New Brunswick New Democratic Party

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New Brunswick New Democratic Party
Nouveau Parti démocratique du Nouveau-Brunswick
Active provincial party
Leader Jennifer McKenzie
President Douglas Mullin
Founded 1933 as the New Brunswick branch of the CCF, renamed New Brunswick NDP in 1962
Headquarters 924 Prospect Street
Suite 2
Fredericton, New Brunswick
E3B 2T9
Youth wing New Brunswick Young New Democrats
Membership 727
Ideology Social democracy
Political position Centre-left
National affiliation New Democratic Party
Colours Orange
Seats in Legislature
0 / 55

The New Brunswick New Democratic Party (French: Nouveau Parti démocratique du Nouveau-Brunswick) is a social-democratic provincial political party in New Brunswick, Canada linked with the federal New Democratic Party (NDP).

Origins and early history[edit]

The New Brunswick NDP traces its roots to the Fredericton Socialist League, which was founded in 1902. Prominent leaders included the poet and publisher Martin Butler and educator Henry Harvey Stuart, who formed a Fredericton local of the new Socialist Party of Canada in 1905. The SPC had branches in several parts of the province prior to the First World War. Stuart was later a supporter of independent labour candidates, who had two successful candidates in Northumberland County in the 1920 provincial election. Another nine Farmer candidates were also elected that year. A strong believer in building alliances among the province's social movements, Stuart was later an influential figure in the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation to the time of his death in 1952.[1]

The Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF), a social-democratic and democratic socialist federal political party, was organized at Calgary in 1932. A detailed platform, known as the Regina Manifesto, was adopted the following year. In New Brunswick, supporters of the new party convinced the New Brunswick Federation of Labour to sponsor a founding convention for the New Brunswick Section of the CCF. This took place at Moncton in June 1933, with party leader J.S. Woodsworth in attendance. Harry Girvan of Coal Creek was elected president.[2]

The New Brunswick CCF was slow to become established on the provincial political scene. It ran only one candidate in the 1939 election, Joseph C. Arrowsmith in the riding of Saint John City, winning 712 votes. The fortunes of the New Brunswick CCF rose in tandem with growing expectations for postwar social reform and the rising fortunes of the national CCF, including the election of the CCF in Saskatchewan in 1944. Under the leadership of J. A. Mugridge, a trade unionist and the chief electrician at the Saint John Drydock and Shipbuilding Company, the CCF won 11.7 percent of the vote in New Brunswick's 1944 provincial election. The best results were in Edmundston, Saint John, and Moncton, which had large numbers of union members. In that election, the CCF described itself as "the People's Party", running on a twelve-point program that included public ownership and full development of all natural resources including electricity, oil and gas and other public utilities.[3]

The 1944 election proved to be an electoral high-point for the CCF in New Brunswick. A combination of anti-CCF propaganda, the increasing adoption of somewhat progressive policies by the New Brunswick Liberals and Conservatives, and a general trend of post-war decline for the CCF nationally all contributed to weaken the New Brunswick CCF in the 1948 provincial election. This time under Arrowsmith's leadership, they received half the votes they had won in 1944 and again won no seats. In the 1952 provincial election, the CCF ran only 12 candidates and received only 1.3% of the vote and no seats. The CCF ran no candidates in the 1956 and 1960 provincial elections.

The early NDP[edit]

In 1961, the CCF merged with the Canadian Labour Congress to form the New Democratic Party (NDP) at both federal and provincial levels. The New Brunswick NDP was formed in 1962. The party spent the remainder of the decade getting itself organized and established, including forging links with some of the labour movement. The party was not in a position to run candidates in the 1963 provincial election, and ran only three candidates in the 1967 provincial election.

In 1971, the New Brunswick NDP was taken over by The Waffle, a radical wing of the party, precipitating a bitter two-month split in the party. The federal NDP responded by temporarily dissolving the provincial NDP until non-Waffle leadership was re-established. The Waffle episode had the effect of promoting greater labour involvement in the party, via concern that the party would fall under the sway of radicals without it. During the late 1970s, under the leadership of John LaBossiere, the party increasingly adopted policy positions that reflected feminist and environmentalist concerns, namely opposition to the construction of the Point Lepreau nuclear plant. This stance soured relations with some labour supporters. The party also saw its membership grow and its organisational abilities improve during the late 1970s and early 1980s. Along with traditional social-democratic NDP policy planks, the party also began to attack government patronage and poor fiscal management. Relations with the labour movements and women's movement improved further after George Little became party leader in 1980.

