02/12/2017 13:28 EST | Updated 02/13/2018 00:12 EST

New Democrat MP Peter Julian launches leadership bid

OTTAWA — The race to replace Tom Mulcair kicked off Sunday, with a British Columbia MP becoming the first to officially announce his candidacy for the federal NDP leadership.

Peter Julian made the announcement at a theatre in his riding of New Westminster, B.C.

"My vision is for a country where everyone matters and no one is left behind," he told supporters.

Julian, who was first elected to Parliament in 2004, said Canadians need a government that prioritizes inclusivity, clean energy, and education for all.

He promised to get rid of tuition fees at post-secondary institutions, create new jobs, and oppose pipeline projects like Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain pipeline expansion and the Keystone XL pipeline.

The NDP will chose a new leader in October and while Julian is the first to declare his candidacy, several others have expressed interest in running.

Quebec MP Guy Caron announced earlier Sunday that he is stepping aside as the party's finance critic to consider a leadership bid.

Other possible contenders include Ontario MP Charlie Angus, Manitoba MP Niki Ashton and Ontario deputy NDP leader Jagmeet Singh.

A leadership debate is scheduled for March 12 in Ottawa.

Julian told media after his announcement that he looks forward to a "vigorous" debate over the course of the campaign.

"It's a national conversation that we're having," he said. "The debate we're having in the NDP is going to be very germane to the broader debate Canadians will have in 2019."