Liberal leadership candidate gets date for citizenship test
René Ephestion says he expects to receive Canadian citizenship April 17
Aspiring Liberal leadership candidate René Ephestion will be writing his citizenship test April 4 and expects to receive his Canadian citizenship in a ceremony April 17.
The French-born Ephestion "is grateful to finally call New Brunswick, Canada, home," says a news release from Jen Smith, his vice-president of communications.
Ephestion's citizenship is dependant on whether he passes the test, but Smith said she doesn't expect he'll have any problems with that or with his application to become a Liberal leadership candidate.
"We're very confident he's going to pass his test, and he will be a citizen on the 17th."
Smith said Ephestion has resigned as director of Nazareth House, a shelter in Moncton, so he can devote his time to his leadership campaign.
The only other person who has expressed interest in succeeding former premier Brian Gallant as leader is Kevin Vickers, the former sergeant-at-arms of the House of Commons, who announced his candidacy for the leadership last week.
But the leadership race rules published by the Liberal Party on Feb. 7 require that candidates "be eligible for election to the Legislative Assembly of New Brunswick in accordance with the Elections Act." This means candidates must be citizens.
The deadline for candidates to submit their applications and nomination forms is March 29.
Ephestion could be disqualified from the Liberal leadership race because he is not yet a citizen. He has permanent resident status in Canada and applied for citizenship in September.
Keiller Zed, the executive director of the New Brunswick Liberal Party, said he wouldn't be able to comment specifically on Ephestion's application until it had gone through a vetting process.
The steering committee has five business days from the receipt of an application to review and approve or reject it.
Zed was able to confirm the association has received one candidate application already and expects to receive another one shortly.
He would not say who had already submitted forms, but a post to Ephestion's Facebook page from March 15 said his application was submitted that day, meaning the committee would have until this Friday to approve or reject it — provided it's properly completed.