Jim Dinn may seek permanent NDP leadership role as party looks ahead to 2023

Interim NDP Leader Jim Dinn says he might seek the leadership job permanently, but there are decisions to make first.  (Darrell Roberts/CBC - image credit)
Interim NDP Leader Jim Dinn says he might seek the leadership job permanently, but there are decisions to make first. (Darrell Roberts/CBC - image credit)
Darrell Roberts/CBC
Darrell Roberts/CBC

Interim Newfoundland and Labrador NDP Leader Jim Dinn says he's considering running for the leadership role permanently.

In a sit-down interview with CBC News, speaking about the year ahead, Dinn said he has been encouraged by multiple people to take that step.

"Every time I have an interview I have a plethora of calls from people who want me to drop the 'interim' title. They're concerned. They're people from within the party and outside the party whose opinions I respect," Dinn said.

"For the last month it has been relentless but there are a lot of decisions to be made on that one long before I'm swayed otherwise."

Dinn initially said he was stepping in to keep the seat warm as the party looked ahead to a leadership convention following former leader Allison Coffin's defeat in the 2021 general election.

He said he's going to continue to "keep the seat warm" until the party does call a leadership convention.

"I never had political ambitions in many ways.… Gerry Rogers, I blame for this in many ways. I have a lot of deep respect for that person. What I enjoy most about this job is the ability to be in a position to actually help an individual," said Dinn.

"Jim Dinn, MHA, has a little bit more sway than Jim Dinn, private citizen, and I guess Jim Dinn, interim leader, has a little bit more sway than Jim Dinn, MHA. That whole thing comes down to work-life balance and things that are important to everyone."

Dinn said his leadership role has been demanding, filled with positives but also some uncertainties.

He said he wants to make sure residents have a prosperous future.

"My commitment is I do nothing by halves. It's all in or nothing," he said.

"If I make that decision I can promise you it's 110 per cent commitment."

WATCH | Interim NDP Leader Jim Dinn sits down with the CBC's Peter Cowan to discuss the year ahead:

Dinn said he has spoken with his caucus colleagues about his potential leadership run.

As for the issues the province as a whole is facing, he said, health care is one of the biggest.

Dinn said the government needs to focus on recruitment, quality of life and "an affirmation" to recruited health care professionals that the situation is going to get better.

"We've had successive governments, whether it be Liberal or PC, who've cut the system to the bone. If you can tell me that this is the first time we're hearing about this, then maybe this is going to be a quick solution," said Dinn.

"But the fact is nurses, people in health care, doctors have been crying out and have been making it very clear as to the catastrophe that was coming our way. It's now upon us."

Dinn said the government needs to convince health staff that it's committed to providing a work-life balance that they need.

He said whoever does become leader of N.L.'s NDP, the first step is making sure the party is built to have a stronger voice for the residents who call their offices with concerns about health care, housing and affordability.

"It's about putting people first, making sure that people who often do not have a voice have a clear voice and an influence in this province so we're not just simply benefiting those who have deep pockets," Dinn said.

Watch the full interview by clicking on the video above.

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