03/24/2013 09:34 EDT | Updated 05/24/2013 05:12 EDT

NDP picks Harry Borlase as candidate for coming Labrador byelection

The New Democrats have chosen a northern analyst to carry the party banner in the coming Labrador byelection, rejecting a suggestion the party sit this one out.

Harry Borlase was picked in an online vote Sunday for the byelection, which has yet to be called.

Borlase said in a statement that he was looking forward to the chance to work with the federal New Democrats.

"We can build a strong sustainable environment and economy for Labrador,” he said.

"I look forward to working to bring investment in economic diversification to grow Labrador's small business sector while at the same time promoting responsible environmental management and supporting local leadership and Aboriginal governance.”

Borlase was raised in Nain and Happy Valley-Goose Bay, and has worked on northern issues all his life.

He obtained a bachelor's degree in political science and Canadian studies from Mount Allison University and completed an MA in polar law in Iceland before returning to Newfoundland and Labrador to work for Memorial University on a climate change project focused on Labrador. Most recently he has been working as a northern analyst at C-CORE.

The Labrador seat became vacant when former Conservative cabinet minister Peter Penashue quit this month after Elections Canada found his election campaign had accepted 28 different ineligible donations. He plans to run in the byelection.

Green Leader Elizabeth May says her party will not run a candidate and urged the NDP to follow suit to give the Liberal candidate a better chance. In 2011, Liberal Todd Russell lost to Penashue by 79 votes.

But NDP national director Nathan Rotman said voters should make the call.

”If someone should stand down in this byelection it is Peter Penashue while Elections Canada completes its investigation,” Rotman said in an email.

"The NDP respects the right of Canadians to make a democratic choice — and will ensure they have an opportunity to vote NDP, if they so choose."