Thursday, May 16, 2013

New column day

Here, on how a narrow focus on pursuing a seemingly safe path to a bare majority government may have contributed to the B.C. NDP's stunning election defeat this week.

Needless to say, there's no lack of other commentary on the election, with Alice Funke, Sixth Estate, Michael Stewart, Paul Ramsey and Thomas Walkom all reaching conclusions relatively similar to my own. And while not a lot of observers can claim to have identified the problem in B.C., Dan Tan and Leftdog look to have earned at least partial credit.

[Update: Let's add David Climenhaga's take to the mix.]

But I will take issue with Chantal Hebert's theory as to the effect of the B.C. election on federal politics. While the NDP surely wants to build its reputation as a governing party, I don't see the provincial election as substantially weakening the case for federal office in 2015 - and indeed voter remorse under another term of Christy Clark may well play to the party's advantage.


  1. Greg,

    As I have long warned you, Chantal Hebert is a Liberal. This is not the first time she has attempted to "bury" the federal NDP:

    In this case, the motivation for her Liberal "hasbara" is obvious. There is only one federal leader who is analogous to Adrian Dix...and that is the "popular", "positive", & "inevitable" Justin Trudeau.

    I will spare you a comparison of their advertisements, because I do not wish the experienced & capable Dix to be *too* associated with that dim-witted spawn of "Dubya" & "Mama Grizzly".


    The real story is that the B.C. result actually settles a schism within federal NDP culture. You and I, Greg, have quietly discussed this before.

    The disagreement between Brian Topp & Thomas Mulcair was never ideological:

    Brian Topp believed that he held the marketing solution for the party. Thomas Mulcair held a different conception of the imagery & rhetoric required to secure federal power.

    Topp was not content with such a divergence & Mulcair's impending victory. So he denied Mulcair the ability to lay any claim to the imagery of the "Layton Legacy":

    Topp was successful in this endeavour. Rather than being viewed as a trustworthy heir - many within the membership came to view Mulcair as a wild maverick who would be "tolerated".

    Justin Trudeau's "parental supervisors" noted this schism, and are currently attempting to appropriate Topp's strategies & the "Layton Legacy" for their own corrupt ends:


    But no matter, thanks to the B.C. results. They have essentially settled this schism.

    Brian Topp was given an unfettered opportunity to preview his aforementioned marketing solution. It failed dismally.

    That does not mean that Topp himself is a failure. To the contrary, he is extremely talented - when he is set on the *attack*. For the longest time, he has been distracted with fanciful misconceptions about the electorate. But no longer.

    If Mulcair is wise, he will recognize this massive offensive potential. If Brian Topp is humble, he will quietly apologize for his conduct during the leadership contest & promise to turn such potent negative energy towards the Conservatives & Liberals.

    Rather than indulging in mythology about the infallible "Layton team"...we will now come to recognize that there is only one "NDP TEAM".

    One Love,
    Dan Tan

  2. Mr. Tan, I'm a little unclear on what you consider the two marketing strategies to be. I might agree to some extent, or not, but I'd need to know that basic underpinning before I can tell. Topp's attitude during his leadership run doesn't seem on the surface very close to Dix's approach during his campaign, so that doesn't give me much of a hint.

    I do certainly agree with Mr. Fingas' column.

  3. Indeed, of the various leadership contenders in the federal NDP race, Dix's approach might be considered closest neither to Topp nor Mulcair but rather echoing Cullen, in trying to be somewhat "post-ideological".

  4. PLG,

    To be "clear", you must differentiate between their conduct during a personal leadership campaign - and their intentions for a future federal campaign.

    Yes, Topp was personally willing to "do what had to be done" against Mulcair. But, IMO, he had every intention of extending the flawed & oblivious federal campaign strategy crafted during the Layton years (previewed during this recent B.C. NDP campaign).

    Yes, Mulcair personally restrained himself against Topp. But, he has sent sometimes-subtle/sometimes-clear signals that he will not be constrained by some of our "habits" from the past. You, PLG, and others have occasionally mistaken this "attitude" for ideological treachery. Rather, IMO, it is merely Mulcair's way of signalling that he will encourage & cultivate alternate strategies/strategists - in preparation for an aggressive future federal campaign.

    That is not to say that Mulcair has always held some "magic formula". Rather, it means that under Mulcair's leadership - we stand a better chance of "innovating", "adapting", & appreciating the "fundamentals" (which I summarized yesterday).

    Forgive my vagueness, as I know you were seeking a specific conception of a Mulcair-led future federal campaign. I have some ideas, based on my personal evaluation of party resources & the "hints" that have been dropped. But I do not wish to share them, knowing our opponents frequent these enlightening forums.

    Hope that makes things less blurry,
    Dan Tan

    1. PLG,


      I am likely decades younger than you - and hence, undeserving of the "Mr." title. But look how far we've come from that time you considered me an "annoying/Liberal/asshole"!.

      I took particular exception to "Liberal",
      Dan Tan