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.

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

Just Posted

Mission’s Walker signed by B.C. Lions

Former Roadrunner, Langley Ram standout signed by CFL club

Time capsule discovered, opened at Mission elementary school

Capsule opened in front of students from West Heights Community School

How would crowded Fraser Valley hospitals deal with patient surge? Officials won’t say

Amid coronavirus case and crowding issues, health officials won’t say where more patients would go

Sasquatch Mountain Aussie Day celebration raises $800

Proceeds of bikini runs, toonie tosses and more go to wildfire victims

Salvation Army kettle campaign raises $121,000 in Abbotsford

Christmas fundraising up $20,000 over previous year

VIDEO: Feds look to help 126 Canadians quarantined in China for coronavirus

China has confirmed more than 4,500 cases of the new virus, with more than 100 deaths

Party bus door fault for years ahead of Langley woman’s death: Coroner

Tuesday report classifed Chelsea James’ death accidental, but was critical of bus inspection process

Sap thief taps Saanich park maple trees, faces hefty fine

One tree found with four taps in Mount Doug Park

B.C. reports first coronavirus in Vancouver region

First patient visited Wuhan, China, reported symptoms

Uber threatens legal action to ‘defend its right’ to operate in Surrey

‘I have no concerns,’ Mayor Doug McCallum replies

Victoria resident says WestJet employee uttered racist comment, refused to let her on plane

Customer claims she was told ‘You guys can’t handle your alcohol’ by WestJet employee

Bystander who tried to help dog being attacked not liable for its death: B.C. tribunal

Owner of dog killed tried to get $5,000 in damages from man who tried to save it

INFOGRAPHIC: See how fast your B.C. city grew in 2019

The province’s fastest-growing municipalities were located on Vancouver Island

Landowner hearings begin for Trans Mountain expansion in Alberta

Detailed route talks start in Spruce Grove, in B.C. communities soon

Most Read