Furlong may bid to be NDP boss

Alex Furlong, president of the Yukon Federation of Labour, is considering a run at the Yukon New Democratic Party's leadership.

Alex Furlong, president of the Yukon Federation of Labour, is considering a run at the Yukon New Democratic Party’s leadership.

He’ll mull his options while visiting family in Newfoundland over the next month and a half, and announce his intentions in late August.

Currently, the race to the leadership convention on September 26 remains a one-man contest. Steve Cardiff, MLA for Mount Lorne, is the only candidate.

The leadership convention’s outcome ought to help determine whether the party rises again or sinks further into the tar pits in which it’s currently stuck.

Long gone are the days when the NDP ruled the territory with the majority governments of Tony Penikett and Piers McDonald.

After a series of defections, the party has shrunk to two elected members, and one of them, leader Todd Hardy, announced in February he would step down after his fight with leukemia took a turn for the worse.

Shortly afterwards, Cardiff announced he’d run for the leadership. Five months later, no one has publicly challenged Cardiff, a sheet-metal worker who was first elected in 2002.

Furlong already enjoys name recognition in the territory, having served as Yukon’s labour boss since 2003. But it’s not clear whether he could draw votes beyond the party’s core union support.

The same objection, of course, could be made of Cardiff, which makes one wonder if there’s much left in the party to rejuvenate.

And Furlong may not even want the job. It’s not the only one he is eyeing: he’s also considering taking a run at the next federal election as an NDP candidate.

Or he may pass on public life and instead focus on raising his young family. He has three kids, aged seven, 11 and 14.

With NDP support having bottomed out, it could be the perfect time for an ambitious newcomer to seize control of the party. Currently there are only about 200 paid members to woo in the organization.

But for now, it remains unclear whether anyone wants the crown other than Cardiff.

Contact John Thompson at

johnt@yukon-news.com.

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