by Tristan Turner
While struggling to hold back to hold back tears, Brian Mason announced at a press conference Apr. 29 that he would be stepping down as leader of the Alberta NDP effective October 19. The bus driver turned politician has served as both an MLA and Edmonton City Councillor for more than 25 years, winning nine consecutive elections. In his near 10-year tenure as leader of Alberta’s New Democrats, Brian Mason has seen – and won – many battles on behalf of his constituents and all Albertans. Not the least of which was a fight he brought to PC Premier Ralph Klein about plans to increase privatization of health care – plans that were thankfully defeated after Mason’s public debate with Klein on the issue.
While Mason has enjoyed his time at the helm, he says it’s simply time for the party to move on. “It’s been an honour and a privilege to serve the party and the public in this role, and I’m proud of the work that we’ve all done together, but I believe it is time for a new leader to tackle the changing political landscape and lead us into the next election,” he said. “You can’t stay forever, even though some days you might like to think that you could.”
After announcing his resignation, Mason shared that there will be a leadership race following his resignation in October, and that he is hoping for a competitive and dynamic competition, with the possibility of all three other NDP MLAs throwing their hats into the ring. As of the writing of this story, no candidates have announced their intent in the wake of Mason’s resignation.
Brian is a warm, kind, honest and often whimsical person. He speaks with principal and tenacity in the legislature, and his stands for justice, prudence and progress will never be forgotten. Working with Brian and his party for much of his time as leader has been a remarkable experience, and one thing is certain; even though he may be resigning his leadership post, Brian isn’t going to be putting down his boxing gloves anytime soon.