NDP leadership a 2-horse race

It's now a two-person race for the NDP leadership on the Island. Trevor Leclerc has decided to re-offer and run against Mike Redmond.

NDP Leader James Rodd announced in early February he won't seek another term as leader of the party.

Leclerc, who ran for the NDP against Premier Robert Ghiz in the last provincial election, had put his name in but withdrew it at the party's annual convention this spring because no one else had come forward.

A majority of NDP members at the convention voted in an emergency resolution to not elect a leader until a special leadership convention in the fall. Leclerc was the only person running for the leadership, so he stepped aside because of the lack of a competitor.

Since then Redmond, a facilities director at Murphy's Community Centre in Charlottetown, said he would seek the position. Redmond is also well known in the Island's soccer scene.

In July, the 43-year-old said if elected he wants to make the party a real choice for voters, not simply a place to park a protest vote. In its history, the party has only ever elected one MLA to the legislature.

Leclerc, chair of AIDS PEI, has said that the hardest task for the new leader will be to convince Islanders that many of the party's policies align closely with their views.

"The main challenge and the main goal for the new leader of the New Democrats will be to let Islanders realize that [Islanders] are at heart New Democrats," he said in March.

"We have that New Democratic spirit already, and in a lot of ways we may be voting by habit."

A leadership convention is set for Saturday, Oct. 13 at the Prince Edward Hotel. The doors open at 9 a.m. followed by nominations and then voting for a new leader. A new leader is expected by early afternoon. Federal NDP leader Tom Mulcair will be a guest speaker at the convention.

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