Dominic Cardy

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Dominic Cardy
Dominic Cardy.jpg
Leader of the New Brunswick New Democratic Party
In office
March 2, 2011 – January 1, 2017
Preceded by Jesse Travis (interim)
Succeeded by Rosaire L'Italien (interim)
Personal details
Born (1970-07-25) July 25, 1970 (age 46)
Oxford, United Kingdom
Political party Progressive Conservative Party of New Brunswick (2017-present)
Other political
New Brunswick NDP (1984–2017)
Nova Scotia NDP (late 1990s)
New Democratic Party of Canada (1984—2017)
Occupation foreign policy analyst,
political strategist

Dominic Cardy (born July 25, 1970) is a Canadian politician and is strategic issues director for the Progressive Conservative Party of New Brunswick caucus. He was previously leader of the New Brunswick New Democratic Party from 2011 until January 1, 2017.

Early life[edit]

Born in the United Kingdom, Cardy moved to Fredericton, New Brunswick with his family when he was a child.[1] He attended Dalhousie University and graduated with a political science degree.[1]

Cardy worked for the Department of Foreign Affairs in 2000 on projects to increase public support for the banning of land mines[1] and for the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI) between 2001 and 2008. He served as a senior staff member and then country director for NDI in Nepal, Bangladesh and Cambodia.[2]

Political career[edit]

While a university student at Nova Scotia, Cardy was elected President of the Nova Scotia NDP's youth wing. He then worked as a party campaigner, political assistant to an NDP MP in Cape Breton, and managed several campaigns at the municipal and federal level.[1]

In 2000, Cardy co-founded NDProgress, a pressure group within the NDP that advocated the modernization of the party's governance structures.[3] In writing about the debate within the NDP prior to its 2001 convention between the New Politics Initiative and those such as NDProgress, Cardy wrote "Some want to see the NDP recreated as a mass party based on the ideas of the traditional left, but infused with the energy of the new social movements and the anti-globalization activists. And there are those pushing from another direction, taking inspiration from the European socialists. If I had my choice I would fall firmly into this camp, those who want the party to follow the path laid by social democrats like Gary Doer, Tony Blair and Gerhard Schröder."[4]

Cardy was campaign director for the NDP in the 2010 provincial election.[5]

NDP leader[edit]

Cardy was acclaimed party leader on March 2, 2011 after the only other candidate for the position, Pierre Cyr, was disqualified from the party's 2011 leadership election.[1] At the 2012 New Brunswick New Democratic Party convention, Cardy received an 82% vote of confidence in his leadership from the assembled delegates.[6]

During the 2012 federal NDP leadership race, Cardy backed Thomas Mulcair, and was one of the introductory speakers at his campaign launch.

Cardy was the NDP's candidate in a June 25, 2012 provincial by-election in Rothesay, coming in third with 27 per cent of the vote.

As leader, Cardy recruited a slate of candidates that included several prominent former Conservative and Liberal politicians including former Liberal cabinet minister Kelly Lamrock in Fredericton South; Bev Harrison, a former Conservative and Speaker of the legislature, in Hampton; former Liberal MLA Abel LeBlanc in Saint John-Lancaster and former Liberal candidate John Wilcox in Rothesay. The move was criticized by some New Democrats, such as Chris Rendell, who had intended to run as a candidate, as evidence that Cardy was out of touch with the party's grassroots and was a contributing factor to the defection of some NDP supporters to the Green Party of New Brunswick.[7] Former party leader Allison Brewer endorsed the Greens due to the policy positions of Cardy's NDP.[8]

In the 2014 provincial election, Cardy ran as the party's candidate in Fredericton West-Hanwell.[8] During the election campaign, NDP candidate Paul Musgrave, running in Kent South, said he was "uncomfortable" with the party's support for the shale gas industry's use of fracking under certain circumstances.[9]

