MP Joyce Murray joins the Liberal leadership race as the ‘cooperation candidate’

Andy Radia
Politics Reporter
Canada Politics

Liberal MP Joyce Murray wants to be the 'cooperation candidate' (a la the NDP's Nathan Cullen) in the leadership race for her party.

Murray, who launched her campaign in Ottawa on Monday, is proposing that in Tory-held ridings, the Liberals, NDP and Greens elect candidates as they currently do, with the winners in a run-off before the general election to see which one faces the Conservative candidate.

[ Related: Joyce Murray joins Liberal leadership race ]

"Frankly, I find it unimaginable that we can't find the will to cooperate on these key issues of democracy and the environment. We saw what happened in Calgary Centre when we couldn't cooperate," she told Yahoo! Canada News, alluding to Monday's byelection where the Tory candidate won with only 37 per cent of the vote.

"I can ensure you that I'm going to give my heart to the re-invigoration of our party as the best choice but I also will do all I can to avoid the worst choice which is another Harper majority."

Aside from cooperation with other parties, Murray — a former environment minister in British Columbia — also wants to be the 'green' candidate (a la Stéphane Dion), stating that Canada needs to "shift away from carbon resources" and put a price on carbon. She's also not a fan of the proposed Enbridge pipeline.

Murray and her husband have built a mega re-forestation company which has over 1,000 employees in five countries. Brinkman Earth Systems is also involved in bio-energy projects.

"The company planted its one billionth tree in Canada in 2010," she said proudly.

"I felt that [business and environmental] experience is badly needed in our party."

Murray claims that her business experience coupled with her political experience and profile is enough to win the leadership. She also says that, despite the common refrain, Justin Trudeau is beatable. She does admit, however, that being from the west could pose a challenge.

"It's a challenge in a party that's always had the idea that its leader should come from Quebec and Ontario and they alternate. I think that's the kind of old thinking in our party that kind of establishment thinking that has to change for our party to be a vibrant option in the 21st century," she said.

"I can't tell you how many times I've heard 'oh, now it's Quebec's turn since the last leader is from Ontario.'  I'm saying we have to move past those old closed-ways of thinking in our party."

Murray joins a increasingly crowded field of leadership candidates. To date Deborah Coyne, Justin Trudeau, David Bertchi, Alex Burton, Martha Hall-Findlay, David Merner, Jonathan Mousley and Karen McCrimmon have all announced their intentions to run.

[ Related: Garneau bid for Liberal leadership to lift off from Montreal on Wednesday ]

Murray's caucus-mate and former astronaut Marc Garneau is expected to launch his leadership bid in Montreal on Wednesday.