Home News Niki Ashton becomes ninth hopeful to enter NDP leadership race

Niki Ashton becomes ninth hopeful to enter NDP leadership race

by Cameron Ahmad November 8, 2011
Niki Ashton becomes ninth hopeful to enter NDP leadership race

Niki Ashton has officially declared her candidacy for the leadership of the NDP. The Churchill, Manitoba MP made her announcement Monday morning to supporters at an event in Montreal’s Old Port.

“The opinion of Niki’s entire campaign team is that her talents, skills and ability to conduct herself in a new way will win over members and draw in new ones,” said Noah Evanchuk, co-chair of Ashton’s national campaign. “We think she’s the best person suited to be our next prime minister.”

Evanchuk believes Ashton can unite the country, because “she deals with politics differently.” He highlights her “deep roots in the party as an activist and a member,” and thinks she can galvanize voters from the entire country, including Quebec.

Ashton is the ninth person to throw her hat in the ring. She joins Peggy Nash as the second female candidate, and is the youngest person running to lead the Official Opposition.

Brian Topp, former party president, is considered a frontrunner and has received endorsements from prominent figures within the NDP, such as former leader Ed Broadbent and former Saskatchewan premier Roy Romanow. Ashton also faces Martin Singh, a Nova Scotia pharmacist, and fellow MPs Thomas Mulcair, Paul Dewar, Robert Chisholm, Romeo Saganash, Nathan Cullen, and Nash.

When Ashton, now 29, defeated incumbent Liberal Tina Keeper in 2008 in her riding of Churchill, she was the youngest woman elected to the House of Commons. She is the daughter of current provincial cabinet minister Steve Ashton, who has had a seat in the Manitoba legislature for 30 years.

Ashton was elected as only one of two NDP MPs in Manitoba, and has long focused on raising the profile of her party in Western Canada. She opposed the Harper government’s plan to end the Canadian Wheat Board, and has sat on five committees since being elected in 2008.

She kicks off her nation-wide campaign tomorrow, but the decision to announce her candidacy in Montreal acknowledged the overwhelming support her party received from Quebec on May 2.

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