Though it received 12.98% of the vote in the 2014 provincial election, an all-time high for the NB NDP and its predecessor, the CCF, the party won no seats in the provincial legislature. Cardy himself lost to Brian Macdonald in Fredericton-Hanwell, and announced in his concession speech that he would resign as party leader effective at the party's next convention,[8] which has been postponed to January 2015. Cardy faced pressure to rescind his resignation and run in the Saint John East by-election which was called following the surprise resignation of newly elected Liberal MLA Gary Keating on October 14, 2014.[10] Cardy announced on October 21 that he would be standing in the by-election, scheduled for November 17,[11] and delayed his resignation.[12] Cardy placed third in the by-election with 21.88% of the vote.[13]

Cardy agreed to remain as leader after the party's executive rejected his resignation on December 10, 2014 and a letter was signed at the party's provincial council by supporters and former candidates urging him to stay on. The party also offered Cardy a "livable" salary beginning in 2015 due to its improved financial position. Cardy had been working as leader on a volunteer basis since assuming the position in 2011 and had no legislative salary as he is not a member of the provincial legislature.[14]

In early 2015, federal NDP MP Yvon Godin (Acadie—Bathurst) criticized Cardy's leadership and its conduct in the election campaign saying that Cardy had moved the provincial party too far to the centre. “The problem, I think, with the provincial party, with Dominic, was that I think he was too much to the right to even be in the centre, and I think people read into that," said Godin who added: “I think it did hurt the party. People were looking for the NDP, they were doing really well, and [voters] wanted change from the existing parties that we have now, who are serving the big corporations and forgetting about the people. I think that’s what happened.”[15]

In the summer of 2016, Cardy expressed his support for the proposed Energy East pipeline and supported Alberta NDP Premier Rachel Notley's position against the Leap Manifesto.[16] He had earlier refused to endorse federal NDP leader Thomas Mulcair's leadership, saying he was troubled by positions taking by the federal party during the 2015 federal election, and skipped the April 2016 federal party convention along with the leadership review that occurred during the meeting.[17]

Resignation from the NDP[edit]

In the fall of 2016, the Memramcook-Tantramar NDP riding association passed a motion calling for Cardy's removal as leader. A member of the riding's executive said of Cardy that "His style of leadership has not been constructive in terms of building bridges, he's been mostly burning bridges and alienating a lot of people in the party." Cardy was also facing a leadership review in 2017.[18]

Cardy resigned as party leader, as well as resigning his membership of both the federal and New Brunswick NDP,[19] on January 1, 2017, complaining of party infighting which he attributed to "destructive forces" colluding with CUPE New Brunsick, the province's largest private-sector union against his leadership.[20] In a statement, Cardy said that he "cannot lead a party where a tiny minority of well-connected members refuse to accept the democratic will of the membership." He added that "[l]imited time and energy is being wasted on infighting before the election," and that "'Some New Democrats unfortunately believe change and openness have had their time. They want to return to an old NDP of true believers, ideological litmus tests and moral victories."[21] Cardy claimed that what he described as his "progressive" platform had been thwarted by both federal and provincial party members and denounced the federal party's non-interventionist stance on the Syrian Civil War as antithetical to his beliefs.[20]

CUPE New Brunswick president Danny Legere responded to Cardy's accusations saying: “He’s driven a lot of our rank and file members because of positions he has taken over the years away from the party.”[22] Legere also said that Cardy"seemed to want to take the party more to the right, which didn't always line up with our vision of the party."[18] Patrick Colford, president of the New Brunswick Federation of Labour said of the leadership review Cardy had been facing that "two camps were doing their best to mobilize people … and one camp might have had a bit more momentum," he said. "You can read between the lines," he added, referring to Cardy's subsequent resignation.[18]

Cardy has not ruled out returning to political activity in the future.[20] He added that he has great respect for Opposition Leader Blaine Higgs and says he may consider joining the Progressive Conservative Party of New Brunswick before the next provincial election, expected in 2018.[23]

Progressive Conservative straegist[edit]

