Friday, January 11, 2013

On party time

Not surprisingly, I have some reservations about Kai Nagata's view that the federal Lib leadership campaign has much to offer toward the development of progressive politics in Canada. But I'll give Nagata credit for this much: he's absolutely right to make the point that we should treat active and public involvement within party structures as a positive step, not a disqualifying factor for anybody wanting to be able to speak to broader issues.

Which makes this look like one of the more interesting developments in Saskatchewan's NDP leadership campaign so far. While all of the candidates are seeking to encourage supporters to join in one form or another, Aaron Genest has set up a group dedicated to promoting membership as an end in itself rather than a means of supporting a particular leadership candidate, with the promise of at least one event to get the word out in advance of the January 25 deadline.

Naturally, the first wave of group members is made up largely of familiar faces within the NDP. But I'll be highly curious to see how far the group can extend beyond that circle. And it could be that a message of general inclusion rather than candidate positioning could make an important difference in the future of both the leadership campaign, and the building of the party.

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