Hampton to step down as leader of Ontario NDP
12-year veteran will stay on as MPP, report says
Ontario New Democratic party leader Howard Hampton will reportedly announce today that he will not seek re-election.
Mr. Hampton, who has held the party’s chief position for 12 years, is expected to speak today to about 200 delegates at an NDP provincial council meeting.
The 56-year-old has agreed to remain a member of the legislature for Kenora-Rainy River until the next Ontario election in 2011, according to the Canadian Press.
Two Toronto-area MPPs — Marilyn Churley and Frances Lankin — have been named in news reports as contenders for the leadership position.
Spending time with his wife, Shelley Martel, and their children, Jonathan and Sarah, has been cited as Mr. Hampton’s motivation for leaving politics.
Ms. Martel announced her retirement from politics in May 2007. For two decades, she had represented the riding of Sudbury East and then the Nickel Belt. During the October 2007 provincial election, the party did not increase its seats past the 10 it previously held. At the time, Mr. Hampton noted his party had increased its percentage of the popular vote.
The NDP’s percentage of the popular vote rose from 14.7 per cent in 2003 to 16.8 per cent in 2007.
Mr. Hampton took the helm in 1996 from former premier Bob Rae, now a Liberal MP.