Ashton’s age an advantage
Niki Ashton is the youngest candidate in the federal NDP leadership race to replace Jack Layton.
However, the 29-year-old doesn’t believe her age takes anything away from her ability to lead the party.
“I’ve heard from people how exciting it is to see a young person take this on,” Ashton said.
The Manitoba MP was in the Tournament Capital on Friday, March 9, as part of a provincewide tour to gather support for her leadership campaign.
Ashton said she is proud to speak up for her generation — one she argued is being held back by the policies of Stephen Harper’s Conservative government, whether it be the high cost of education or affordable housing.
“That’s my generation that’s going to be paying the brunt of it,” she said.
The MP for Churchill, Man., suggested her message for “new politics” is the right recipe to gain support across generations and restore the orange flag in the Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo riding.
Ashton contends the Conservative government has been taking Western Canada for granted.
She said the party needs to “stand up for the economy,” noting that, under the Tories, the country has been losing value-added jobs in areas like the forest sector, along with having its say on issues relating to natural resources
“I’m seeing how we’re not being heard, a kind of arrogance that doesn’t sit well with Western Canadians,” she said.
Though Ashton admits Layton’s death last year, following a battle with cancer, left a void in the NDP, she contends the late politician would want the party to carry on.
“He would want us to keep going based on the direction he took and our principles tied to us as New Democrats,” she said.
Ashton is the sixth candidate to visit the city during the leadership race to succeed Layton.
Brian Topp was in Kamloops in October, MP Nathan Cullen visited in November, MPs Thomas Mulcair and Paul Dewar stumped in the Tournament Capital in January, while MP Peggy Nash was here in February.
The race to replace Layton began in September and will culminate in a leadership convention and vote in Toronto on March 24.