There are already some Islanders looking to carry the provincial NDP’s torch into the next election.
Following former leader Mike Redmond’s resignation last week, NDP president Leah-Jane Hayward said she’s already aware of at least two individuals who hope to become the party’s next leader.
While Hayward could not confirm the names of those two individuals, she said she has spoken to one of the possible candidates and that she’s heard “through the grapevine” of another who plans to run for the leadership.
“There are still many people passionate for the NDP,” Hayward said during an interview with The Guardian.
While Hayward previously told media a leadership convention could be held as early as January or February, she said it would likely be closer to spring 2018.
It’s also a race the party’s executive hopes could bring some momentum to the party with a looming provincial election.
While P.E.I.’s next election is tentatively scheduled for October 2019, it could also be called in 2018.
“Most conventions initiate more interest in the party,” said Hayward. “I think it should be a good thing to have some kind of gathering of the members and hopefully we’ll attract new people because they’ll hear a new message from a new leader.”
The party is currently without a leader following Redmond’s resignation, which was effective immediately.
Redmond was elected as the party’s leader in 2012.
He ran in the 2015 general election as well as last month’s District 11 byelection and said he had previously committed to running in two campaigns for the party.
Redmond told The Guardian he felt it was time for a “new voice” to lead the party.
Hayward said Redmond’s resignation was unexpected to the party’s executive.
However, she said she respected Redmond’s decision and also thanked him for his years of service.
She said Redmond was involved in advocating for a number of issues in P.E.I., including going to all of the school review meetings held across the province last year, while also juggling a busy home life.
“You need a lot of energy to be the leader. You need passion and energy and he certainly had lots of it,” said Hayward. “He did a marvellous job during his tenure, he’s a great guy and we thank him. He was tireless in his work as leader for the NDP.”