Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is “not fit to lead,” says the latest contender hoping to lead the federal New Democratic Party.
Former veterans ombudsman Pat Stogran, who battled fiercely with the Harper government over care for former soldiers, announced his intention Thursday to seek the NDP leadership.
The retired Canadian Armed Forces colonel made the announcement at a hotel in Ottawa in front of a podium emblazoned with the statement “fighting the good fight.”
“In the past couple of years, I’ve seen and spoke with many people who have been disadvantaged, ignored, and abused by the former government, who found hope in big promises about sunny ways, of a political party that promised to be different from the last guys,” said Stogran at his announcement.
“Here it is, 18 months later, and I’ll ask you the question: How’s that working for you?”
Stogran said he was seeking the nomination “not as an opportunity to become a politician” but that he was worried about a “distinct lack of leadership” in the “senior echelons of government.”
“I believe that leadership is defined by a vision and the ability to inspire others to follow that vision,” he said.
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While Stogran is registered as a candidate with Elections Canada, he has not yet filed paperwork confirming his nomination with the NDP, party spokesman Guillaume Francoeur confirmed with National Observer.
That includes a non-refundable registration fee of $30,000, as well as a list of 500 signatures of NDP members in good standing, according to the party's leadership rules.
Stogran’s campaign has told other media outlets he expects to raise the money and obtain signatures by the time the party holds its next debate May 28 in Sudbury.
Stogran will be up against NDP MPs Niki Ashton, Peter Julian, Guy Caron and Charlie Angus.
Ibrahim Bruno El-Khoury, the founder of a Montreal consulting firm, has also registered, but still needs to submit nomination paperwork and a registration fee, Francoeur confirmed.
A court settlement also clears the way for the NDP to reconsider the bid of a Toronto man who took the party to court after it rejected his application late last year.
Brian Graff had argued that the party unfairly blocked his entry into the race with no reasons or explanation.
A statement Tuesday says key to the settlement was a commitment by the party to take another look at Graff's application.
The race to replace Tom Mulcair at the helm of the NDP ends in October.
Stogran had been teasing a run at the NDP leadership, telling CBC News in March that he was considering jumping in.
“I’ve been known to speak my mind from time to time, or so I’ve been told,” he said at his announcement Thursday.
He once said publicly that "deputy ministers make more on average in one year than a person who loses two legs in Afghanistan can expect to be paid out for the rest of their life.”
"Figure that one out."
With files from The Canadian Press