MP Niki Ashton enters NDP leadership race
Published Tuesday, March 7, 2017 10:26AM EST
Last Updated Tuesday, March 7, 2017 12:15PM EST
Manitoba MP Niki Ashton has joined the growing list of contenders for leadership of the federal NDP.
Ashton launched her campaign Tuesday morning, becoming the fourth candidate seeking to succeed Tom Mulcair in the party’s top job.
“I’m here because I believe that movements matter…I believe that we can make a difference,” Ashton told reporters at a news conference in Ottawa. “Fighting for human rights continues to be central to everything I do.”
Ashton said that, as NDP leader, she would take “bold action” to “take back our country” and address economic inequality, discrimination, racism and the dangers of climate change.
She said the NDP “must challenge the power of Canadian elites,” and blamed successive Conservative and Liberal policies for economic disparities across the country.
“I am a proud democratic socialist. I’m a proud feminist,” Ashton said.
She also said she supports nationalizing privatized assets, such as the Port of Churchill in Manitoba, and is against pipelines that violate indigenous rights and the environment.
The 34-year-old MP is the youngest and only female candidate among the candidates who so far include B.C. MP Peter Julian, Ontario MP Charlie Angus and Quebec MP Guy Caron.
According to Elections Canada, Ashton registered for the leadership race on March 2.
Ashton took a run at the top NDP job in 2012, but was eliminated on the first ballot after gaining only 5.8 per cent of the vote.
She was first elected in the Manitoba riding of Churchill in 2008. She was re-elected in the most recent federal election.
If elected to helm the NDP, Ashton would become the youngest-ever leader of a major federal party in Canada. Joe Clark, who became leader of the Progressive Conservative Party at the age of 36 in 1976, currently holds that distinction.
The NDP will choose its new leader in October, 2017.