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New Democratic Party of New Brunswick


New Democratic Party of New Brunswick

New Brunswick New Democratic Party
Nouveau Parti démocratique du Nouveau-Brunswick
Leader Dominic Cardy
President Leigh Sprague
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
Ideology Social democracy
Political position Centre-left
International affiliation Socialist International
Colours Orange
Template:Infobox Canadian political party/province Template:Infobox political party/seats

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

The New Brunswick NDP traces its roots to the Fredericton Socialist League, which was founded in 1902. The League had branches throughout the province by World War I.

In 1933, the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF), a social-democratic and democratic socialist federal political party, was formed with the proclamation of the Regina Manifesto. In 1933, the Moncton Trades and Labour Council adopted a resolution to create a branch of the CCF in New Brunswick. This led to the creation of the New Brunswick CCF that year.

Despite its early formation, the New Brunswick CCF was slow at establishing itself 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 the fortunes of the national CCF during World War II. In the 1944 provincial election the CCF won 11.7 percent of the vote under the leadership of J. A. Mugridge, a trade unionist and the chief electrician at the Saint John Drydock and Shipbuilding Company. In that election, the CCF ran on a twelve-point program that included a promise public ownership and full development of all natural resources including electricity, oil and gas and other public utilities.

The 1944 election proved to be an electoral high-point for CCF in New Brunswick however. 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, in which they received half the votes they 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

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

During Little's time as leader, the party won its first seat ever in Tantramar in the 1982 New Brunswick election, and 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 McKenna tidal wave, and 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 becoming 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, corporate welfare and anti poverty programmes. Weir was re-elected in the new constituency of Saint John Harbour in the 1995 provincial election and won re-election twice more after, yet 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 took the helm as an interim leader, and 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 NDP planks of progressive social policy and prioritized 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

Following Duguay`s resignation, former federal and provincial candidate Jesse Travis was appointed interim leader, and a leadership race for Duguay`s replacement was scheduled for 2011. Initially two candidates entered the race: campaign director Dominic Cardy and former provincial candidate Pierre Cyr. Cyr however withdrew from the race and thus Cardy was acclaimed as party leader. Cardy embarked on a process of 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 has increased to over 20% in opinion polls.[1] At the 2012 party convention, Cardy was endorsed by 82% of the voting members in a leader review vote.[2]


New Brunswick CCF

  • J. A. Mugridge 1944 election
  • Joseph C. Arrowsmith 1948 election
  • Claude P. Milton 1952 election

New Brunswick NDP

Electoral record

General election # of candidates # of elected candidates # of ridings  % of popular vote
1939 1 0 48 0.1%
1944 41 0 48 11.7%
1948 20 0 52 6.0%
1952 12 0 52 1.3%
1956 0 0 52 0.0%
1960 0 0 52 0.0%
1963 0 0 52 0.0%
1967 3 0 58 0.3%
1970 31 0 58 2.8%
1974 35 0 58 2.9%
1978 36 0 58 6.5%
1982 54 1 58 10.2%
1987 58 0 58 10.6%
1991 58 1 58 10.8%
1995 55 1 55 9.7%
1999 55 1 55 8.8%
2003 55 1 55 9.7%
2006 48 0 55 5.1%
2010 55 0 55 10.4%
  • Results prior to 1963 are for the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF)

NDP members of the NB Legislative Assembly

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


External links

  • New Brunswick NDP
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