Cardy won't rule out return to politics, jump to PCs

Former leader of the provincial New Democrats Dominic Cardy said he's not excluding the possibility of a return to politics. Cardy announced his resignation as head of the party in a statement released New Year's Day.

Cardy says he has great respect for PC Leader Blaine Higgs

Dominic Cardy, right, said he has a great deal of respect for Progressive Conservative leader Blaine Higgs, left, and would not rule out possibly joining the Tories. (CBC)

A day after stepping down as head of the party, the former leader of New Brunswick's New Democrats said he's not excluding the possibility of a return to politics.

Dominic Cardy announced he was resigning as leader of the provincial NDP in a statement released on New Year's Day.

Cardy said Monday he had been thinking seriously about resigning over the past six months and when he saw Blaine Higgs chosen as Tory leader, it made the decision easier.

Cardy said it's not so much about political parties but ideas for him, and he has a great deal of respect for Higgs. He said he could consider joining the Conservatives before the next provincial election.

"If I have to choose between (New Brunswick Premier Brian) Gallant and Mr. Higgs, Blaine Higgs is an honourable person who has the best interests of the province at heart. I don't believe that about Mr. Gallant," said Cardy.

Reaction

Higgs released a statement about Cardy's resignation. While he didn't specify whether the PCs have spoken to Cardy about joining the party, the statement reflected on their past co-operation on legislation.

"I am encouraged by Dominic's interest to stay in NB. We need him and other like-minded individuals to be part of a revolutionary change in politics," said the statement.

"I am hopeful for an opportunity to work with him in the future."

Green Party leader David Coon wished the outgoing NDP leader well in his future endeavours, while lamenting the lack of third party representation in the legislature..

"Our archaic first-past-the-post electoral system continues to leave too much political talent on the sidelines...betraying voters who are looking for an alternative to a Legislature overwhelmingly dominated by the two old parties," wrote Coon in a statement.

The People's Alliance of New Brunswick didn't comment, while the Liberal Party has not responded to a request for comment.

Resignation redux

This isn't the first time Cardy has stepped down as leader of the provincial NDP. Cardy announced his intention to resign after the 2014 provincial election in which the NDP, despite running a slate that included a few so-called "star" candidates, failed to elect a MLA to the legislature.

It was considered a demoralizing loss for the party, especially in light of the election of provincial Green party leader David Coon to a seat in the legislature. 

Infighting from 'extremists' and 'communists'

In Sunday's resignation letter Cardy referred to a ''tiny minority of well-connected members refusing to accept the democratic will of the membership.''

"I had to look at the way my party was behaving," said Cardy.

"Realizing I could spend the time between now and the next election fighting off a group of extremists, people who identified as communists, people who did very little work for the NDP but constantly undermined the decisions of the party...or I could get ready to fight the 2018 election."

Cardy's resignation was followed by that of party president Sharon Scott-Levesque, who ran for the federal NDP in the last election.

"I became involved with the [provincial NDP] in 2010 after becoming increasingly disenchanted with the path our [governments] were taking," wrote Scott-Levesque in a post on her Facebook page. 

"The party is no longer representing my values for a progressive [New Brunswick] therefore I will be resigning my position as President of NBNDP."

Union woes

Daniel Legere, president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees in New Brunswick, said Monday he believed Cardy made the right decision.

"We've been calling for a review of the leadership. We would've liked to see that for quite some time now," said Legere.

"Dominic Cardy's ran three times in provincial elections and he's lost three times. He hasn't been able to have an NDP member elected to the [legislature.]"

Legere said he believes that Cardy blames him for his departure, though Cardy never explicitly said so. Legere said Cardy has only himself to blame.

Although he didn't mention Legere by name, Cardy did have some choice words for someone he referred to as "the president of CUPE."

"[He's] paid an enormous salary to talk about how the NDP is supposed to be the party that talks about social justice, while what he's talking about is putting more money in the pockets of people who are already upper-middle class," said Cardy.

Members of the provincial NDP say they will meet this week to elect a new leader and set a date for a leadership convention.