Growth and challenges[edit]

During Little's time as leader, in the 1982 New Brunswick election the party won its first-ever seat in Tantramar. They ran a full slate of candidates for the first time in the 1987 campaign. The period saw increasing popular support (surpassing 10% for the first time) and membership totals, numbering over 1,000 by the mid-1980s. The party failed to win any seats in 1987 due to the tidal wave of support for Frank McKenna's Liberals, who won more than 60% of the vote and took 100% of the seats in the legislature. Little resigned in 1988. He was followed by Elizabeth Weir, a lawyer and former party secretary, who won a close leadership contest against a labour activist. Weir's media presence and political stature gradually increased after she became leader, and in the 1991 provincial election she won a seat in Saint John South, the first provincial NDP leader to do so. During her time in the legislature, Weir advanced such issues as public auto insurance, pay equity, union rights and anti-poverty programmes. Weir was re-elected in the new constituency of Saint John Harbour in the 1995 provincial election. She won re-election twice more after this but failed to add extra seats to the party caucus. In 2005, she resigned.

The period immediately following Weir's departure as leader was a difficult one for the party. Allison Brewer was elected as party leader in 2005, yet faced challenges due to her inability to speak French and a lack of pragmatic party policies. In the 2006 provincial election the NDP failed to run a full slate and saw their popular vote collapse. Brewer resigned soon after the election. Pat Hanratty stood in as interim leader. He was eventually replaced by Roger Duguay in 2007. Duguay's tenure as leader was dominated by a shakeup in the party's internal operations. Much of the old executive of the party was replaced in 2009 and a new team of modernizers began to gain prominence within the party. During the 2010 provincial election the party platform combined traditional progressive social policy, education and health spending with a greater emphasis on the need for fiscal prudence and balanced budgets and cutting wasteful government spending, with opposition to corporate welfare. The party more than doubled its share of the vote, yet no candidate, including Duguay, won a seat. Having failed to become an MLA, Duguay resigned as leader in November 2010.

Modernization and new growth[edit]

Following Duguay's resignation, former federal and provincial candidate Jesse Travis was appointed interim leader, and a leadership race was scheduled for 2011. Initially there were two candidates: campaign director Dominic Cardy and former provincial candidate Pierre Cyr. Cyr, however, withdrew from the contest and Cardy was acclaimed as party leader. He then embarked on a process of further modernizing the party's platform and organization, bringing the party in line with modern social-democratic parties based on the Third Way model. Since Cardy became leader, the party's popularity increased to over 20% in opinion polls.[4] At the 2012 party convention, Cardy was endorsed by 82% of the voting members in a leader review vote.[5]

The NDP received 13% of the vote in the September 22, 2014 provincial election but again failed to win a seat. Cardy announced his resignation as NDP leader effective at the next party convention, which was scheduled for October 2014 but was later postponed to January 2015. Under pressure from the party to rescind his resignation and run in a Saint John East by-election on 17 November 2014, which was pending after the unexpected resignation of newly elected Liberal MLA Gary Keating on 14 October 2014,[6] Cardy announced that he would stand as the NDP's candidate in the by-election.[7] He placed third, with 21.88% of the vote.[8]

Cardy agreed to remain as leader after the party's executive rejected his resignation on 10 December 2014 and a letter was signed at the party's provincial council by supporters and former candidates urging him to stay on. Due to its improved financial position, the party also offered Cardy a "livable" salary beginning in 2015. Cardy had been working as leader on a volunteer basis since assuming the post and had no provincial salary as he was not a member of the legislature.[9]

Cardy resigned both as party leader and as a party member on January 1, 2017, complaining of party infighting. 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."[10][11]

On August 10, 2017, Jennifer McKenzie of St. Martins, just outside Saint John was confirmed as the new leader of the party.[12]


