Nova Scotia

Claudia Chender officially at helm of Nova Scotia NDP

Claudia Chender, the only candidate for the leadership of the Nova Scotia NDP, was officially elected leader of the party on Saturday.

She was the only person to put her name forward for party leadership

Claudia Chender has officially been elected leader of the Nova Scotia NDP. (Jeorge Sadi/CBC)

Claudia Chender, the only candidate for the leadership of the Nova Scotia NDP, was formally elected leader Saturday on the second day of the party's convention in Dartmouth. 

Speaking after her election, Chender said the party will continue to press for reform in key areas such as health care, affordable housing and the cost of living.

Chender said Nova Scotians pay too much for unreliable power and her party plans to intervene in the upcoming UARB hearing.

"Nova Scotians expect their power to be reliable, affordable, green," she said. "We're batting zero-for-three, but we have solutions and we know what we need to do."

There are 206 registered delegates for the weekend convention that ends Sunday. (Jeorge Sadi/CBC)

In her first proposal as leader, Chender is calling on the Tim Houston government to provide families with $500 in direct support to help with the cost of living.

Chender said the premier is "sitting on a tax windfall" and has the money to offer such a payment.

The party needs to start planning for the 2025 election, she said, and part of that will be growing support across the province, especially in rural areas. 

"I'm not fooled into thinking that this is a simple task," Chender told members of the media after her podium speech.

"But I'll tell you that if there's half the enthusiasm across this province as we see in this room, it will be a joyful one."

There are 206 registered delegates at the convention that ends Sunday. That includes some former New Democrat MLAs and former NDP premier Darrell Dexter.

Federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh spoke at the convention. (Jeorge Sadi/CBC)

Federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh spoke on Saturday before Chender addressed the crowd and highlighted the NDP's commitment to affordable housing.

His remarks on housing initiatives were met with an enthusiastic response from the convention floor. 

The convention started Friday with party business and a tribute to outgoing leader Gary Burrill.

In his final speech as leader, Burrill paid tribute to party staff, volunteers, caucus members, former candidates and his family for supporting him during his time at the helm of the party.

Burrill talked about how, through persistence, NDP ideas such as a $15 minimum wage, rent control and paid sick leave found their way onto the radar of Liberal and Progressive Conservative governments.

Before one last thank you, he turned his sights on the sitting government and hinted at his expectations for his own party's future.

"This government talks a lot about swagger. That's because that's what they are — all swagger and no substance," he said.

"Claudia Chender is the pin to burst their balloon."

Although Burrill is stepping down as leader, he is not retiring from politics. He will continue to serve as MLA for Halifax Chebucto.

With files from Mike Gorman