Ottawa

Paul Dewar won't say if he'll run for NDP leader

Former Ottawa-Centre MP Paul Dewar won't say if he'll jockey to take over as NDP leader after the majority of delegates voted in favour of launching a new leadership race at their party's convention over the weekend — a result being interpreted as a rejection of current party leader Tom Mulcair.

Former Ottawa-Centre MP tasked with reorganizing 3rd place party

Defeated NDP MP Paul Dewar has been appointed the party's senior transition adviser after his defeat in Ottawa Centre in October's election. (The Canadian Press)

Former Ottawa-Centre MP Paul Dewar won't say if he'll jockey to take over as NDP leader after the majority of delegates voted in favour of launching a new leadership race at their party's convention over the weekend — a result being interpreted as a rejection of current party leader Tom Mulcair.

"I'm not going to answer that today," Dewar told Robyn Bresnahan, host of CBC's Ottawa Morning, after she asked him point blank whether he'll run for the leadership.

"It's something no one is really thinking of right now. We have two years. We're going to reflect on what happened and take it from there, Dewar said.

During the convention in Edmonton delegates voted 52 per cent to 48 per cent to proceed with the leadership election, a result Dewar characterized as a shock.

He said he thought Mulcair deserved another two years at the helm.

"But clearly at the end of the day people said, 'You know what? It's time for a change,'" he said.

Divisions apparent 

Mulcair said he would stay on as leader until his successor is chosen within 24 months. Dewar served under Mulcair when the NDP was the Official Opposition, but lost his seat when the party fell to third place after the Oct. 19 election.

The close vote showed a divided party, something Dewar will have to consider in his role as the NDP's senior transition adviser. He's been tasked with helping the party reorganize after the disappointing election results.

He compared the divisions in his party to what's happening south of the border.

"We don't need to cut and paste a Bernie [Sanders] but we certainly can understand what he's about," Dewar said.

"We're not the states, we have very different issues here. Within our party people want the same kind of input from the grassroots, which Bernie is reflecting."

With files from Ottawa Morning

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