Lawyer and professor on the University of Latest Brunswick Nicole O’Byrne will run for the Green Party in Fredericton in the subsequent federal election.
O’Byrne replaces former Green Party candidate and MP Jenica Atwin, who won the party’s first federal seat outside of British Columbia in 2019. Atwin crossed the ground to hitch the Liberals last month after a dispute with leader Annamie Paul and one in all her advisors.
Party members within the riding voted over the weekend and chosen O’Byrne over Anthea Plummer and Tim Thompson.
Now the party, and O’Byrne, are hoping to take the riding back.
“We won the 2019 federal seat … and we’re going to try this again, folks,” O’Byrne told a bunch of about 20 Green supporters.
The federal Green Party has been consumed with infighting, partly sparked by Atwin’s defection. The party executive had moved to begin a leadership review of Paul, which was halted after the embattled leader was granted a court injunction. She’s now being sued by the party’s governing body over those internal procedures.
But as rumours of a looming federal election swirl, O’Byrne says she’s specializing in mobilizing the party faithful within the riding, not the interior disputes going down between Paul, some parts of the party executive and membership.
“We’ve got numerous money to spend on this campaign, we’ve got numerous volunteers, we’ve got numerous staff who actually know tips on how to win. We won in 2019, we just need to try this again,” O’Byrne said.
“How are we going to do it? By running a really big tent, idea-based, climate change priority one sort of campaign.”
Leader of the provincial party David Coon says O’Byrne is well suited to the duty of regaining the trust of the electorate following Atwin’s decision to cross the ground.
“The trust that voters had put in Jenica was lost. People didn’t desire a Liberal MP, they wanted a Green MP,” Coon said.
“There’s little doubt that Nicole O’Byrne will regain that trust.”
Fredericton was a good three-way race in 2019, with Atwin taking the seat by lower than 800 votes, and the riding is predicted to be competitive once more. Atwin is predicted to run for the Liberals, while Andrea Johnson, who finished second in 2019, will run for the Conservatives. The NDP didn’t immediately reply to an email asking if a candidate had been chosen for the riding.
Donald Wright, a professor of political science on the University of Latest Brunswick, expects the riding to get numerous attention throughout the campaign.
“Can Jenica Atwin get re-elected as a Liberal, can the Greens take it back, or will the Greens and the Liberals split the consecutive vote to permit the Conservatives … to win the riding?” Wright said.
“The Liberals would dearly like to win Fredericton, because they need their majority and … it’s going to return right down to a handful of ridings and Fredericton goes to be one in all those ridings.”
But Fredericton is prone to be one in all the major targets for the Greens in addition to they hope to no less than restore the party caucus to a few.
“The Greens will try their best and take a look at to focus on ridings that they think they will win federally and put some resources in,” said Jamie Gillies, a professor of public policy and communications at St Thomas University.
“Certainly one of those could also be Fredericton.”