Ottawa Centre NDP expect to announce nomination date soon

By: Kyle Duggan

Canadians who want to vie for the NDP nomination in Ottawa Centre could soon be coming out of the woodwork.

The riding association is expected to announce the date soon for its nomination meeting, where party members can choose their candidate for the 2019 federal election.

They’re aiming for late January or early February.

Oliver Kent, CEO of the federal NDP Ottawa Centre riding association, said several potential nomination candidates have already applied to the party and are waiting for approval. “We expect to make an announcement shortly about the timing of the nomination meeting and that approved candidates will begin to go public,” he wrote in an email.

The riding will likely be a key battle zone for the party.

The seat has swung back and forth between the Liberals and NDP since 1979 and does so at the provincial level as well. It was held by the NDP for the better part of a decade until Liberal MP and Environment Minister Catherine McKenna won the seat back in October 2015, when a red wave swept much of the country and handed Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau a majority government.

Former NDP MP Paul Dewar represented the riding from 2006- 2015, and before that former NDP leader Ed Broadbent claimed the seat in 2004 for the 38th Parliament.

Former Liberal MP Mac Harb held the riding from 1988 until he was appointed to the Senate in 2003. For her part, McKenna was soon knocking on doors after winning the Liberal nomination for the riding in May 2014, and ran a strong campaign against Dewar in 2015, positioning herself and the party as the best option against the Conservative government of former prime minister Stephen Harper.

Kent remembers her early nomination, and said it’s been a factor in not waiting too long to name an NDP candidate. “I think the fact that she was nominated well in advance would be one thing that’s motivating us to get a nomination done well in advance. Though frankly, we did that provincially as well,” Kent said.

After the 2015 election, Dewar was anticipated by many to remain in politics and make a mayoral bid in Ottawa, but he was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer earlier this year. He is now involved with a community youth leadership group, Youth Action Now.

This will be the first time in more than a decade that someone other than Dewar will represent the party in the riding. The expected date of the next federal election is October 21, 2019, which is the latest that Trudeau could call an election according to the fixed-date provisions in the Canada Elections Act, although the prime minister could call one earlier if he chooses.

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