New year means new direction for NDP
Party will have to find high profile leader to help win seats suggests political science professor
A political science professor in Saint John says New Brunswick's next NDP leader will be faced with the reoccurring challenge of trying to win seats in New Brunswick's legislature.
"That's the big hurdle they need to get over," said JP Lewis of the University of New Brunswick's Saint John campus. "If you're not in the legislature, it can be very difficult to impact policy making."
After nearly six years as leader of New Brunswick's NDP, Dominic Cardy announced he was stepping down as of Jan. 1.
Earlier this week, Cardy accused "a tiny minority of well-connected members" of trying to remove him as leader because they disagreed with his moderate approach
Two options for incoming leader
Before New Brunswick's next election, Lewis said party members will have to choose a leader that will bring both seats, while containing somewhat of a high profile in the province.
"You hope they're such a strong leader where people can ride their coattails to victory or to winning some seats," he said.
Or, Lewis said the party will have to look to a leader that's organized and can come up with a plan to attract candidates, resources and more volunteers for the party.
"You'll need someone with experience in that area and can figure out a way to get some NDPers sitting in the [legislature] in Fredericton," he said.
Merrill Fullerton, a member of the Memramcook-Tantramar riding executive, said he was "disappointed" by Cardy's performance as NDP leader, as well as this week's parting words.
"A sign of good leadership is that you leave something in a better place than when you got it," he said. "You don't turn your back and light a match."
Under Cardy's leadership,the party failed to elect any members to the legislature, including three attempts at winning a seat himself, Fullerton said.
"The more exposure I got to Mr. Cardy, the more alarmed I became and the more alarmed others became with his leadership, performance and his leadership style," he said.
"Many longstanding New Democrats that were one time close allies to the leader, including people he had recruited into the party, have since abandoned him."
Future of NDP
Despite these setbacks, Fullerton said he is looking ahead to the future and getting back to the core values of New Brunswick's NDP, including fair taxation, moving New Brunswickers out of poverty and pursuing a greener economy.
Three to four candidates have already stepped forward for the position and he's excited about the upcoming change.
"I think you're seeing a coming together," said Fullerton. "You're seeing people step up."
With files from Information Morning Saint John