Manitoba MP Niki Ashton becomes latest to seek NDP leadership

Posted Nov 7, 2011 by Andrew Reeves
Manitoba MP Niki Ashton is the latest contender in the campaign to replace the late Jack Layton for leadership of the federal New Democratic Party.
Manitoba NDP MP Niki Ashton speaking in the House of Commons.
Manitoba NDP MP Niki Ashton speaking in the House of Commons.
Niki Ashton - NDP
NDP MP Niki Ashton is the latest contender in the NDP leadership race to replace the late Jack Layton. And at 29, she is now the youngest candidate running.
"Today I am asking for your support to be the next leader of the NDP and the next prime minister," Ashton told the gathered crowd in Montreal, as reported by the CBC.
Ashton flowed effortlessly between French and English as she explained that the "old style politics" that so characterize the manner in which Stephen Harper governs Canada are quickly losing appeal among average Canadians.
“For Canada today Stephen Harper’s politics are old politics," Ashton argued in the Globe and Mail." Stephen Harper seeks political division as a deliberate tactic,” she said, "attempt[ing] to divide people by region, by background, by sexual orientation or anything else to get their votes.”
She added that old politics “imposes economic and social divisions” on all Canadians. New politics, however, especially the kind espoused by Jack Layton's message of hope after his passing this past August, “brings Canadians together,” she said in the Globe.
Ashton, a native of Thompson, Manitoba, is the second-term MP for Churchill, and the youngest elected female candidate ever at the time when she joined the House of Commons in 2008. She is also only the second female in the leadership race, along with Toronto's Parkdale-High Park MP Peggy Nash.
But asked if her young age would be an obstacle to her being elected the latest NDP leader, Ashton was unfazed.
"I am part of the Jack Layton generation," she told CTV.
"Today, there are many young MPs, many women, many people of different backgrounds that join us there. Together we have broken down barriers."
Ashton argues that her youth is an asset in the campaign, believing that a "fresh perspective might benefit Canadian politics."
"Think new," she told CTV. "New politics."
Ashton will join the other eight candidates on the campaign trail starting in Calgary, Alberta, where she plans to kick-start her cross country tour. The convention to decide the next leader of the New Democrats will be held in Toronto in March, 2012.