The federal NDP is making leadership changes within its top brass to prepare for the next election.
Lucy Watson takes over as the NDP’s new national director
David Thurton · CBC News
· Posted: Jan 15, 2024 10:01 AM EST | Last Updated: January 15
Anne McGrath, national director of the New Democratic Party, speaks at the NDP convention in Hamilton, Ont., on Oct. 13, 2023. (Peter Power/The Canadian Press)The federal NDP is making leadership changes within its top brass to prepare for the next election.
Long-time New Democratic national director Anne McGrath is stepping down as the party’s top boss. McGrath will now serve as principal secretary to the party’s leader in the House of Commons, Jagmeet Singh.
According to a news release from the party, McGrath will play “a larger role in overseeing” progress on the NDP’s supply-and-confidence agreement with the Liberals. In March 2022, the NDP-Liberal deal committed the Liberals to deliver on key demands from New Democrats in return for support for key pieces of Liberal legislation.
That deal, set to expire in 2025, still has deliverables, including passing legislation that could lay the groundwork for extending drug coverage to more Canadians or what’s known as pharmacare.
The NDP national director is the CEO of the party and its operations at the party’s headquarters — the Jack Layton Building in downtown Ottawa. They also oversee the NDP’s fundraising, staff hiring and strategic planning.
The role is also about building and maintaining relationships inside and outside the party with the party’s federal executive and council, provincial parties, labour and the youth wing.
The national director also works closely with NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh and his 24 MPs, often attending weekly caucus meetings on Parliament Hill.
Taking over McGrath’s national director role will be party stalwart Lucy Watson.
Lucy Watson is the new national director of the NDP. (Submitted by the NDP)Watson rose through the ranks of the largest student organization, the Canadian Federation of Students. She has also served in various senior roles with the British Columbia, Ontario and the federal NDP.
A statement from the NDP framed staffing changes as necessary for “building momentum for the next election.” It also suggested the next election as a two-way race between the NDP and the Conservatives.
“Anne McGrath and Lucy Watson have the experience and commitment we need to take on the Poilievre gut-and-cut Conservatives and an out-of-touch Liberal government,” Singh said.
“[Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre] isn’t the answer to the frustration and disappointment people are feeling toward [Prime Minister] Justin Trudeau, and clearly, he’s not interested in helping families in these difficult times.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
David Thurton is a senior reporter in CBC’s Parliamentary Bureau. He covers daily politics in the nation’s capital and specializes in environment and energy policy. Born in Canada but raised in Trinidad and Tobago, he’s moved around more times than he can count. He’s worked for CBC in several provinces and territories, including Alberta and the Northwest Territories. He can be reached at email@example.com