Lenore Zann seeks federal Liberal nomination for Cumberland-Colchester
Long-time Nova Scotia NDP MLA will sit as an independent at the legislature
Longtime NDP MLA Lenore Zann will seek the federal Liberal nomination in Cumberland-Colchester.
Zann has been the MLA for Truro-Bible Hill, and later Truro-Bible Hill-Millbrook-Salmon River, for a decade. She made an announcement at a celebration on Sunday to mark 10 years on the job as an MLA.
"In the end I talked to my family, I talked to my friends, I talked to lots of constituents in the last six months and everybody agreed that the only way I could possibly beat Andrew Scheer and keep the seat from going to the Conservatives was to run for the Liberals," Zann said. "And they've welcomed me with open arms so that's why I decided to go this way."
Zann said running for the Liberals gave her the best chance at having a voice in Ottawa.
"The NDP here in my federal riding of Cumberland-Colchester are really, really small in the polls and we've never been able to win," Zann said.
"It's a very conservative riding, typically ... the real fight or battle is between the Liberals and Conservatives and they're neck-and-neck. So I had to seriously think about how I could best serve the people of my region."
Zann is the only woman and fourth person seek the Liberal nomination in Cumberland-Colchester for this year's federal election.
The others looking to fill the position are Joel Henderson, Matt Rushton and Jim Hardiman.
"I want to take our concerns and issues to Ottawa and be at the table and bring those forward and make sure the people there realize that when they talk about out east, they don't just mean Montreal or Toronto," Zann said.
Zann said she had been approached by the federal NDP to run as well. She said Jagmeet Singh's leadership played no role in her decision.
"Jagmeet is a lovely, lovely bright young man full of all kinds of great ideas like Justin Trudeau," Zann said. "I really like them both. I met with both of them before Christmas when I was in Ottawa."
'Extremely disappointing,' says Gary Burrill
Provincial NDP Leader Gary Burill said it's "extremely disappointing" that Zann is leaving the party.
Burill said Zann told the NDP caucus late on Friday she would be leaving. He said he has not spoken to Zann since.
"The announcement today, it just weighs with a great sense of sadness that a person would leave the party of health care and of medicare in order to run for the federal Liberals," Burill said.
Zann said she has nothing against the provincial NDP.
She said she is sitting as an independent MLA now "so that I don't have to embarrass Gary or anything like that by crossing the floor."
Zann said she is proud of what the NDP has accomplished in Nova Scotia, "but I feel that after 10 years as a provincial MLA ... I think it's time for me to take that next step."
According to Zann's biography on the Nova Scotia's Legislature's website, before she was an MLA she was an actor, writer and producer with experience in film, TV, radio and theatre.
Bill Casey, the current MP for Cumberland-Colchester, previously announced he would not be seeking re-election.