The federal NDP is making changes to its senior leadership in preparation for the next election.
Anne McGrath, the long-serving New Democratic Party national chairman, is stepping down from her top job. Mr McGrath will now serve as principal secretary to House of Representatives leader Jagmeet Singh.
McGrath will play a “greater role in overseeing” the progress of the NDP’s Supply and Confidence Agreement with the Liberals, according to a news release from the party. In March 2022, an agreement between the NDP and the Liberals promised that the Liberals would deliver on the New Democratic Party’s key demands in exchange for support for key parts of the Liberal bill.
The deal, which expires in 2025, still has some accomplishments to make, including passing legislation that could provide drug coverage to more Canadians and lay the groundwork for expanding so-called pharmacare.
The NDP national director is the party’s CEO and operates from the party’s headquarters, the Jack Layton Building, in downtown Ottawa. They also oversee the NDP’s fundraising, staff recruitment, and strategic planning.
This role also involves building and maintaining internal and external relationships with the party’s federal executive and councils, regional political parties, workers and youth organizations.
The national director also works closely with NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh and his 24 MPs, frequently attending the party’s weekly caucus meetings on Parliament Hill.
Taking over Mr McGrath’s role as national director is party stalwart Lucy Watson.
Watson rose through the ranks of the Canadian Federation of Students, the largest student organization. She has also held various senior positions in the British Columbia, Ontario and federal NDPs.
An NDP statement said the changes were necessary to “build momentum for the next election.” He also hinted that the next election would be a binary choice between the NDP and the Conservatives.
“Anne McGrath and Lucy Watson have the experience and dedication needed to take on Poilievre’s gutsy Conservatives and an unruly Liberal government,” Singh said.
”[Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre] It’s not the answer to the frustration and disappointment people feel [Prime Minister] Justin Trudeau, and clearly he has no interest in helping families during this difficult time. ”