FREDERICTON – New Brunswick’s New Democrats have a new leader. High-profile journalist and former union leader Rosaire L’Italien was unanimously selected by the Party’s executive at a meeting Sunday to lead the NDP until a permanent leader is chosen at convention.
“Rosaire’s experience, his passion for the job, his proven ability to articulate a progressive message – these things were all factors in the broad support he had to take on the job,” said Charles Doucet, the Party’s past president. “We are fortunate to see someone of his caliber stepping forward, and it shows the optimism that exists for our party’s future.”
Mr. L’Italien followed a distinguished journalistic career by joining the NDP after his retirement from Radio-Canada and running in the federal riding of Madawaska-Restigouche in the 2015 election, coming second and beating the incumbent Conservative cabinet minister. He immediately expressed his enthusiasm to start working to ensure the party’s message is heard.
“The NDP is the only truly inclusive party in New Brunswick,” said Mr. L’Italien. “The Liberals have excluded people on a partisan basis, running a highly political government that puts their party first. And the Conservatives have chosen to exclude people linguistically and speak to only half the province in their leadership campaign. The NDP has a vision to include everyone, together, and I will be working hard to take that message all around New Brunswick.”
Mr. L’Italien identified a few issues where he will be challenging the Gallant government, including their failure to develop a poverty reduction plan and the recent health deal with the federal government, which he said was “placing Mr. Gallant’s political debts to Dominic Leblanc ahead of the health care New Brunswickers rely upon.” And he pledged to rally the party around its core principles.
“For years the NDP has had a vision where every family has a road to the middle class, with good jobs, fair wages and a social safety net that protects every citizen so they can take risks and build their dreams. I am not asking NDP members to work for me personally. I am asking them to work beside me for this beautiful vision we all share. These principles will bring us back together.”.
FREDERICTON – New Brunswick New Democratic Party Leader Dominic Cardy has announced that he is stepping down as Leader. (See attached statement). Party President Sharon Levesque confirmed today that Mr. Cardy will leave his post on January 1, 2017.
“I am one of many New Brunswickers who joined the NDP because of Dominic Cardy,” said Ms. Levesque. In the last election, our party received more votes than any NDP campaign in history and set new highs in over two dozen ridings. I believe that Dominic Cardy’s intelligence, decency, and focus on ideas had a lot today do with that.”
Under Cardy’s leadership the NDP took a record 13% of the province-wide popular vote. The party had set record highs in opinion polling in the pre-election period, even out-polling the governing Conservatives, and attracted a number of high-profile first-time NDP candidates.
Ms. Levesque thanked Mr. Cardy for his service. “While many of us are sorry that Dominic will not have more time to build the movement he started, we respect his selfless service to the party and the many unpaid years he put in growing our party.”
A Provincial Council meeting will be set in the next two weeks to appoint an interim leader, set out a date for a Leadership Convention, and adopt rules for the campaign.
FREDERICTON – NDP Leader Dominic Cardy criticised the Gallant government’s third Throne Speech, saying it ignores critical issues facing New Brunswickers.
“No help for municipalities. No specifics when it comes to education and healthcare. Deception on jobs. Today’s Throne Speech continued the Gallant government’s tradition of repeating past promises with no acknowledgement of past failures”, Cardy said.
“Last week we learned that 80% of Grade 6 students failed mathematics, 74% failed science and nearly half could not meet the provincial reading standards. There were no mentions of this crisis in the Throne Speech. Just more platitudes.”
“Why is our province ignoring the best education models in the world – models his own Department of Education are recommending! Instead of Brian Gallant deciding our children’s curriculum let’s give principals, teachers and parents control over our schools. We need to let our kids work according to their ability, being pushed to succeed by teachers who know what makes each child excited about learning.”
“On jobs the government claims they’ve ‘created jobs’ when all they’ve done is spend tax money and given it to private companies. That’s not job creation, it’s a scam, and one that the tax payers of New Brunswick are paying for. Corporate welfare gives money to corporations, it doesn’t create real jobs for New Brunswickers,” Cardy said.
“In September the Gallant government promised a new Municipalities Act. Where is it? We need to take the power away from the Premier and his friends and give it back to communities, where it belongs.”
Mr. Cardy concluded: “The Gallant government keeps increasing taxes, has overseen the biggest cuts to education in 20 years, and seems more interested in arguing about French immersion than teaching English and French kids to read. New Brunswick deserves better.”
FREDERICTON – NDP Leader Dominic Cardy is calling on Premier Gallant to join Alberta Premier Rachel Notley and stand up for New Brunswick in carbon tax negotiations with the Federal Government.
“Two Atlantic Canadian Liberal governments walked out on meetings with the federal government over its carbon tax ultimatum. Premier Gallant was nowhere to be found,” Cardy said. “When Alberta Premier Rachel Notley told the Prime Minister that Alberta would only accept the federal carbon price on the condition that the federal government make concrete progress on pipelines, Premier Gallant stayed silent. Is Premier Gallant standing up for New Brunswick or for Mr. Trudeau?”
“Premier Gallant’s neglect for New Brunswick can only be explained in two ways,” said Cardy. “Either his government has decided to break their campaign promise of supporting Energy East or Premier Gallant can’t stand up to Ottawa. Which one is it?”
Cardy concluded: “If this Government is truly committed to moving New Brunswick forward, Premier Gallant will stand with Premier Notley’s bold call for progress on pipeline development. It’s time for Gallant to stand up and stop being a puppet for Liberals in Ottawa.”
FREDERICTON – NDP Leader Dominic Cardy is urging the government to evaluate the needs of students and teachers before restoring grade one immersion.
“Today’s announcement, within weeks of the government releasing an education plan saying that they were going to trust teachers, shows that Premier Gallant has ignored the advice of every elected English school district and every English teachers union in the province”
“Before the removal of early immersion half of rural schools, 98 percent of students with special needs and 80 percent of the poorest students in this province didn’t receive or participate in French immersion. Since the removal of the grade one entry point, English provincial literacy rates have increased and students from rural schools and the most vulnerable families in New Brunswick have received the opportunity to enrol in French immersion. After delivering one of the biggest cuts to education in the provinces history, Premier Gallant needs to ensure that immersion isn’t just a program for elites or we will make the language divide worse, not better”
“I sincerely hope that moving the entry point for Immersion back to grade one enhances New Brunswick’s education system. I remain skeptical as we have yet to see a comprehensive plan from this government to actually move towards early immersion. I fear that this is another of one of many empty announcements from this government, rather than a plan to improve New Brunswick’s education system in the interest of students” said Cardy.