Nova Scotia

Former NDP MLA Lenore Zann wins federal Liberal nomination

Longtime Nova Scotia NDP MLA Lenore Zann won the Liberal nomination for the federal riding of Cumberland-Colchester on Saturday.

Zann stepped down from the provincial NDP in June

Former NDP MLA Lenore Zann won the federal Liberal party nomination in the riding of Colchester-Cumberland on Saturday. (Robert Short/CBC)

Longtime Nova Scotia NDP MLA Lenore Zann won the Liberal nomination for the federal riding of Cumberland-Colchester on Saturday.

Zann said she believed she held about 75 per cent of support from voters going into the nomination meeting, but didn't know the final tally. 

She was the only woman, and fourth person, to seek the Liberal nomination in the Nova Scotia riding ahead of October's federal election.

Dianne Brushett was the only other woman to be elected MP in the riding. She held the seat for the Liberals from 1993 to 1997.

"A lot of women that were there today were crying and excited," said Zann. "They were just thrilled that there's a woman that they can look up to and that they can get behind and say like, 'It's time — 2019 — isn't it time we have a female representative in Ottawa?'

"It felt historic."

When Zann left the NDP in June she said she thought running as a Liberal would give her the best chance at beating her opponent in the traditionally Conservative riding.

"I also connect with people on a human level and that's why I keep winning. You can't bottle that up and sell it," said Zann. 

"I'm there for the people. I will fight for the people and what's best for everyday, ordinary people." 

Mental health and addictions strategy

Zann said if she makes it to Ottawa, her focus will be on the environment, Indigenous rights, green jobs, women's issues, arts and culture, and mental health and addictions.  

"Many people that I know are struggling either with addictions and mental health issues themselves, or they've lost a child or a partner or someone in their family to suicide or an overdose or something like this," said Zann, who is 23 years sober. 

Zann said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told her in a December meeting he'd like to work with her on a national mental health and addictions strategy.

Liberal Bill Casey, who holds the Cumberland-Colchester seat, previously announced he would not be seeking re-election.

With files from Cassie Williams

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