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Poly Savvy: Old Rivalries in New Brunswick

by Georges Habib September 17, 2019
Poly Savvy: Old Rivalries in New Brunswick

Both the New Democratic Party and the Green Party have butted heads the past two weeks on what appears to be a controversial development in the eastern province.

Previously thought to be 14 defectors, eight former New Democratic candidates have switched over to the Greens, as reported by the CBC. One defector, former party executive Jonathan Richardson, even went so far as to blame the move on NDP leader Jagmeet Singh’s ethnicity’s effect on regional popularity.

Naturally, such a statement has led to accusations of racism against the Greens, accusations that the party has vehemently denied. Instead, it was pointed out that Singh had not once visited the Maritimes since assuming his position in 2017. Unsurprisingly, words have been thrown back and forth since the defections, reaching levels of passive-aggressiveness best reserved for thanksgiving.

But regardless of the political bickering, the real question remains; what will be the consequential effect of these disputes on the upcoming federal and provincial elections?

The answer is… probably nothing.

It’s no secret that the Green Party has never been one to gain more than two seats at the Federal level, so far. Nor have they established any sort of major political ground on the eastern seaboard. Therefore, it’s safe to assume that no riding was ever truly in sight for a Green takeover; as New Brunswick is primarily split between Conservative and Liberal MPs, with a slight lead for the Blues.

In fact, the Greens hold a mere three provincial seats out of the province’s total of 49. Zero on the Federal level.

But what about the NDP? Have they lost any potential advantage in future polls?

Again, not necessarily.

The “defectors” mentioned consisted of members of the Oranges, who ran in the 2018 provincial elections. Ran, not won, as the NDP had not gained a single seat. Most of these individuals had figured that their prospects would be better for joining the Greens, either through the assumption that following a Sikh leader would hurt their chances or genuinely believing that Singh had not done enough to remain popular in the area.

In the end, the Greens did not gain a single seat as the New Democrats did not have anything to lose. To find out if the former had gained any clear advantage, we will need to see the results of the upcoming elections.

Until then, the Green Party will just have to settle for brownie points.


Graphic by Victoria Blair

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