Another N.L. NDP executive member resigns

NDP executive member Chris Bruce has quit, citing concern over the future direction of the party.

Chris Bruce says he's concerned about the direction of the provincial NDP

Chris Bruce has resigned as a director-at-large from the Newfoundland and Labrador NDP. (CBC)

Another member of the Newfoundland and Labrador NDP executive has quit, citing concern over the future direction of the party. 

In a lengthy letter, Chris Bruce resigned as director-at-large and as a member of the NDP, complaining about a lack of free speech and open dialogue within the party. 

Bruce, who had been on the NDP executive for 18 months, said the events of this fall and a culture within the party that has hindered free speech has led him to resign. 

Bruce's resignation letter was blunt, saying in part, "The main concern I have is the disdain for open dialogue," "...there seems to be a concerted effort in place to get people to stop talking...," and "In a month, we have gone from first to last. It is simply denial to blame everyone else, and accept no fault of our own."

Concerned about leadership

"There is something especially hostile about the way that the leadership of the party has responded to basically everything since the caucus letter has come out," said Bruce.

Bruce was referring to a letter received by NDP leader Lorraine Michael on Oct. 20 and signed by all four members of the caucus at that time - Dale Kirby, Christopher Mitchelmore, George Murphy and Gerry Rogers. 

The MHAs asked Michael to convene a leadership convention for the party in 2014. 

Michael told CBC News she felt "betrayed" by the letter. 

Bruce said he thinks the party needs an open dialogue, especially since party infighting became a public crisis. 

MHAs quit caucus

Dale Kirby and Christopher Mitchelmore quit the caucus in October after an attempt to force the resignation of party leader Lorraine Michael failed. 

Michael dug in, calling the letter a betrayal and vowing to fight to keep her job.

Then, a poll put the NDP at the bottom of the heap, while former candidates and executive members have quit the party entirely. 

People are feeling very disengaged.- Chris Bruce, former N.L. NDP executive member

"We've lost five members of our executive since the convention," Bruce said. "We've lost past candidates. We've lost our vice-president for personal reasons."

"People are feeling very disengaged." 

Bruce said he was particularly frustrated with efforts inside the party to strip MHAs Dale Kirby and Christopher Mitchelmore of their party membership. 

Bruce argued that party members should be allowed to criticize the leader without being kicked out of the party. 

A spokesperson for Michael said that the NDP leader has declined to comment on Bruce's resignation.  


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