Green party leader Elizabeth May looks on after announcing Daniel Green as a Deputy leader of the party during a news conference in Ottawa, Tuesday December 2, 2014. The NDP’S stature in New Brunswick ahead of the October federal election has taken a hit following a series of defections to the Greens. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Race a factor in NDP’s poor outlook in N.B. ahead of election: ex-party executive

Fourteen candidates who ran for the New Brunswick NDP are leaving to join Green parties

NDP fortunes in New Brunswick ahead of the October federal election took another hit Tuesday with a wave of defections to the Greens.

One of the defectors was Jonathan Richardson, the federal NDP’s executive member for Atlantic Canada, who said his former party doesn’t have a path to victory in any of New Brunswick’s 10 ridings.

The NDP has so far failed to nominate a single candidate in New Brunswick with the federal election less than 50 days away. Richardson said racism is a major reason the party can’t find candidates.

The former NDP executive member said he travelled around the province often to meet members, and “the racism card came up a lot — especially in the northern part of the province.” NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh is a practising Sikh and he wears a turban.

“I knew this was going to be a major issue and I did bring that to the election planning committee. That, you know, there is going to have to be a some discussion about race. Because it wasn’t going well,” Richardson said in an interview Tuesday.

He said some potential NDP candidates were hesitant to run because they thought the electorate wouldn’t vote for a party whose leader wore a turban. “That was probably a major, a reason that they felt people wouldn’t want to vote for them because that would hold them back.”

ALSO READ: Should voting be mandatory in the federal election?

Another reason the NDP hasn’t been able to shore up its New Brunswick roster is the lack of visibility of party leader Singh, he said: “Jagmeet as a leader, or when he was running for leadership, has never visited New Brunswick.”

Fourteen candidates who ran for the New Brunswick NDP in the last provincial election announced Tuesday they also were leaving to join the provincial and federal Green parties.

Federal Green party deputy leader Daniel Green says the defections are a sign voters increasingly see the Greens as the true vehicle in federal politics to fight climate change.

“We are reaping the benefits of staying steadfast in our environmental and climate talking points,” Green said in an interview Tuesday. “These are things that we really believe in.”

He said Green party Leader Elizabeth May has been far more present in New Brunswick than Singh. Green said May, who represents a riding in B.C., has family in Atlantic Canada and went to school there. “She is essentially an easterner at heart,” he said.

Richardson said Tuesday’s announcement was supposed to be primarily about provincial politics. But the defections took on a national tone because he and the 14 other members joined both the provincial and federal Green parties.

New Brunswick currently has a minority Progressive Conservative government, and the Greens have three seats while the NDP has none. Richardson said he left to join the Greens because they are capable of tabling progressive legislation while the NDP has been shut out of government.

The federal NDP’s communications director, Melanie Richer, said Tuesday the party is currently scheduling nomination meetings in six of the 10 New Brunswick ridings to be held “by the end of next week.”

As for Richardson’s claim that racism is holding the party back in the province, Richer said in an email, “This is disappointing to hear, and I don’t think that’s true.”

“This is not new to Jagmeet,” she continued. ”Jagmeet has dealt with racism his whole life. Throughout his whole life, he’s been told that he hasn’t been able to do things because of who he is, and he has overcome it. People see the struggles he’s faced and overcome and are proud of him.

“I don’t think this statement made by (Richardson) is giving Canadians and the people of New Brunswick enough credit.”

Giuseppe Valiante, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

federal election 2019

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Stettler RCMP seek third suspect in residential break-in

RCMP responded to a call that a home owner observed a break in at their cabin at Rochon Sands

Rotary Club of Stettler continues to help build up the community

Members gather Mondays at noon at the United Church Hall for lunch meetings

PHOTOS: Local officials sign proclamation declaring Feb. 16th to 22nd as Kin Canada Week

On Feb. 20th, Kin Week was proclaimed in Stettler in honour of 100 years of Kin in Canada

The Augustana Choir is gearing up for a spring tour with stops in Castor and Bashaw

The Choir will be touring during their spring break to recruit students to the program and perform for various communities

VIDEO: Province’s top court sides with Alberta on federal carbon tax

Today’s decision is the first to side with a province against the federal government

Father and two children, from Southern Alberta, killed in fatal crash in B.C.

The single vehicle crash occured near Kamloops on Highway 5A

Teck CEO says Frontier withdrawal a result of tensions over climate, reconciliation

Don Lindsay speaks at mining conference, a day after announcing suspension of oilsands project

Harvey Weinstein found guilty of sex crimes in landmark #MeToo trial

The cases against the Hollywood mogul started the #MeToo movement

CRA puts focus on paper returns as tax-filing season opens

The federal tax collector expects to handle about two million paper returns this calendar year out of roughly 26 million filings

Teck withdraws application for Frontier mine, citing discourse over climate change

The Vancouver-based company said it will take a $1.13-billion writedown on the Frontier project in Alberta

Violent ends to past Indigenous protests haunt Trudeau government

Trudeau adopted a more assertive tone Friday, insisting the barricade must come down

Blockades remain in place as Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs returning to B.C.

Hereditary Chief Woos said they are ready to engage in nation-to-nation talks with the B.C.

Two goals by Ben King pushes Rebels over Tri-city

7-5 game a high-scoring, runaway according to Rebels forward Chris Douglas

Most Read