New Brunswick CCF[edit]

New Brunswick NDP[edit]

Election results[edit]

Election Leader Votes  % Seats +/– Position Government
1944 J. A. Mugridge 11.7
0 / 48
Steady 0 Increase 3rd No status
1948 Joseph C. Arrowsmith 6.0
0 / 52
Steady 0 Steady 3rd No status
1952 Claude P. Milton 1.3
0 / 52
Steady 0 Steady 3rd No status
1956 Did not participate
1960 Did not participate
1963 Did not participate
1967 Jack Currie 0.1
0 / 58
Steady 0 Increase 3rd No status
1970 J. Albert Richardson 2.8
0 / 58
Steady 0 Increase 3rd No status
1974 J. Albert Richardson 9,092 2.9
0 / 58
Steady 0 Steady 3rd No status
1978 John LaBossiere 6.5
0 / 58
Steady 0 Steady 3rd No status
1982 George Little 10.2
1 / 58
Increase 1 Steady 3rd Third Party
1987 George Little 43,033 10.6
0 / 58
Decrease 1 Steady 3rd Third Party
1991 Elizabeth Weir 44,384 10.8
1 / 58
Increase 1 Decrease 4th Fourth Party
1995 Elizabeth Weir 37,579 9.7
1 / 55
Steady 0 Increase 3rd No status
1999 Elizabeth Weir 34,526 8.8
1 / 55
Steady 0 Steady 3rd No status
2003 Elizabeth Weir 36,989 9.7
1 / 55
Steady 0 Steady 3rd Third Party
2006 Allison Brewer 19,212 5.1
0 / 55
Decrease 1 Steady 3rd Third Party
2010 Roger Duguay 38,686 10.4
0 / 55
Steady 0 Steady 3rd No status
2014 Dominic Cardy 48,257 13.0
0 / 55
Steady 0 Decrease 4th No status

NDP members of the NB Legislative Assembly[edit]

There are currently no New Democrats in the Legislative Assembly of New Brunswick. In the past, three separate individuals have been elected as New Democrats and they are as follows:

The NDP's predecessor, the CCF never won a seat in the New Brunswick legislature. In the 1920 general election nine United Farmers and two Farmer-Labour MLAs were elected.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Chapman, James K. (Spring 1976). "Henry Harvey Stuart (1873-1952): New Brunswick Reformer". Acadiensis. vol. V, no. 2: 79–104. 
  2. ^ Frank, David (2013). Provincial Solidarities: A History of the New Brunswick Federation of Labour. Edmonton: Athabasca University Press. pp. 51–54. ISBN 978-1-927356-23-4. 
  3. ^ Lewey, Laurel (2012). "A Near Golden Age: The Cooperative Commonwealth Federation (CCF) in New Brunswick, 1940-1949". Journal of New Brunswick Studies. 3. 
  4. ^ "Support For New Brunswick PC Government Stable, although Satisfaction Declined". Corporate Research Associates. 7 March 2012. 
  5. ^ "Dominic Cardy obtient la confiance des partisans du NPD". L'Acadie Nouvelle. 15 April 2012. 
  6. ^ "Dominic Cardy urged to run in Saint John East byelection". CBC News. 17 October 2014. 
  7. ^ "N.B. NDP Leader Dominic Cardy to run in Saint John East byelection". CTV News Atlantic. 21 October 2014. 
  8. ^ "Tory candidate's second try results in win in New Brunswick byelection". CTV News Atlantic. Canadian Press. 17 November 2014. 
  9. ^ "Dominic Cardy will keep his job as NDP leader". CBC News. 10 December 2014. 
  10. ^ "NDP Leader Dominic Cardy resigns amid party 'infighting'". CBC News. 1 January 2017. 
  11. ^ "Cardy won't rule out return to politics, jump to PCs". CBC News. 2 January 2017. 
  12. ^ "Jennifer McKenzie confirmed as NDP's new leader". CBC. Retrieved 10 August 2017. 
  13. ^ "A One Party Legislature: Where's "Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition" In The Loyalist Province?". Canadian Parliamentary Review. Summer 1988. 

External links[edit]