New Brunswick

Kelly Lamrock bolts to Dominic Cardy's NDP

Former Liberal cabinet minister Kelly Lamrock announced on Thursday he is defecting from his old party and joining the New Democratic Party.

NB Newsmaker Feb 14

9 years ago
Duration 6:00
Harry Forestell talks with Kelly Lamrock about his changing from Liberal to NDP

Former Liberal cabinet minister Kelly Lamrock announced on Thursday he is defecting from his old party and joining the New Democratic Party.

Lamrock appeared at a news conference with NDP Leader Dominic Cardy and explained his reason for joining the NDP.

"I’m excited to have the chance to work with fellow progressives in developing clear policies that will give New Brunswickers real choices down the road. Dominic deserves credit for reaching out to people who haven’t voted NDP in the past and I intend to do the same with this project," Lamrock said in a statement.

Lamrock served two terms in the legislature as a Liberal MLA. He also held various cabinet positions, including education, social development and attorney general.

Lamrock brought in a controversial plan to scrap early French immersion. That plan faced an immediate backlash and Lamrock was forced by a judge to revisit the plan.

He also spoke out against the Liberal government’s plan to sell NB Power in 2010.

Lamrock was one of many Liberal cabinet ministers to lose in the 2010 election.

His political future, however, is a bit of a mystery. The NDP has no seats in the legislative assembly and Lamrock said it's too early to say if he will run for the NDP in the 2014 election.

Considered Liberal leadership bid

Kelly Lamrock, right, announced at a news conference on Thursday he was joining the NDP. (Jacques Poitras/CBC)

Lamrock briefly flirted with running for the Liberal leadership, but ended up endorsing Michael Murphy. Murphy lost to Brian Gallant last October.

He told reporters on Thursday that one of the reasons he left the Liberals is because his centre-left ideas were being rejected by Gallant.

"Certainly the new leader has a mandate. He's made it very clear that party is going to move to the right and those things that I talked about are not part of the plan," Lamrock said.

Gallant issued a statement on Thursday saying he looked forward on working with Lamrock in the future.

"Kelly Lamrock served the Liberal party well. We are happy to see his continued involvement in provincial politics, and wish him all the best in his future endeavours," Gallant said.

"We look forward to working with him and people of all political stripes for the betterment of our province."

Cardy said the conversations with Lamrock started around his party’s pair of anti-patronage bills.

"I invited Mr. Lamrock to work with me on the anti-patronage bills that yesterday were adopted by the government. Based on our conversations it became clear we had a lot in common and that we share concerns and hopes for the future of our province," Cardy said in a statement.

The Progressive Conservative government announced on Wednesday it would introduce Cardy’s bills.