Life folks, it can come at you fast. It’s amazing how sometimes a big story, which seems to be potentially damaging, proves to be something else entirely once a bit of scratching at the surface takes place. It turns out that this seems to be the case coming from Tuesday’s story from New Brunswick, which I went into here. Long story short, a group of former New Brunswick NDP candidates were jumping ship to join the Greens.
It was a story that set off a firestorm of comments from a lot of people about a lot of topics, but that was before people started to scratch a bit at what was supposedly happening. Well it turns out that there was more to this story than first thought, and well, it changes the way this story looks:
A couple big details there that really turn this story on its head. For starters, those images are screen shots of an email from the NDP that was going around last night, which laid out some pretty damning revelations. It turns out that a big group of those supposed defectors didn’t actually do so. According to this message, the party spoke directly with many of these former candidates who confirmed that they had not in fact run over to the Greens. Not only do they still support Jagmeet Singh, it turns out there was more here. They state that Jonathan Richardson, the former NDP executive member who seems to be the one who brought this all about, added their names to this statement without their consent.
When you add to that the comments from Richardson about the views of people from Northern New Brunswick as part of the reason for their supposed defection, which got attached to the former candidates as well, you can image just how unhappy they were. If that was the end of this story, that would be bad enough. But folks, this is 2019, and being such, there seems to be more to this tale that explains a lot about potential motivations:
You may remember in my piece from Tuesday I mentioned the ill-fated attempt at an NDP Leadership Campaign, which was abandoned when the lone potential candidate for the leadership failed their vetting. To date no one knew publicly who that rejected candidate was and it looked like it was just a farcical addition to this sad story. But according to quotes from Global New Brunswick, the most recent New Brunswick NDP leader Jennifer McKenzie stated that it was Richardson’s own mother who was the rejected candidate. McKenzie is quoted saying that Richardson “orchestrated to try to put his mother in as leader, and this is what he’s doing because that didn’t work out for him.” Wow, now THAT is a relevant revelation which speaks to motive in a way that we haven’t seen yet in this story.
Unsurprisingly, Richardson himself wasn’t commenting on this anymore after his comments about I the effect of the religion and race of Jagmeet Singh went over like the lead balloon you would have expected it to. But now that this development has come to light, I would argue that it would behove Mr. Richardson to speak because it seems like he’s got some things to answer for.
Further to that, I would add that the Greens have a few things to answer for here too. They jumped on this in a very opportunistic manner, seemingly didn’t do their homework on what was going on here and now they’ve been burned by this. For a party that has talk about doing politics differently, this story hasn’t worn well on them and that was before the events that have taken place overnight. I don’t know how the party can keep someone like Mr. Richardson in their camp after he used them as a prop to try to allegedly get revenge on another party. We’ll see what they do but now people are watching what they might do more closely.
These events have surely put quite a twist on this situation and in some way, it feels so 2019. I’m amazed that apparently Mr. Richardson thought he could get away with this stunt and that no one would notice, yet this seems to have blown up in his face quite nicely. On Tuesday when I wrote about this, I said that the loss of Richardson was the most damaging part of this story but these new details are proving that I was wrong on that point. If this is the way that this person does his politics, the New Democrats are better off with him gone. These new details go a fair way to show that while the New Democrats need to do more in the province, they also show that this person was far from the dedicated servant of the party who had to speak up. This looks like it was personal and about his own ambitions, not about some greater calling. That speaks louder than any organizational deficiencies that the NDP has in New Brunswick.