Thursday, February 23, 2012

Leadership 2012 Roundup

A quick survey of what's happened in the NDP leadership campaign over the past couple of days...

- Niki Ashton has rightly criticized other candidates' operatives who seem to be working to push her out of the race. But the behind-the-scenes maneuvering may only backfire it if gives Ashton and her supporters reason to be wary of the contenders behind it.

- Nathan Cullen's economic plan has received some media attention already. But it's well worth noting that a plan which largely mirrors Brian Topp's take in increasing the resources available for social equality may offer about the best hope possible for Cullen to earn down-ballot support - particularly compared to other candidates who are relying more on reputation than policy proposals in appealing to the NDP's base.

- Meanwhile, as the media picks up on the significance of the labour movement in the campaign, Paul Dewar's labour policy looks like the most thorough nod toward both safety and bargaining interests so far in the campaign.

- Thomas Mulcair released transit and housing plans. But perhaps more interesting than the controversial is the choice of other priorities Mulcair attached to both as defining his campaign:
Today’s announcement was one of several proposals Mulcair has made during his leadership campaign tour including a comprehensive cap and trade program to combat climate change, a plan to provide every Canadian access to a guaranteed benefit pension and a proposal to require that 50% of all appointments to the boards of Crown Corporations and government agencies be women.
- Peggy Nash unveiled one of the more interesting endorsements of the campaign - though considering the controversy surrounding the CAW's past involvement with and against the NDP, I'm somewhat surprised Nash wanted to make much of a show of Ken Lewenza's support.

- Brian Topp took questions at Rabble, including this answer how environmental revenues should be used:
In my view all revenues derived from our plan to reduce carbon emissions should remain within the environmental plan. These funds will be needed to do the job we need to do (transitioning to a much lower-carbon, much more-energy efficient and – not incidentally – a much for productive, competitive and prosperous economy). also, keeping them focused there will ensure public support for green measures. And I don’t think we want the government to become a carbon addict – dependent on revenues derived from carbon emissions which we want to radically decrease.
- Finally, Chantal Hebert questioned Brian Topp's view that the Libs can safely be ignored - which makes for a fair criticism, even if the answer isn't necessarily to try to swim a three-legged race the rest of the way. Aaron Wherry compiled the candidates' response to this week's final membership numbers. And the leadership events page is heating up - including visits to the Regina area by four candidates over the next week.


  1. Dan Tan8:19 a.m.

    As a support of Cullen's from the start (he still is my top choice FYI)...I'm kind of disappointed he chose the last possible minute to talk about something other than voting-tactics & pipelines. If he had led with this kind of stuff, he wouldn't have been sidelined as a gimmick candidate.

    Speaking of Cullen's loyalty...I'd like all New D's to pay attention to Greg's point about Cullen advocating the Krugman/Stiglitz economics that ONLY the NDP can be a vehicle for. This guy was around during the dark ages, and he's still bleeding orange...despite what his opponents say.

  2. Dan Tan11:45 a.m.

    I don't think it's Brian Topp's "time" to be leader...right now (will be in the future, for reasons I won't go into here). But boy am I glad he's running.

    Like Pavlov, he has the ability to make Liberal pets "jump". One remark was all it took to get Hebert writing an entire essay demanding the LPC be taken seriously...and the NDP not.

    Her article basically informs NDP members that their party is dead because some (undisclosed) poll she saw last week had them trending downwards. It's really that shallow.

    Of course, like most political commentators...her arguments gets invalidated the second anyone decides to employ short-term memory. Here's some "reality" about the (still, undisclosed) polls she's citing:

    1) The polls aren't uniform. When one shows a big slide, another shows NDP behind the Conservatives by only three points (see Karl Belanger for numbers). Where Quebec dips, BC & Atlantic Canada rises. ETC.

    2) There was no "slide" after the election...or even after Jack Layton's death. Go ahead, check your Lexis Nexis & archives.

    3) Any "slide" only began when the NDP front-bench disappeared from TV (Mulcair, Cullen, Dewar, Nash, Chisholm, Ashton, Saganash). That left Nicole Turmel as the face of the party...a purposely uncharismatic face that butchers the English language.

    4) The people being polled are not the ones who decide elections. Unless there's some big emergency, only dorks follow this crap...and at that, only the sexless/dateless wonders-of-the-world decide to answer polling requests.

    It will be really interesting to see her contortions once the NDP front-bench returns & an audible leader is chosen. Of course, she'll argue that any polling spike is irrelevant because elections won't happen for years to come & people aren't paying attention...

  3. jurist5:18 p.m.

    In fairness, I wouldn't dispute that the poll numbers are somewhat down now from what they were immediately post-election. But for all the reasons you point out, there's little reason to obsess over them - and much less to throw long-term calculations out the window in an effort to react to them.