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.

Just Posted

Business Notes: M&N wins third Torch Award

Parksville mattress and furniture store earns 2019 honour

Ballenas Whalers players earn gridiron all-star nods

Pair of local standouts also earn MVP accolades

Four generations of logging and mining stories in one Parksville show

John Gogo will share regional stories, family history, song at Ground Zero Acoustic Lounge

New chess club starts up in Qualicum Beach

Replaces Bishops of Bowser, which shut down operations in September

‘We love you, Alex!’: Trebek gets choked up by ‘Jeopardy!’ contestant’s answer

The emotional moment came in Monday’s episode when Trebek read Dhruv Gaur’s final answer

Judge rejects Terrace man’s claim that someone else downloaded child porn on his phone

Marcus John Paquette argued that other people had used his phone, including his ex-wife

Petition for free hospital parking presented to MP Jody Wilson-Raybould

What started as a B.C. campaign became a national issue, organizer said

Petition to ‘bring back Don Cherry’ goes viral after immigrant poppy rant

Cherry was fired from his co-hosting role for the Coach’s Corner segment on Nov. 11.

B.C.’s high gasoline prices still a mystery, Premier John Horgan says

NDP plans legislation this month, seeks action from Justin Trudeau

Group walking on thin ice at B.C. lake sparks warning from RCMP

At least seven people were spotted on Joffre Lakes, although the ice is not thick enough to be walked on

One dead after fiery crash in Duncan

A man has died after a fiery motor vehicle collision Monday night,… Continue reading

VIDEO: Don Cherry says he was fired, not sorry for ‘Coach’s Corner’ poppy rant

Cherry denies he was singling out visible minorities with his comments

Woman airlifted with serious injuries after being struck by car in Nanaimo

Woman, hit in crosswalk, suffers life-threatening injuries; driver co-operating with police

Most Read