The NDP has recruited a former leader of the Green Party of Quebec to run for them against a former New Democrat MP who defected to the Greens.
Éric Ferland will run in the riding of Longueuil-Saint-Hubert to unseat Pierre Nantel, who left Jagmeet Singh’s NDP party to join Elizabeth May’s Greens.
The tit-for-tat move comes as Green support in opinion polls has swept to near-parity with the New Democrats, as the parties compete for eco-friendly votes on the left.
Nantel was first elected to the House of Commons in the NDP “Orange Wave” of 2011 and held it by a narrow margin in 2015.
Nantel left NDP in August after flirting with Greens
He was ousted from the NDP in August after the party learned he was talking to the Greens about switching parties. He briefly sat as an independent.
When he joined the Greens, he said May was the only leader willing to tackle the climate change challenge.
However, Nantel caused May to face some awkward questions last week when he declared Quebec should become independent “as fast as possible.” When May said he wasn’t a separatist, and that she wouldn’t allow candidates that advocating breaking up the country to run for her party, Nantel told reporters “of course I’m a sovereignist.”
Earlier in September, some former New Brunswick provincial NDP candidates and members issued a statement and held a press conference to announce they were joining the Greens and supporting the federal Green party.
However, some of those named in the statement said they had not agreed to the move. The controversy touched off an exchange of accusations between the parties.
Ferland led the Quebec Greens from 1994 to 1996. He ran unsuccessfully for the federal Green Party in a 1995 byelection and was later elected as a town councillor in Frelighsburg, Que. He also founded his own green technology company, Ecosphere, with the aim of helping communities reduce their environmental footprint.
Singh will make the official announcement of Ferland’s candidacy Monday at an event in the riding.