Sunday, June 15, 2008

On promising choices

The Pundits' Guide is back up and running with updates on candidate nominations. And the NDP's latest nomination - that of Richard Marois in Saint Lambert - looks like a positive sign for a few reasons.

First, as Pundits' Guide notes, Marois is merely the latest addition to a group of NDP candidates with extremely impressive environmental credentials. While it's enough of a plus just to have another strong voice on the issue, though, the timing is particularly significant.

After all, the Red Greens have spent the bulk of the past couple of weeks pretending that the NDP's recognition that a carbon tax isn't the only way to combat greenhouse gas emissions should affect its standing among environmentally-inclined voters. And there's little indication that they'll stop the mantra anytime soon. But Marois' addition to an already-strong slate of candidates offers a clear signal that those most concerned with the environment recognize that the NDP not only a viable option, but still the best choice to get their message out.

Second, the linked article from Point Sud notes that Marois was approached by "other political parties", but rejected both those advances and his own past involvement with the Bloc in order to run for the NDP.

From the wording of the article, it's not clear whether the Bloc itself was one of the parties which approached Marois. (That would make for a particularly striking choice, as Marois would then have chosen the NDP over a party which won the seat by over 20% in 2006.)

However, it does seem beyond doubt that multiple other parties tried to recruit Marois as well. And the NDP's success in bringing another sought-after figure into the fold can only bode well for its efforts in persuading both other star candidates, and ultimately voters.

Finally, there's Marois' own statement of why he chose the NDP over the competing parties:
(I)l a affirmé avoir fait son choix et considère que le seul moyen pour le Québec d'affaiblir les Conservateurs est de voter pour un parti qui peut aspirer au pouvoir.
While the message of needing to oppose the Cons is obviously one which the NDP will be looking to push in the province, it's especially interesting that Marois mentions the NDP's aspirations to form government as a specific reason to prefer it over other alternatives. And the more candidates decide that the NDP's potential to win power in the future is in fact a point in its favour, the more difficult it will be for other parties and the media alike to pretend Canadians don't have any choice beyond Harper's Cons and the party which has propped them up.

Of course, there's only so much that an individual candidate can do beyond a party's base level of support and degree of organization at the riding level. And while the NDP has obviously made strides in those areas as well, it remains to be seen whether it will be enough to win significantly more seats. But Marois' addition to the slate of candidates offers yet another indication that the NDP is gaining momentum.

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