HALIFAX (March 14, 2012): The preferential voting system being used for advance voting in the New Democrat leadership election allows voters to rank the candidates in order of preference. In each round of voting, the candidate with the fewest votes drops off the ballot and the votes of the people who voted for that candidate are redistributed to their next highest-ranked candidates. This process continues until a candidate gets over 50% of the votes. This same voting system is used for state and federal elections in Australia, and it is standard practice there for candidates to make recommendations to their supporters on second and subsequent choices.

I take my responsibility to recommend or not recommend a second choice to my supporters very seriously. I am running to win, so the temptation is to focus exclusively on my own campaign, but I also feel that I have a responsibility to indicate to my supporters who I think is the next best choice after me. I have settled on recommending Thomas Mulcair as my second choice. I will be communicating this recommendation to my supporters but, of course, everyone’s second choice is their own decision.

Brian Topp’s recent insinuation that I have been coordinating my campaign with Mr Mulcair’s is completely false. It is insulting and demeaning to my supporters and me. I am running to win, which means my first priority is to defeat Mr Mulcair, Mr Topp and the other four candidates. Second choice is second choice.

I am disappointed in Mr Topp for demeaning the effort and sacrifice that my supporters and I have put into this campaign by insinuating, through a campaign spokesman, that I had ulterior motives for criticizing him in recent debates. I was harsh with Mr Topp in the March 4 debate in Montreal because I was dismayed that he did not tell the truth about his tax policy when I challenged him on the harm it would do to charities in an earlier French debate, on February 12 in Quebec. This is an important issue to me as someone who serves on the boards of the Canadian Sexual Health Federation, the Halifax Sexual Health Centre, the Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia and the National Youth Orchestra of Canada. I raised this issue in consecutive debates because, in addition to being dismayed that Mr Topp did not tell the truth the first time, I disagree with his policy and was further dismayed by his portrayal of opponents like me who disagree with him as un-New Democrat.

I am proud to have focused my campaign on my three policy priorities, entrepreneurship, the environment and a national pharmacare program, and to have recruited thousands of new members to the New Democratic Party through my efforts. Based on this, and the phenomenal response to my policy proposals from New Democrats who were already party members when the leadership election began, I feel that I am in a strong position to win on March 24th.

For more information or to schedule an interview with Martin Singh, please email Martin Singh Campaign Director Wally Stephen at


MARTIN SINGH: Mr. Topp, many charitable organizations in Canada depend for their survival on gifts of mature stocks and mutual funds. These gifts are made possible by the capital gains exemption that your tax policy proposes to eliminate. Is it your intention to deprive charities of this vital source of revenue, or is your fiscal policy just poorly thought out?

BRIAN TOPP: Martin, my friend, I invite you to do something you clearly haven’t done, and that is read my plan. If you do this, if you look at it, you will see that we retain the exemptions like, for example, those you just discussed…