NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh loses chief of staff for ‘personal reasons’

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OTTAWA — The chief of staff to NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh has resigned — a departure that comes at a particularly challenging time for a party struggling with poor morale and slumping fundraising a year away from an election.

A statement issued late Thursday by NDP parliamentary leader Guy Caron says Willy Blomme is leaving for “personal reasons,” adding the party is grateful that Blomme offered to help find a new chief of staff.

She will stay on in the transition, the statement added.

“I spoke with our party Leader Jagmeet Singh and we agree that Dr. Blomme has made an enormous contribution since assuming her role in January 2018,” Caron wrote.

“She has built a strong new team and set a course that will ensure that the NDP can offer real solutions for Canadians who need and want more from their government.”

Blomme brought with her a doctorate from Johns Hopkins University, experience managing the leadership campaign of Montreal mayor Valerie Plante and skills she harnessed as the Broadbent Institute’s director for Quebec.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh also thanked Blomme on his Twitter account, saying words can’t express his gratitude for her work.

“Willy is brilliant, selfless and determined to make a positive difference in people’s lives,” Singh said.

“Thank you Willy for everything you’ve done for our party and our movement.”

The NDP will now have to turn its attention to replacing Singh’s right-hand adviser amid questions about his leadership and the party’s future, particularly in Quebec — the province where Jack Layton saw historic gains for the party in 2011.

Singh previously said one of Blomme’s strengths is know-how in navigating Quebec’s political scene.

“I want to just celebrate that she is so good,” Singh said in an interview last November.

“Age is not a barrier, gender is not a barrier and I really want to … highlight how for me it is important to have positions of influence and power in the party and in my team that are occupied by talented people and particularly by women.”

— Follow @kkirkup on Twitter

Kristy Kirkup, The Canadian Press

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