New Brunswick Votes

David Coon lures ex-NDP leader, supporters to Greens

Dominic Cardy’s NDP is moving to the middle in the hopes of making a breakthrough in the provincial election but that tactical move may cost the party some support on the left.

Former NDP leader Allison Brewer is among David Coon's new supporters

Green Party Leader David Coon is attracting former NDP members, including former leader Allison Brewer, to his party. Brewer (right) attended one of Coon's public announcements this week. (Jacques Poitras/CBC)

Dominic Cardy’s NDP is moving to the middle in the hopes of making a breakthrough in the provincial election but that tactical decision may cost the party some support on the left.

Several former New Democrats, including a former party leader, have found a new political home in the Green Party for this election campaign.

Green Party Leader David Coon's most recent campaign event included a smattering of supporters, but among them was Allison Brewer, a former NDP leader.

[The party is] not listening and working together. It's, "We're going to do it this way." It's very much like a Liberal or Conservative party- Penny Ericson, former NDP candidate

Brewer lives in Halifax and cannot vote in the New Brunswick election. But she's in the province temporarily to work on Coon's campaign in Fredericton South.

She said Coon offers a unique perspective to politics.

"I'm done with party politics. They're all the same. They say one thing when they're running and then they do whatever they want once they're elected,” she said.

“But I support David. David has done so much work for this province for so many years and boy would it be nice to have his voice in the legislature."

Former NDP candidate Penny Ericson said the party's attempt to move to the centre has made it just like other establishment parties.

Penny Ericson, a former NDP candidate in Fredericton, has also switched to the Greens for this election campaign.
"It's not listening and working together. It's, ‘We're going to do it this way.' It's very much like a Liberal or Conservative party,” Ericson said.

Down the street at NDP headquarters, Fredericton South candidate Kelly Lamrock, a former Liberal cabinet minister, points out his party performed well in the riding in 2010.

Fredericton South is a new riding, but the NDP pulled 15 and 16 per cent of the vote in the former ridings of Fredericton-Lincoln and Fredericton-Silverwood in the last campaign.

So, Lamrock said he believes voting for the NDP, over the Greens, is the best option for voters who want to defeat Progressive Conservative candidate Craig Leonard, who is the province's energy minister

"We are in a position to not only win the seat and offer change but also to make it a meaningful one,” Lamrock said.

Lamrock’s argument against vote splitting is often used by the Liberals against the NDP. Now, in this riding, it's the NDP using it against the Greens.

Previous criticism

NDP Leader Dominic Cardy has also won over members of other political parties, including former Tory MLA Bev Harrison, who is now running in Hampton. (CBC)
While the Greens have added to former New Democrats to their ranks, the NDP has also done well in luring past candidates and MLAs from other political parties.

Former Tory MLA Bev Harrison and former Liberal MLAs Lamrock and Abel LeBlanc are running for the NDP in this election.

The addition of former political opponents to the NDP has also caused some others to leave the party.

Pat Hanratty, a former president of the provincial party, quit the party in June, calling it the "Un democratic party" and added, "I'll be back when the reign of terror is over."

Chris Rendell wanted to run for the party’s nomination in Hampton and he said the party pushed him aside in favour of Harrison. Rendell said at the time that he felt Cardy is trying to move the NDP sharply to the right.

Cardy has faced internal criticism about the party’s shift to the centre several times since he became leader.


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