New Democrats in the Sudbury riding will not be voting on their candidate for the next federal election this evening as scheduled. The sudden departure of one of the two candidates means Dr. Nadia Verrelli will be acclaimed.
Local NDPers were to gather via videoconference June 22 to pick their candidate.
Two people were contesting the nomination. Dr. Nadia Verrelli is a professor of Canadian politics, a constitutional scholar and researcher with the Queens University Institute for Intergovernmental Relations, and former Laurentian University professor. Beth Mairs is a local activist and operator of Sudbury Indie Cinema, and was the federal NDP candidate in 2019, losing by 12 percentage points to winner Paul Lefebvre.
The Sudbury NDP Riding Association said Mairs informed them “on the eve of the nomination vote” that she had to drop out of the race in order to care for her ailing mother.
Verrelli thanked Mairs for her service.
“Beth has passed the torch on to me,” said Verrelli in a news release. “We all send our thanks for her service, and for her trust in me and our team to win!”
In a news release, the riding association characterized the eight-week campaign as “intense,” saying Verrelli earned endorsements from “party elders”, activists, youth and labour.
“Heavily critical of the current Liberal government, Verrelli took issue with local MPs inaction in the face of the Laurentian University crisis,” the association said. “She also took aim at the Liberals' vacillation on universal pharmacare. As someone who went through her early career without drug benefits and with a diagnosis of a chronic illness, Verrelli understands the ‘immoral choice’ between medication and food too many Sudburians have to make.”
Despite the acclimation, the nomination meeting, which is only open to the 300 or so card-carrying Sudbury NDP members, is going ahead with guest appearances from MP Carol Hughes (Algoma Manitoulin Kapuskasing), MP Charlie Angus (Timmins-James Bay), MPP France Gélinas (Nickel Belt) and Sudbury's own MPP Jamie West.