FREDERICTON – New Brunswick’s New Democrats have a new leader. High-profile journalist and former union leader Rosaire L’Italien was unanimously selected by the Party’s executive at a meeting Sunday to lead the NDP until a permanent leader is chosen at convention.

“Rosaire’s experience, his passion for the job, his proven ability to articulate a progressive message – these things were all factors in the broad support he had to take on the job,” said Charles Doucet, the Party’s past president. “We are fortunate to see someone of his caliber stepping forward, and it shows the optimism that exists for our party’s future.”

Mr. L’Italien followed a distinguished journalistic career by joining the NDP after his retirement from Radio-Canada and running in the federal riding of Madawaska-Restigouche in the 2015 election, coming second and beating the incumbent Conservative cabinet minister. He immediately expressed his enthusiasm to start working to ensure the party’s message is heard.

“The NDP is the only truly inclusive party in New Brunswick,” said Mr. L’Italien. “The Liberals have excluded people on a partisan basis, running a highly political government that puts their party first. And the Conservatives have chosen to exclude people linguistically and speak to only half the province in their leadership campaign. The NDP has a vision to include everyone, together, and I will be working hard to take that message all around New Brunswick.”

Mr. L’Italien identified a few issues where he will be challenging the Gallant government, including their failure to develop a poverty reduction plan and the recent health deal with the federal government, which he said was “placing Mr. Gallant’s political debts to Dominic Leblanc ahead of the health care New Brunswickers rely upon.” And he pledged to rally the party around its core principles.

“For years the NDP has had a vision where every family has a road to the middle class, with good jobs, fair wages and a social safety net that protects every citizen so they can take risks and build their dreams. I am not asking NDP members to work for me personally. I am asking them to work beside me for this beautiful vision we all share. These principles will bring us back together.”.