New interim leader resigns shortly after New Brunswick NDP election

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The New Brunswick NDP elected a new interim leader Sunday afternoon, but the position was vacated within an hour.

The party elected communications director Nathan Davis.

But Davis, citing a family emergency, stepped down shortly after the party's virtual meeting ended.

Mackenzie Thomason was the interim leader since March 2019.

He resigned to take over as the party's executive director, which sparked the need for another interim leader.

Thomason was surprised to hear that Davis had resigned, but said he supports his decision.

"The family emergency has put him in a different predicament, a different spot, and he is not able to go forward," he said Sunday evening.

Gary Moore/CBC
Gary Moore/CBC

Davis defeated Don Paulin for the job Sunday afternoon. Paulin ran for the NDP as Don Durant in the September election.

The interim leadership position will remain vacant until the party can hold another vote.

Thomason doesn't know when that will happen, but said it could be next month.

The party has been without a permanent leader since Jennifer McKenzie stepped down after the 2018 provincial election.

Thomason led the party through the 2020 snap election, where it failed to win any seats for a fifth consecutive election.

He planned to serve as interim leader for just four months. But he remained after the only leadership candidate was disqualified, and then the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

The NDP won just 1.7 per cent of the vote, down from five per cent in 2018. It was the party's worst showing in 50 years.

Gary Moore/CBC
Gary Moore/CBC

It did not run a full slate of candidates in the September election. Several ridings in francophone New Brunswick did not have NDP candidates.

It plans to select a permanent leader before the next scheduled provincial election.