by Chris Wannamaker
The New Brunswick NDP announced it will extend its efforts to attract candidates for the position of leader, after the original deadline to apply passed on July 24.
Three people expressed an interest, but none were approved by the party executive to run for the office.
Even so, party executive remains optimistic that a suitable individual can be found.
“The NDP is now in a position to actively recruit talented individuals for the role,” said Cyprien Okana, NB NDP president in a news release.
Former leader Jennifer Mackenzie resigned after she realized she could not avoid a leadership review in February. Under her leadership, the NDP lost the 2018 provincial election, gaining just five percent of the vote. MacKenzie declared she was a socialist and that she was in favour of nationalization in some cases, but did not elaborate publicly what she meant.
When the deadline passed on July 24, the Irving-owned newspaper, The Telegraph Journal in Saint John published an editorial calling the NDP in the province “moribund” and “irrelevant,” urging the party to “turn out the lights.” The paper is one of more than 20 owned by the Irving family, which also owns a large number of other companies and corporations, including Canada’s largest oil refinery in Saint John.
Responding to the editorial, Okana remained optimistic.
“Already we are seeing upward momentum,” he said in his press release. “The party has a young, energetic Interim Leader, Mackenzie Thomason, who has been well-received at events and in the media. The party is making huge strides in compliance and reporting with Elections NB, and our organization is steadily improving.
“Financially, we are stable and increasing the size of our war chest,” he continued. “A number of committees are ramping up their activities to promote the aims of the Party and soon we will be setting up a number of commissions and caucuses.
The New Brunswick NDP is assembling an inclusive, competent team of volunteers ready and prepared to take us into the next election.”