NDP names Rosaire L'Italien interim leader

Former Radio-Canada journalist Rosaire L'Italien has been chosen the interim leader of the New Democratic Party in New Brunswick by the party's executive.

Former Radio-Canada journalist the unanimous choice of party executive to take over from Dominic Cardy

Rosaire L'Italien, named interim leader of the New Brunswick NDP, was a longtime Radio-Canada journalist before retiring in 2015. (Radio-Canada)

Former Radio-Canada journalist Rosaire L'Italien has been chosen the interim leader of the New Democratic Party in New Brunswick by the party's executive.

L'Italien takes over from Dominic Cardy, who abruptly resigned as leader Jan. 1, saying he could no longer fight "destructive forces" within the party.

NDP Rosaire L'Italien points to the Madawaska Maliseet First Nation land on the riding map in his campaign headquarters in the 2015 campaign. (Jacques Poitras/CBC)
After retiring from Radio-Canada, L'Italien ran for the NDP in Madawaska-Restigouche in the 2015 federal election. L'Italien came second in the riding and finished ahead of incumbent Conservative cabinet minister Bernard Valcourt.

L'Italien vowed to challenge the Gallant government on its failure to develop a poverty reduction plan and on its recent health funding deal with the federal government, saying the deal is "placing Mr. Gallant's political debts to Dominic LeBlanc ahead of the health care New Brunswickers rely upon."

Dominic Cardy cited party infighting as a reason for his sudden resignation as the leader of the NDP in New Brunswick on Jan. 1 (CBC)
L'Italien said we will also rally the party around its core principles.

"For years the NDP has had a vision where every family has a road to the middle class, with good jobs, fair wages and a social safety net that protects every citizen so they can take risks and build their dreams," he said in a news release.

"I am not asking NDP members to work for me personally. I am asking them to work beside me for this beautiful vision we all share."

Unanimous choice

L'Italien was the unanimous choice of the party executive to take take on the position of interim leader until a permanent leader is chosen at a convention.

"Rosaire's experience, his passion for the job, his proven ability to articulate a progressive message — these things were all factors in the broad support he had to take on the job," said Charles Doucet, past president of the party. 

"We are fortunate to see someone of his calibre stepping forward and it shows the optimism that exists for our party's future."

No date has been chosen for a leadership convention to choose a new leader.