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NDP exodus as former N.B. provincial candidates move to support federal Green Party

WATCH: There is an exodus of NDP members who say the Green Party is the best option for progressive voters.

Fourteen former candidates of the New Brunswick NDP and a member of the federal NDP executive are throwing their support behind the Green Party of Canada ahead of next month’s federal election.

The group issued an eight-point declaration of support Tuesday, encouraging “New Democrats, New Brunswickers and, indeed, all Canadians in voting for the Green Party of Canada this election.”

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh is admonished in the declaration for not visiting New Brunswick since he was chosen as leader. The group contrasts him with Green Party Leader Elizabeth May, who they say has “visited New Brunswick a significant amount of times.”

The mass defection comes after a failure by the NDP to nominate any federal candidates in New Brunswick while only one candidate has been nominated in Prince Edward Island as of Tuesday.

The NDP says that six of the 10 nomination meetings in New Brunswick are scheduled to be held before the end of next week.

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Johnathan A. Richardson, a member of the federal NDP executive, signed the declaration.

At a press conference in Moncton on Tuesday, Richardson said one of his reasons for resigning his executive position and ending his affiliation with the NDP was the lack of attention on Atlantic Canada.

“To be truthful, their focus is just not on Atlantic Canada,” said Richardson.

“[We were told]: ‘You’re not that many seats.'”

Richardson was joined by New Brunswick Green Party Leader David Coon on Thursday. Coon said he was confident that voters in P.E.I. and New Brunswick will elect Green MPs this election.

WATCH: Jonathan Richardson, a member of the federal NDP executive, announced on Tuesday that he will be joined by 14 former New Brunswick NDP candidates in throwing their support behind the Green Party of Canada

14 former New Brunswick NDP candidates move to support Green Party
14 former New Brunswick NDP candidates move to support Green Party

The declaration issued Tuesday says that the members had hoped to accomplish real change by choosing NDP both federally and provincially but have seen multiple setbacks — including the party’s failure to elect any MLAs in last year’s New Brunswick election or even recruit a new provincial party leader.

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In contrast, the New Brunswick Green Party elected three MLAs in the 2018 New Brunswick election.

The group says their desire for representation from a movement “that respects and encourages the engagement at the community level” has led them to throw their support behind the Green Party of Canada.

WATCH: Jo-Ann Roberts on drawing support from former members of the New Brunswick NDP

Green Party Deputy Leader on drawing support from former members of the New Brunswick NDP
Green Party Deputy Leader on drawing support from former members of the New Brunswick NDP

Green Party deputy leader Jo-Ann Roberts, who will be running in the riding of Halifax, told Global News that the decision by the now-former NDP members to join the Greens came from a sense of deep frustration.

“They saw their way of achieving their goals of making life better for New Brunswickers was to throw their support for this election behind the Green Party,” said Roberts, saying that the Greens can offer a path forward for Canadians who are looking for a third party.

She said that Tuesday’s news should answer questions about where a progressive vote could go this election.

READ MORE: Singh’s NDP trails all major parties for candidates — he seeks more women, minorities

Richardson was joined by 14 people who ran as provincial candidates in New Brunswick in signing the declaration.

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Those signatories are Joyce Richardson, Lise Potvin, Willy Robichaud, Albert Rouselle, Anne Richardson, Justin Young, Jean-Maurice Landry, Jessica Caissie, Lina Chiasson, Cecile Richard-Hebert, Francis Duguay, Hailey Duffy, Madison Duffy and Betty Weir.

None of the signatories are listed as candidates with the Green Party of Canada.

Global News has reached out to the NDP but have yet to receive comment.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect that the NDP has nominated a candidate in Prince Edward Island. 

— With files from Callum Smith