MP Irene Mathyssen

NDP Leadership Race Goes On

A campaign for the leadership of the NDP may have been halted, but the race still goes on.

Ontario MP Cheri DiNovo decided to drop her unofficial bid for the federal NDP leadership race because of “two small strokes” she says she suffered in the last few weeks.

Her “unofficial candidacy” raised some eyebrows back in early June, as DiNovo voiced a desire to run, while simultaneously criticizing the fees associated with entering the race.

London Fanshawe MP Irene Mathyssen commented on the leadership bid when it was announced, calling it “very unusual.” While DiNovo’s approach to the race raised some attention at the time, Mathyssen says it seemed to quickly turn quiet.

“It’s been very quiet,” Mathyssen says. “I hadn’t really heard anything, other than, I suppose, a general consensus that if you want to be part of the official slate, you have to make it very clear that you’re dedicated enough to raise money and help support the leadership contest.”

Mathyssen is praising DiNovo’s talent and dedication to Canadian politics, and hopes DiNovo keeps family and health as her first priorities.

“She has a lot of years ahead, and I want her to take very good care of herself so that she is able to not just do her job, but enjoy her time with her family and regain good health,” says Mathyssen.

DiNovo’s withdrawal means that there are currently no publicly declared candidates for the NDP leadership. However, those interested in the leadership have until July 3, 2017 to register.

With that kind of timeline in place, Mathyssen says it’s not unusual that the race is without official candidates right now.

“We’re waiting for folks who are ready to make a decision, and it takes a while,” Mathyssen says. “You have to canvas potential supporters, and there is the issue of raising money.”

Mathyssen’s position as Deputy Whip means that she is unable to comment on any picks for potential candidates, also stating that the party “will not be voicing any preferences” to achieve “genuine neutrality”.

Despite this, Mathyssen believes that the race will be engaging and candidates will bring a lot to the table.

“We have incredible people in the NDP, and I know that when folks do step forward it will be exciting and we will have a really dynamic race,” says Mathyssen.

The NDP leadership will have a lot of ground to make up, as financial reports filed with Elections Canada show the party trailing the Conservatives and Liberals in fundraising. This could have serious repercussions on the next election, but Mathyssen has confidence their donors will return.

“I’m not terribly concerned about the donor base, it will come back,” Mathyssen says. “As we see one Liberal failure after another, and we’ve begun to see them, and vacuous leadership become more clear to Canadians, they’ll come back.”

**This story was written by Samuel Gallant. Samuel is a student in the Fanshawe College broadcast journalism program. He is performing a summer internship with Blackburn News.**