Veteran NDP MLA Lenore Zann is seeking the federal Liberal nomination to run as their candidate for Cumberland-Colchester in the October election.
Zann launched her "next step," bid in Bible Hill Sunday by calling for a renewed fight against politicians stirring up fear of minorities and immigrants, as well as a shift away from fossil fuels towards renewable energy as part of a ‘Green New Deal’.
“My Canada is a just, compassionate, welcoming place where we work together to face our biggest challenges and prevent the rising tides not only brought about by climate change, but by racism, bigotry and intolerance,” said Zann, speaking at a party held to celebrate her 10 years as an MLA for Truro-Bible Hill-Millbrook-Salmon River.
Speaking on women’s rights, Zann promised to campaign for survivors of sexual and domestic violence, as well as human trafficking. She wanted the federal government to protect the LGBTQ community in rural Nova Scotia, as well as abortion rights.
“Government and religious groups – hands off,” said Zann. “My body is my own.”
Zann is pushing for a national pharmacare plan to help patients deal with high drug prices, as well as a Canada-wide strategy to support people living with mental illness and addictions.
She is also backing a universal basic income to lift people out of poverty, which was briefly trialed in Ontario before the Progressive Conservative government ended the program.
She said drug costs and increasing student fees, both in northern Nova Scotia and across Canada, are contributing to rising inequality.
This, together with Conservative threats to cut funding for the CBC, has Zann worried.
“I don’t want Canada to become like the United States and I don’t want to see Andrew Scheer become prime minister – no way, Jose,” she said. “That’s my greatest fear.”
Zann announced her bid for the federal nomination six months after she was approached by both the federal Liberals and NDP to run as an MP.
Now that she is officially in the running, Zann is leaving the Nova Scotia NDP and will sit in the provincial legislature as an independent MLA.
Zann and her supporters say a nomination race will be held by the Liberals’ local branch likely in mid-July.
She is running under the slogan ‘Yes We Zann’, a play on Barack Obama’s motto in the 2008 US presidential campaign.
If she is elected to parliament, Zann will replace outgoing Liberal MP Bill Casey, who will not be running for re-election, 31 years after he was first elected in 1988 as a Progressive Conservative.
Liberal Dianne Brushett, who defeated Casey in 1993 and served one term, is the only woman to have served as an MP in the riding.