Sunday, 25 March 2012

Thoughts from an Unhappy Post-Partisan

A few thoughts on the NDP leadership.

First, Aaron Wherry offers us an opportunity to compare and contrast.

From Bob Rae:
“I want to offer my warm congratulations to Thomas Mulcair on winning the leadership contest in the New Democratic Party.  I know Mr. Mulcair well and look forward to working with him to ensure Parliament acts on behalf of all Canadians.

“I also want to congratulate the NDP for a successful leadership convention, particularly in opening up the selection process to Canadians across the country.

“I also want to salute Mme Nycole Turmel for the integrity she showed as Interim Leader of the NDP. Her grace was apparent as she courageously carried out her duties admirably in the wake of the tragic passing of Jack Layton.”

From the Contempt Party:
Today in Toronto, the NDP have chosen Thomas Mulcair to push their agenda of high taxes, high spending and less economic growth. Thomas Mulcair is an opportunist whose high tax agenda, blind ambition, and divisive personality would put Canadian families and their jobs at risk. Mulcair has said he would bring back a risky, job-killing carbon tax which would raise the price of everything – even though Canadians overwhelmingly rejected carbon taxes. Canadians can’t afford Mulcair’s dangerous economic experiments.

Also, Thomas Mulcair has vowed to bring back the wasteful and ineffective long gun registry, and his soft on crime positions would take Canada back to policies that put the rights of criminals ahead of those of victims. 

Canadians gave our government a strong mandate to create jobs and economic growth. For hard-working Canadian families looking for a government that will put them first, it is clear that the only choice is Stephen Harper’s Conservative government.

I am not a Dipper, but of all the contenders, I have to say Mulcair was my last choice.

Consider his position on marijuana.

Earlier in the campaign:
I also support the party’s existing policy on further decriminalising the possession of marijuana for any use with the goal to eliminate the influence of organised crime on the production and distribution of marijuana.

Later, asked again about decriminalization:
No. I think that that would be a mistake because the information we have right now is that the marijuana that’s on the market is extremely potent and can actually cause mental illness.

Mental illness? Seriously?

On the environment.
[Dewar] would also ban bulk water exports and took Thomas Mulcair to task on the issue for comments he made in support of such exports in 2004 as a Quebec Liberal environment minister.

OK, he may have changed his mind about that, but I'd like to hear him say so.

Now a really troublesome matter. Israel.
Independent Jewish Voices (Canada) has launched a video to challenge Thomas Mulcair's positions on Israel and Palestine. According to IJV, Mr. Mulcair's leadership campaign represents an electoral coalition with Canada's Israel Lobby.

Lorne Nystrom, the national co-chair of Mr. Mulcair's leadership campaign and a former long-time NDP MP, is likely familiar to many who follow federal politics. However, many NDP members may not be aware that Nystrom currently sits on the board of this country's major pro-Israel lobby group, which actively campaigns in support of the Israeli government's inhumane and repressive policies towards Palestinian and other non-Jewish citizens.

Finally, on cooperating with other parties to beat the fucking CONs:
One thing Mulcair is clear on is that he’ll go after Liberal supporters, but won’t work with the rival party.

“N.O.,” he told HuffPost. The NDP tried to form a coalition with the Liberals in 2008 and then the Grits “lifted their noses up on it,” Mulcair said.

The coalition experience taught Mulcair everything he needs to know about the Liberals. They’re untrustworthy and he said he’ll never work with them again, whether in a formal or informal coalition.

“The no is categorical, absolute, irrefutable and non-negotiable. It’s no. End of story. Full stop,” he said.

End of story? CON majorities for the foreseeable future.

As I say, I am not a Dipper. So that's it from me. For now.


Anonymous said...

Harper is a Reformer, from his Northern Foundation Party in 1989. They said, the skinheads organized that party.

People can also read: Harper gives a speech in New York, at the Council of Foreign Relations, Sept 25/2007.

I will vote for, whichever party is the closest to, taking Harper out.

Námo Mandos said...

This has been a very emotional issue at Dawg's place. They don't like Mulcair for entirely the opposite reason---they think it's a ploy to get rid of Harper at all cost and not better than cooperation with the Liberals on that regard. (ie, some of them are willing to see another Harper government if stopping Harper requires an NDP further to the centre---as cooperation with the Liberals would necessarily entail, or even trying to take Liberal votes to any serious degree.)

But the things you don't like about Mulcair are kind of exactly the things that might give him a shot at winning...

Anonymous said...

"Mental illness? Seriously?"

This is kind of scary because it's a hint to where Mulcair gets his information from.

The same types of lies and spin that support the current power structure in one area are found supporting it in others (economic, political reform, etc).

Besides, more potent marijuana is probably good since it means more THC for the same amount of (harmful) smoke. And it's not like you can overdose on the THC (the smoke on the other hand...)

Dana said...

Any change, even insignificant, cosmetic change, threatens someone somewhere.

But I must say it's revealing how much angst there is over purity. Not that the word purity is heard. What's heard is "tradition" but purity is the sub-text.

Angst about purity is only possible in the presence of ideology.

