments in standing up for workers
in the hard-hit manufacturing and forestry sectors, protecting Ontario's
public hydro system, pushing for increased minimum standards in long-term care
facilities, promoting a clean and safe environment, calling for a raise in the
minimum wage, and fighting for the constitutional rights of our First Nations
communities to be respected," said Hampton, who has overseen a steady increase
in the party's support over the past 12 years, highlighted by stunning
by-election victories in previously safe government seats.
    "We couldn't have done it without the unwavering commitment of each and
every NDP supporter across our great province. I want to thank you for all
that you have done and all that you will continue to do on behalf of the
Ontario NDP," Hampton said.
    Hampton added that he will continue to work as hard as he can from now
until the leadership convention in March 2009. The Provincial Council and the
party's Executive Committee will finalize the process by which his successor
will be chosen.
    "New Democrats are about to embark on a new journey. Wherever that
journey takes us, we will continue looking forward in our ongoing fight to
build a prosperous Ontario where everyone is given an equal opportunity to
succeed. With great determination and the tenacity that is expected from us,
we will demand a fair deal for all Ontarians - a deal that includes the best
education system for our kids, a clean, green environment, top quality public
healthcare, well-paying jobs and affordable essentials, such as housing,
transportation and public utilities," said Hampton.
    "Today is a time for us to look ahead to a bright future with new
opportunities, new ideas and new solutions. Our party is poised to seize it.
The future will be ours," he declared.




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