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

COVID-19 cases in Alberta up by 153 Wednesday

Central zone sits at 19 active cases

Wetaskiwin RCMP request public assistance to locate missing female teen

16-year-old Shakira Paris Soosay has been missing since Sept. 26, 2020.

Leduc Man still missing, RCMP concerned for his well being

31-year-old Ryan Mcleod has been missing since Sept. 10, 2020.

160 new COVID-19 cases reported in Alberta on Tuesday

Province now has 1,571 active cases

CP Holiday Train cancelled this year; virtual concert to be held in lieu of event

Canadian Pacific will still donate to local food banks in its network and host a virtual concert.

City of Wetaskiwin honours Orange Shirt Day

City of Wetaskiwin staff honour Orange Shirt Day

First annual Best of Wetaskiwin Readers’ Choice Awards

Enter to win a $200 gift card for Canadian Tire.

Health Canada green-lights rapid COVID-19 test

Health Canada approved the BCube test from Hyris Ltd. in the United Kingdom Sept. 23

Albertans the speediest behind wheel, according to national dangerous driving survey

Finder.com looks into dangerous and reckless driving habits across the country

Metis pilot Teara Fraser profiled in new DC Comics graphic novel of women heroes

The Canadian pilot’s entry is titled: ‘Teara Fraser: Helping Others Soar’

Sylvan Lake family says they are ‘blessed’ to have found their home in Central Alberta

Onsy and Rosemary Tawadrous immigrated to Canada in 2011 and made their home in Sylvan Lake

Tractor fire east of Ponoka doused

Flames extinguished with foam additive

Orange Shirt Day lessons of past in today’s classrooms

Phyllis Webstad, who attended St. Joseph’s Mission Residential School in British Columbia, is credited for creating the movement

Most Read