FREDERICTON – A member of the Progressive Conservative caucus in New Brunswick is going to seek an NDP nomination in September’s provincial election.
Bev Harrison represents Hampton-Kings as a Conservative MLA in the legislature but will seek the NDP nomination in the new riding of Hampton.
“I see a new NDP that has matured. It’s not the old party. It’s a party that has modernized, become more realistic and is offering real solutions,” he told reporters Friday.
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In early May, the 72-year-old announced he was retiring, but his statement only said he would not seek re-election in his riding of Hampton-Kings.
Harrison was first elected as a Progressive Conservative member of the legislature in 1978 and has been reelected six times since.
He’s been sitting as a Conservative consecutively since 1999 and was the legislature’s Speaker for two terms.
He was defeated in 1987 when the Liberals won every seat in the house under then premier Frank McKenna, but was re-elected in 1999 and in every election since.
In 2009, Harrison was active in trying to revitalize the Conservative Party’s youth membership. Now he says the party is a ‘top-down management’ sort of government.
“David Alward is a very decent guy. He’s concerned of others, pleasant to talk to, he’s always concerned when people have a difficulty they weren’t expecting. And for that, he deserves all the respect anyone can give,” Harrison said of the current premier.
Leader of the NDP Dominic Cardy said he’s “honoured to welcome Harrison to the NDP.”
“Clearly, someone with Bev’s experience comes in with an advantage in any nomination,” he said.
PC Party president Jason Stephen said they never want to see someone leave the party. But he said the party wants fair nominations in every riding, and therefore could not ‘simply hand Harrison the nomination.’