Now that Manitoba MP Niki Ashton has joined eight other candidates in the bid to replace the late Jack Layton as leader of the New Democrats, the field is getting crowded. rabble.ca has put the following information together to help you learn about the candidates and follow discussion on our live forum, babble.
To read or contribute to the babble discussion forum about Ashton’s candidacy, please click here.
To read or contribute to babble’s ongoing discussion about the NDP leadership race, please click here for thread 34, the current discussion.
Here is some basic information on the contenders, along with links to further information about them. This will be updated should other candidates emerge.
1) Brian Topp, national president of the NDP, Ontario
Topp, 51, is currently on leave from his position as the party’s national president. Active in the party for several decades across the country, he was deputy chief of staff to Saskatchewan Premier Roy Romanow. He is currently the executive director of ACTRA Toronto.
2) Romeo Saganash, MP for Abitibi — Baie — James – Nunavik – Eeyou, Quebec.
Saganash, 49, was first elected in 2011, having defeated the Bloc Quebecois incumbent. Saganash has served as deputy grand chief of the James Bay Crees of Northen Quebec from 1990 to 1993, and has chaired the James Bay Advisory Committee on the Environment. With his candidacy for the NDP leadership, he is believed to be the first aboriginal leader to run for the leadership of a major Canadian party.
3) Nathan Cullen, MP for Skeena-Bulkley Valley, B.C.
Cullen, 39, was first elected to Parliament in 2004. Before politics, Cullen was a consultant, small business owner and community organizer in northwestern B.C. His expertise is in strategic planning and resolving conflicts for businesses, government and non-profit agencies throughout the province.
4) Paul Dewar, MP for Ottawa Centre, Ontario
Dewar, 48, worked as a teacher — winning the A. Lorne Cassidy Award for work with children with special needs — and was also a union activist before entering federal politics in 2008.
5) Martin Singh, businessman, Nova Scotia
Singh, 38, owns pharmacies and residential care facilities in Nova Scotia and Ontario and is a reservist in the Canadian Forces. He has been active with the NDP since the mid-1990s and is president of the party’s faith and social justice commission.
6) Thomas Mulcair, MP for Outremont, Quebec
Mulcair, 57, is one of two deputy leaders of the New Democrats. He was the provincial Member of the National Assembly of Quebec for the riding of Chomedey in Laval from 1994 to 2007, holding the seat for the Liberal Party of Quebec. He won his seat for the federal NDP in 2007. A lawyer by training, he has also taught law.
7) Peggy Nash, MP for Parkdale — High Park, Ontario
Nash, 60, was first elected in 2006. Previously she was a labour official with the CAW and was elected to a two-year term as the federal NDP’s president. She has been involved with many organizations advancing women’s equality. She was a founding member of Equal Voice, an all-party organization which advocates for the election of more women in Canada.
8) Robert Chisholm, MP for Dartmouth – Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia
Chisholm, 54, is the former leader of the provincial NDP in Nova Scotia and was elected to parliament in 2011. He has worked in the labour movement, notably with CUPE, and ran a consultancy firm with his wife, Paula Simon.
9) Niki Ashton, MP for Churchill
Ashton, 29, is the youngest woman in the 40th Parliament and is the current Chair of the House of Commons Standing Committee on the Status of Women. She is a former instructor with University College of the North.