Fredericton — Everything old is new again as New Brunswick’s NDP prepares to veer left back to its old unpopular policies.
As leader Jennifer McKenzie takes the reins as the party’s 7th leader in the past 12 years, she is vowing to return to the policies that made the party so deeply unpopular with New Brunswickers.
“Sure, those policies didn’t resonate in the past, but that’s before I was involved,” said McKenzie. “I was in Ontario back then. Like Dominic before me, I’m back in town now to show people how to do it the right way.
“The party before Dominic’s time was a totally different situation. I’m sure things will be different this time,” she maintained, peering over her rose-coloured glasses. “I want to go back and achieve the same kind of wild success that Elizabeth Weir did.”
McKenzie won the party leadership despite not being bilingual — a key weakness of one of her predecessors, Allison Brewer. However, since she was the only interested candidate, her French-speaking skills were not a barrier.
“I just kind of showed up at a meeting and they asked, ‘OK, who wants to be leader?’ and that was that,” shrugged McKenzie. “I don’t understand why people say politics is so hard.”
Still, McKenzie faces significant challenges in the electoral map.
“It used to be that if you didn’t fit in with the Liberals or Tories, you kind of defaulted to the NDP,” explained political scientist Malcolm Richardson. “But now, there’s the People’s Alliance and the Greens too, so McKenzie will need to fight harder than ever before for the oddball vote.”