14 N.B. New Democrats jumping ship to join Greens
According to the CBC's Canada Poll Tracker, the NDP is polling around 10 per cent in Atlantic Canada
Note: Since this story first appeared, some of the former NDP candidates have denied leaving the party to support the Greens. Read more here.
Fourteen disgruntled former New Brunswick NDP candidates are defecting and throwing their support behind the provincial and federal Greens — a move unlikely to spark confidence in the federal New Democrats on the cusp of an election call.
The ex-New Democrats announced their exodus at a news conference in Moncton this afternoon alongside provincial Green Party Leader David Coon.
In their declaration of support, the members note that federal Green Party Leader Elizabeth May has visited New Brunswick, while NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh hasn't set foot in the province since winning the leadership back in 2017.
The former New Democrats say they support the Green Party of Canada "and encourage all New Democrats, New Brunswickers and, indeed, all Canadians in voting for the Green Party of Canada this election."
The shift means Singh's NDP can't turn to any of those provincial candidates to run in federal ridings in the upcoming election campaign. The federal party doesn't have any candidates nominated in New Brunswick at the moment, according to the party's website.
The former provincial candidates who are leaving are:
- Joyce Richardson, NDP candidate for Dieppe in 2018.
- Lise Potvin, NDP candidate for Shediac-Beaubassin-Cap-Pele in 2018.
- Willy Robichaud, NDP candidate for Miramichi Bay-Neguac in 2018.
- Albert Rouselle, NDP candidate for Shippagan-Lameque-Miscou in 2018.
- Anne Richardson, NDP candidate for Petitcodiac-Gagetown in 2018.
- Justin Young, NDP candidate for Oromocto-Lincoln-Fredericton in 2018.
- Jean-Maurice Landry, NDP candidate for Bathurst Est-Nepisiguit-Saint Isidore in 2018.
- Jessica Caissie, NDP candidate for Moncton-Centre in 2018.
- Lina Chiasson, NDP candidate for Victoria-La Vallee in 2018.
- Cecile Richard-Hebert, NDP candidate for Madawaska-Les Lacs-Edmundston in 2018.
- Francis Duguay, NDP candidate for Tracadie-Sheila in 2018.
- Hailey Duffy, NDP candidate for Moncton Southwest in 2018.
- Madison Duffy, NDP candidate for Riverview in 2018.
- Betty Weir, NDP candidate for Albert in 2018.
Jonathan Richardson, a member of the NDP's national executive representing Atlantic Canada, is also leaving the team for the Greens.
"In New Brunswick, the NDP does not have a path to victory," Richardson said. "There are no candidates for the NDP in New Brunswick or P.E.I. for the federal election.
"I actually just received a call from the organizer, you know, pleading for my help to keep finding these candidates and I said, you know, at the end of the day this is the decision I've made.
"Obviously they're not pleased. I'm not thrilled to be saying to my friends that I'm going to be moving on."
The NDP's director of communications, Mélanie Richer, told CBC News those disaffected ex-New Democrats who joined the Greens will have some explaining to do if the election delivers an outcome their supporters don't want.
"If these people are not interested in helping people make ends meet by bringing in a national pharmacare program right away … that's up to them to explain," she said. "If these people are comfortable in supporting a Conservative government led by Andrew Scheer uplifted by Elizabeth May's Greens, that's also up to them to explain.
Richer insisted the party is on track to "nominate a full slate of candidates" in New Brunswick.
"We're currently scheduling nomination meetings for six of those 10 ridings by the end of next week. Everyone in New Brunswick will be able to vote for an NDP MP who will work to immediately bring in a national pharmacare program and will always put people's interests first," she said.
It's not clear if any of the defectors will run for the Greens federally. The Green Party has nominated candidates already in more than half of the ridings in New Brunswick.
According to the CBC's Canada Poll Tracker, an aggregation of all publicly available polling data, New Democrats are polling at roughly 13 per cent nationwide and around 10 per cent in Atlantic Canada.
The NDP has been voiceless in the New Brunswick legislature since 2005, while the Green Party is enjoying a boom in support. Coon's Greens secured three seats in the 2018 provincial election, tying with the People's Alliance.
"I am joining the Green Party of Canada and New Brunswick and I invite my NDP colleagues to do the same," Richardson said. "The Green Party of Canada has been steadfast in their beliefs, never flip-flopping on achieving their goal."
With files from the CBC's Chris Hall and CBC New Brunswick