Claudia Chender, MLA for Dartmouth South, has announced her candidacy for leadership of the Nova Scotia New Democrats.
“It’s a time of a lot of change and a lot of renewal,” said Chender, announcing her bid first on Global News Morning on Monday.
“It’s a time when a lot of the issues have really come to the fore, issues that our party has been talking about for years, around how we could have an economy and government that really don’t leave folks behind,” she said.
Formerly a lawyer, Chender was first elected as MLA back in 2017.
She is now the NDP House Leader and critic for justice, the status of women, economic development, natural resources and renewables, and fisheries and aquaculture.
The role of leadership became open as current leader Gary Burrill said he is stepping down after nearly six years in the role. He made the announcement on Nov. 9.
Since then, Chender had expressed interest in leadership and speculation circled around whether she would run. She’s the first to throw her hat in the ring.
“I’m just thrilled to have this opportunity at this moment and just start talking to people right across the province,” Chender said.
Though the COVID-19 pandemic has brought on many challenges for Nova Scotians and its government, Chender said there’s an opportunity, “to be able to make those big structural changes that people want from their leaders and their government.”
After five years of tracking how provincial politics work, Chender said it feels like the right time to step forward.
Her campaign co-chairs are MLA for Dartmouth North Susan Leblanc and former MLA for Cape Breton Centre, Tammy Martin.