(Carole James/Photo by Greater Vancouver Board of Trade - Twitter)

B.C. Finance Minister Carole James has announced that she will not be seeking re-election in next year’s provincial elections due to her Parkinson’s disease diagnosis.

In a statement on Thursday, the Deputy Premier announced that she was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease after her neurologist conducted a series of tests in January.

“I’m sharing this news now because I believe it’s important to be open about what I’m facing,” writes James.

“Between 10,000 and 13,000 people in B.C. live with Parkinson’s. Many of those people worry about stigma and what will happen if they reach out for support.”

“If sharing my story can help others, that’s a good thing. As the symptoms of this very visible disease do surface, there is no need to hide them,” she adds.

James says she will continue in her role as Finance Minister for as long as she is “able to give 100% to the job”.

She will be continuing her BC Budget tour throughout the province next week and serve out her term as MLA of Victoria-Beacon Hill, but will not be seeking re-election in 2021.

“Needless to say, this is not what I had planned for the next part of my life. But each of us could face an unexpected, life-changing experience tomorrow,” writes James.

“I have a name for mine, and I have an understanding of what the future may bring, which is all the more reason to take full advantage of each and every day.”

James was first elected as MLA in 2005, and served as leader of the BC NDP from then until 2011.

In 2006, she was diagnosed with localized uterine endometrial cancer for which she underwent radiation therapy and surgery.

James has served as the province’s Finance Minister and Deputy Premier since the NDP came back into power in 2017.

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