New Democrat MP Kennedy Stewart is running to be mayor of Vancouver

VANCOUVER - A New Democrat member of Parliament is jumping into the Vancouver mayoral race.

Burnaby South MP Kennedy Stewart said Thursday he's going to resign his seat in Parliament and run as an independent candidate to replace Gregor Robertson, who is not seeking re-election.

He launched his campaign promising action on housing, protecting the environment, supporting an equitable economy and preventing illicit drug overdose deaths.

Stewart was arrested in March along with Green party Leader Elizabeth May and others who allegedly defied a court injunction banning protesters from disrupting construction at both Trans Mountain pipeline terminals in Burnaby.

He said he had to stand with constituents opposed to Kinder Morgan's planned pipeline expansion.

Stewart was first elected to the House of Commons in 2011 as part of Jack Layton's so-called orange wave vaulted the NDP into official Opposition.

He has a PhD from the London School of Economics and is on leave as a professor from Simon Fraser University's school of public policy.

"I have deep roots in Vancouver, rent downtown with my wife Jeanette Ashe, and have worked for the City of Vancouver and several Vancouver community organizations over my lifetime," Stewart said in a statement.

While his campaign will be independent of any one political party, Stewart said he wants to engage all progressive candidates to find common ground and solutions to tough problems facing city residents.

"We need to work together to reverse this affordability crisis and I hope the people of Vancouver will support my bid to become mayor," he said in the statement.

An online profile on his website says Kennedy was also a musician who won a West Coast Music Award.

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