Sunday, February 26, 2012

Three questions

Plenty of others have already discussed the factors they'll be taking into account in evaluating the NDP's leadership candidates as the campaign progresses. But as we approach the point where members will be casting ballots which will ultimately determine the outcome of the race, I'll set out my three basic questions in approaching each candidate (which I'll then use to evaluate each contender before making an endorsement).

1. What direction will he/she set for the NDP?

This question encompasses a variety of considerations including underlying values, specific policies and organizational strategies. The leader of the opposition (and hopefully Prime Minister to be) figures to have more ability than all but a few other people to set the tone for Canadian political activity over the years to come - and the most basic question for any leadership candidate is whether members actually agree with the goals and priorities that candidate will set if elected to the leadership.

2. How will he/she respond when pushed off course?

But then, the political scene doesn't allow any single leader to completely dictate the course of events. And so I'd consider it similarly important that a leadership candidate possess both the right values to apply in addressing the unexpected, and strong enough political instincts to avoid getting caught off guard.

3. How do the candidate's personal traits affect his/her ability to reach the destination implied by the answer to question 1?

Finally, there's the question of how a candidate's personality, organizational style and other personal traits affect the likelihood of being seen positively enough by the general public to be able to reach his or her goals - as the most noble of ends won't do much to help the NDP or the country if a leader can't connect enough with Canadians to advance them.

Again, I'll be examining each of the candidates through the above lens in determining how I'll be voting. And I'll encourage other NDP members to do the same - even if the result is to reach different conclusions than I do.

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