Cardy's appointment as strategic issues director for the Opposition Progressive Conservative Party of New Brunswick was announced by party leader Blaine Higgs on January 27, 2017.[24] Cardy said it is "not my intention" to run for a legislative seat as a Progressive Conservative candidate but that a "great many" of his former colleagues in the NDP would be joining the Progressive Conservatives.[24]

The NDP's interim leader, Rosaire L'Italien, said that Cardy's move to the PCs "confirms the opinion of most of his detractors: he was and is a conservative. In the end, Cardy was just a visitor to the NDP."[25]

Electoral record[edit]

New Brunswick provincial by-election, Saint John East, 17 November 2014
Party Candidate Votes % ∆%
Progressive Conservative Glen Savoie 2,225 44.31 +7.43
Liberal Shelley Rinehart 1,398 27.84 -9.18
New Democratic Dominic Cardy 1,099 21.88 +3.36
Green Sharon Murphy 262 5.22 -0.39
People's Alliance Arthur Watson 38 0.76 -1.21
Total valid votes 5,022 100.00  
Progressive Conservative gain from Liberal Swing +8.31
2014 New Brunswick general election: Fredericton West-Hanwell
Party Candidate Votes % ±
     Progressive Conservative Brian Macdonald 2,971 35.21
     NDP Dominic Cardy 2,502 29.65
     Liberal Bernadine Gibson 2,384 28.25
Green Gayla MacIntosh 582 6.90
2012 by-election: Rothesay
Party Candidate Votes % ±
     Progressive Conservative Hugh John "Ted" Flemming III 1,625 38.26 -18.31
     Liberal John Wilcox 1,328 31.27 +2.87
     NDP Dominic Cardy 1,158 27.27 +18.30
Green Sharon Murphy 69 1.62 -4.43
     Independent Marjorie MacMurray 62 1.46 *


  1. ^ a b c d e Profile: New Democratic Party Leader Dominic Cardy. CBC News, August 11, 2014.
  2. ^ "Dominic Cardy joins the Forum as director for Asia-Pacific Programs". Forum on Federations. Forum on Federations. November 20, 2008. Retrieved March 24, 2011. 
  3. ^ biography
  4. ^ OPEN LETTER TO NEW DEMOCRATS by Dominic Cardy (October 2001)
  5. ^ "Cardy is N.B.'s new NDP leader". CBC News. March 2, 2011. Retrieved March 22, 2011. 
  6. ^ "Dominic Cardy obtient la confiance des partisans du NPD". L'Acadie Nouvelle. April 14, 2012. Retrieved April 18, 2012. 
  7. ^ "New Brunswick NDP leader proud Liberals, Tories now among his prize candidates". Kelowna Daily Courier. September 14, 2014. Retrieved September 22, 2014. 
  8. ^ a b c "Dominic Cardy resigns as NDP leader". CBC News, September 22, 2014.
  9. ^ "NDP candidate 'uncomfortable' with Dominic Cardy's shale gas policy". CBC News, September 18, 2014.
  10. ^ "Dominic Cardy urged to run in Saint John East byelection". CBC News. October 17, 2014. Retrieved October 18, 2014. 
  11. ^ "NDP's Dominic Cardy will run in the Saint John East byelection". CBC News, October 21, 2014.
  12. ^ "N.B. NDP Leader Dominic Cardy to run in Saint John East byelection". CTV Atlantic, October 21, 2014.
  13. ^ "Tory candidate's second try results in win in New Brunswick byelection". Thompson Citizen. Canadian Press. November 17, 2014. Retrieved November 21, 2014. 
  14. ^ "Dominic Cardy will keep his job as NDP leader". CBC News. December 10, 2014. Retrieved December 12, 2014. 
  15. ^ "Yvon Godin criticizes Dominic Cardy's NDP campaign tactics". CBC News. January 7, 2015. Retrieved April 30, 2015. 
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  18. ^ a b c
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  20. ^ a b c
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External links[edit]