Joyce Murray says it is about time the Liberal Party of Canada had a female leader and she thinks she is ideal for the job.
The 58-year-old, twice-elected Member of Parliament for Vancouver Quadra announced her run Monday to head what some of its members call Canada’s “natural governing party.”
Kim Campbell succeeded Progressive Conservative Brian Mulroney as Prime Minister before losing the 1993 election that also included the first woman to lead the NDP, Yukoner Audrey McLaughlin. Green Party leader Elizabeth May became her party’s first elected MP in 2011.
“I have a style of working cooperatively with people. Liberals are looking for a new approach in our party,” Murray told the Courier on Monday. “The culture of the Liberal Party of Canada, with its focus on personalities and power and policies of the past, has not been successful, has not been resonating with Canadian citizenry. So I’m from outside that central Canadian establishment and will bring some new ideas and a co-operative approach.”
Murray’s opponents include lawyer Deborah Coyne, former astronaut Marc Garneau, Vancouver crown prosecutor Alex Burton and perceived front-runner Justin Trudeau, the former West Side schoolteacher and eldest son of former prime minister Pierre Trudeau. The party will choose a new leader on April 14, 2013 in Ottawa. Interim leader Bob Rae took over from academic Michael Ignatieff after the party’s third-place finish in 2011.
“I welcome everybody that’s in this race, I hope it’s going to be a race about ideas for rebuilding the party and ideas for Canada,” Murray said. “I will be bringing my set of ideas forward. In addition, people are looking for not just ideas but who has the track record of delivering and implementing ideas. I have a unique background in that to offer.”
Murray is the Liberal critic for small business and tourism, Asia-Pacific Gateway and Western Economic Diversification. She is anti-oil pipeline and pro-marijuana legalization. The South Africa-native won election with the B.C. Liberals in New Westminster under Gordon Campbell in 2001 and spent three years as environment minister and a year as management services minister before losing in the 2005 election.
She lost her first attempt federally, in the New Westminster-Coquitlam riding, but won in 2008 in Vancouver Quadra, the riding from 1984 to 1993 of former Liberal prime minister John Turner.
While Murray opposes a merger with the NDP, she favours a one-time system of run-offs among centre-left candidates to avoid a progressive vote split and retake ridings from the Conservatives.
“I am for a change in the culture of politics in Canada. Our democracy is eroding with this government and the secrecy and anti-democratic process, that needs to change and my view is we need a different electoral system, a way that fosters or rewards working together constructively,” she said.
Murray said she is used to balancing family with business and cabinet with constituency work, so running a national campaign won’t harm her Vancouver Quadra commitments.
“I’ve fortunately got a very capable staff in Vancouver and Ottawa that will help me ensure we’re still serving the needs of constituents,” she said.
In 1979, Murray and husband Dirk Brinkman co-founded the Brinkman and Associates treeplanting company. Among their three grown children is actor-rapper Baba Brinkman.