Tuesday, February 21, 2012

On universal growth

Alice has weighed in on the final membership numbers for the NDP's leadership campaign, pointing out that B.C. and Ontario between them will go into next month with a combined majority of the party's membership. But I'll add one more observation as to the provincial membership numbers which speaks well for the NDP's growth as a federal party.

Keep in mind that B.C. and Ontario - along with Saskatchewan and Manitoba - saw contested provincial NDP leadership races in the past few years. And so there may have been reason to think the party and its provincial leadership competitors might have already exhausted any potential growth - particularly in the western provinces where it's either in government or the obvious main challenger.

Likewise, Nova Scotia elected an NDP provincial government in 2009, and could have been expected to have little room left to grow.

But none of the provinces which seemed like they might have hit a ceiling did anything of the sort. In fact, every single province saw at least double-digit growth in the course of the federal leadership campaign: Ontario led the way in total numbers while ranking 4th in percentage; Nova Scotia ranked 3rd in percentage by nearly tripling its; B.C. added another 8,000 members above those who participated in last year's provincial race; and even Saskatchewan and Manitoba saw impressive boosts to hold onto most of their provincial weight.

If there's anything slightly disappointing in the final tally, it's that Quebec's membership growth was somewhat lower than I would have hoped. But on the balance, there's every reason to be satisfied that the NDP's leadership contenders have managed to find room to grow in every Canadian province - and excited about the prospect of continuing to build in the years to come.


  1. Dan Tan12:44 a.m.

    That Ontario number was pretty surprising to me...in a good way.

    Last election, we were the ones who ended up handing Harper his majority...not because we voted for him...but because we didn't believe the rest of Canada was surging towards the NDP.

    It was such a bizzare atmosphere, big unions were telling their members to vote Liberal because they refused to believe the polls. In my own riding, and tons of others, Conservatives won what they had no business winning...because the Libs & NDP split the vote.

    I hope these numbers are a reflection of Ontario finally getting that...at least on the federal scene...we have to get with the rest of Canada and accept the NDP as the alternative.

    On a sidenote, I'm really loving the imagery of BC being the western wing of the party & Ontario being the eastern wing. If the praries have decided to throw their lot in with the Albertans, it's Ontario & BC that serve as a powerful counter-weight to Alberta's petro-fuelled dominance.

  2. Purple Library Guy1:47 a.m.

    Well, you know, the absolute Quebec numbers aren't that huge I guess.  But still, multiplying your membership by eight or so is I think not a bad showing.