Two and a half months ahead of the fall federal election, the New Democratic Party remains without a candidate in the Northwest Territories.
Dennis Bevington, who sat as the NWT’s New Democrat MP from 2006 to 2015, told Cabin Radio he expects the party to hold a nomination meeting “in the near future.”
The New Democrats are the only federal party of substance not to have named their NWT candidate for the election, which is set to be held on October 21.
“I’m not going to say who’s running but I say we’re in a very good position to have that [meeting],” said Bevington, who is a member of the riding association’s executive.
“We have very good candidates in mind and things are moving along.”
Riding association president Shane Pike told Cabin Radio the party is in the process of vetting candidates, a process completed by the central party headquarters and approved by the party’s national director.
If there is more than one nominee for the role of candidate, local members of the party will be able to vote for their preference. Pike said the riding association will meet soon to choose a date for a nomination meeting.
When asked whether the NDP was late in the game, both Pike and Bevington were quick to disagree.
“I don’t think it’s too late at all,” Bevington said. “In the summertime there’s not much activity, politically. I think it’s actually a very good time. And in the North the information gets around pretty quickly.”
Pike said the party has done a lot of work to build “party organization” and he is not concerned about being the last, by at least several weeks, to announce.
“I don’t believe it’s late at all and I think we’ll be more than prepared for this campaign,” he said, adding the party will be “policy-heavy” in the 2019 campaign.
Bevington, who lost his seat in 2015 to Liberal candidate and now MP Michael McLeod, said the progressive nature of the riding and its undecided voters would make for an “interesting” election campaign.
“The Liberals won last time with a strong appeal to young people, Indigenous people, climate change, and electoral reform,” he said. “And those things didn’t really happen in a very good fashion.
“I think that the progressive voter in the Northwest Territories is going to realize they want progress on those issues. The issues that the NDP is strong on are going to be front and centre.”
Incumbent McLeod will be running for the Liberal Party of Canada, hoping to win a second term, while the Conservative Party of Canada’s candidate is Yanik D’Aigle.
After a contested nomination, the Green Party of Canada’s NWT members selected Paul Falvo over William Gagnon as their candidate.
The newest federal party, Maxime Bernier’s People’s Party of Canada, is fielding Luke Quinlan as its NWT candidate.