Jim Dinn removes 'interim' tag after being acclaimed NDP leader
Jim Dinn, who has been serving as the interim head of the NDP in Newfoundland and Labrador for nearly two years, was acclaimed leader on Tuesday.
Speaking with reporters at his leadership announcement, Dinn said he isn't planning major changes to the party.
"I've resisted that notion, that somehow I could change, or I could save or anything like that. It comes down to a team," he said.
During his speech, Dinn emphasized his party's support for guaranteed basic income and called for more affordable housing. He also criticized the provincial government's management of the health-care system.
"Our priorities are making sure that those who are vulnerable, those who are in the middle class, those who are trying to make ends meet, those who are just looking for a place to live have adequate health care, dental care," he said.
Dinn was the lone candidate to put his name forward when the nomination opened last month. As of Tuesday, nobody else had come forward to run against him. Dinn said he would've liked to see more candidates vying for the leadership but he understands it's a significant commitment.
"It's always important to have people come forward. I take it as a certain vote of confidence that people have in me to do that work," he said.
"I welcome anyone who wants to step forward at a future date."
The MHA for St. John's Centre is a retired teacher and former head of the Newfoundland and Labrador Teachers' Association. He jumped into politics in 2019, taking over the district of former NDP leader Gerry Rogers.
Rogers gave Dinn her full support in his quest to become full-time leader, introducing him at his campaign announcement on Feb. 16.
"His whole life has been about community, about connections and about working with others to make our world, our province, a better place for everyone," Rogers said.
"I knew that the Newfoundland and Labrador New Democrats was the perfect home for his activism. I knew that Jim Dinn would be the perfect MHA for the good people of St. John's Centre. I was right."
Dinn took over as interim leader following the 2021 election, when then leader Alison Coffin lost her seat in St. John's East-Quidi Vidi. He took over a party with dwindling influence, having fallen to just two seats after the 2021 election. Under his leadership, that number grew to three when Torngat Mountains MHA Lela Evans traded her Tory blue for orange.
Dinn said he'll be working to build back support for the party.
"In many ways, the health of the party is also about finding future leaders to guide this party at the district level and at the provincial level, and yes, even at being leader of the party," he said.