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Former Liberal MP Karen Ludwig hopes to run in Saint Croix byelection

Karen Ludwig hopes to run in St. Croix byelection
WATCH: A familiar face will be seeking the Liberal nomination for the yet to be scheduled byelection in St. Croix. Silas Brown reports.

Former New Brunswick Southwest MP Karen Ludwig says she will seek the Liberal nomination for a byelection in the provincial riding of Saint Croix.

The former Liberal MP says she took some time to think about her future after losing her seat to Conservative MP John Williamson but received plenty of encouragement from people within the riding to make the jump to provincial politics.

“Constituents were reaching out to me every day asking me to run and I openly said it wasn’t the time, it wasn’t right for me,” she said.

READ MORE: New Brunswick premier says he’ll wait until March to set date for byelections

Ultimately Ludwig says reports over the potential closure of medical labs in small hospitals like the one in St. Stephen, N.B., that pushed her to run.

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“There’s people here with chronic illness, some people go in weekly for lab tests,” she said.

“We can’t be making significant cuts in the area of healthcare.”

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Saint Croix has been vacant since the death of MLA and former federal cabinet minister Greg Thompson this summer.

Ludwig represented the area in Ottawa for four years but lost her seat in 2019. However, she was able to retain quite a bit of support in the towns of Saint Andrews and St. Stephen, which make up a large part of the provincial riding.

Ludwig also said she repeatedly heard from voters that withheld their support due to their lack of faith in the leader of the federal Liberals, Justin Trudeau.

“People would say to me, you know, across the riding, I really wish I could vote for you, but I can’t. Oh my god, you’re the best MP we’ve ever had, I just can’t vote for your leader,” she said.

Byelection to be called in St. Croix before March
Byelection to be called in St. Croix before March

With her previous political experience, Ludwig says she is in a good position to represent the riding. Ludwig added that she has always tried to look beyond the four year election cycle and instead focus on the future of her community.

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“Running in politics, some people look at it as a four-year cycle, but it has to be a lifelong look at 10, 20, 30 years from now, that’s how I look at it,” she said.

“I can make an imprint as an elected member for a short period of time, but ultimately the decisions that we make as elected officials are not for an election cycle but actually for a lifetime.”

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Premier Blaine Higgs must set dates byelections in Saint Croix as well as former premier Brian Gallant’s old seat in Shediac Bay-Dieppe by March 10.

The results in Saint Croix could have massive implications for the rest of the province. Should the Liberals win the seat they could have a chance to form government.

Higgs has said in the past that he would call a general election should the Liberals win in order to avoid that outcome.

READ MORE: New Brunswick minister, Saint Croix MLA Greg Thompson dead at 72

The president of the New Brunswick Liberal Association Joel Reed says a date for the Liberal nomination convention has yet to be set. The official application process will be opening early next week and Reed says a candidate should be selected sometime in the next month.

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The PCs will be hosting a nomination convention this weekend in St. Stephen, but the party’s executive director Rick Lafrance confirmed today that former journalist Kathy Bockus will be uncontested.

The People’s Alliance will be running wildlife biologist and former teacher at the Maritime College of Forest Technology Rod Cumberland.

The application process for the Green party has yet to open and the NDP is also without a candidate.