Keep the angst very, very private if you must exercise it.

Displaying it publicly will repel more people than it will attract.

the regina mom said...

Mulcair was not my first choice either. And that doesn't matter right now. What matters is that the NDP is bigger than its Leader. It is not an American-style political party in which the Leader is the be-all and end-all. Quite frankly, I knew going in that if my candidate dropped off the list I'd have to go elsewhere. And given the ageism and sexism with which her campaign was dismissed I pretty much knew that'd happen. To me, it didn't really matter, so long as it wasn't the establishment boy.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe this is the first time the establishment candidate has not won the leadership of the NDP. It could prove to be a very interesting times within the party, a time when everyone is re-aligning and re-investing inside and outside the party.

Mulcair cannot go forward with a united caucus and party unless he bridges gaps. He is going to need the support of progressives within the party in order to do the "reaching out" he claims to want to do. And in order to do that he is going to have to listen and respond.

Last night, in his speech, and today in his news conference he spoke about winning in the Prairies. Well, if he wants to do that, he's going to have to appeal to progressives because the Liberals already vote for the NDP in Saskatchewan. And some progressives stay home, spoil ballots or cast ballots for Greens or other parties as a protest.

What I heard is that he likes Niki Ashton's strategy for winning the west. And the media like him. For the NDP to garner support in the mainstream rightwing media is fucking awesome at this point. let's pretend then that Mulcair is rightwing and let's push him to be progressive.

And ya, he's piss-poor on some issues. But I believe that in appointing Libby as Deputy Leader, he's begun that lean towards progressivism.

The Mound of Sound said...

You've given me cause for concern, Fern. I hadn't paid much attention to the NDP race but this information is disquieting. Mulcair certainly sounds a lot more like Tony Blair than Jack Layton.

Jymn said...

I am pulling myself off the floor from yesterday's Mulcair victory. It reminded me so much of Iggy's win where I was hoarse from trying to warn everyone what would transpire. Mulcair to me is the Ignatieff of the NDP. Pro-prohibition, Israel, the environment - NDP supporters looked the other way by electing Mulcair. Over the last few years I've left the Liberal fold and gravitated towards the NDP. Now, I feel like I'm floating again without a party to represent my interests and my needs. Plus, I don't think the broader progressive interests are served by Mulcair. He claims unity within the party but promotes divisiveness among progressives.

Beijing York said...

I'm with Fern and Jymn on this. Never liked him from day 1. Layton was also an outsider but with lots of grassroots activism and solid municipal performance credibility. Although I didn't like how he pushed the party rightwards on many policy fronts like foreign affairs and crime/public safety, I will credit him with having energy and charisma that made him a very good leader.

Despite his sh*t hot credentials, Mulcair is dull like dirty dishwater in comparison and very much like Ignatieff in that sense. And both Iggy and Tom come across as arrogant and lacking of thoughtfulness.

His victory speech was a disaster. He barely acknowledged the other contenders. Hell, given Rae's statement, he should have written Mulcair's speech.

“I also want to congratulate the NDP for a successful leadership convention, particularly in opening up the selection process to Canadians across the country.

“I also want to salute Mme Nycole Turmel for the integrity she showed as Interim Leader of the NDP. Her grace was apparent as she courageously carried out her duties admirably in the wake of the tragic passing of Jack Layton.”

This is classy and the stuff that should have been included in that victory speech. He also could have mentioned the outrageous recent treatment of labour by the Harper gang and given an indication on how he would fight the upcoming "slash and burn" budget. Good gracious, I hope he doesn't go the f*cking report card route.

I only rejoined the NDP, after more than a decade of being too disappointed in their performance and their actively participating in the game to move political goal posts to the right, to support Romeo Saganash.

JJ said...

I am surprised this guy managed to win, so many people seem to hate him. (He's not who I would have picked either, but not because I hate him -- I just liked Cullen for it.)

OTOH, considering the ditch-pigs in power right now, the opposition leader will need to be a snarling pit bull, so maybe Mulcair's the right guy at this moment. Politics in the Age of Harper is not about to become a bastion of civility just because the opposition elects a leader of intellect and class like Cullen.

e.a.f. said...

it is rather funny that the federal liberals are being lead by a former ontario NDPer & the federal NDP is being led by a former quebec liberal.

The more things change the more they stay the same.
Mulcair has the best chance of defeating the Harper-cons, with or without the Liberal's assistance. We now have to wait 4 yrs to the next federal election unless of course elections canada deems some ridings were so "contaimenated" by the robo calls there needs to new elections in those ridings. that of course would be awfully entertaining.

Mulcair also has the best chance of dealing with the "targeted" ads the cons will run against him. They have already started with Bob Rae. I can hardly wait what they will say about Mulcair.

MgS said...

I have only one criteria in opposition leaders: The ability to tackle Harper and his band of criminal thugs whose malfeasance stole the last election.

Mulcair seems to have that. None of the other candidates in the NDP race gave me that impression.

Right now is not the time to play nice on anything. Harper doesn't play by the rules, and perhaps someone who has a "temper" might just get riled up enough to call Harper's BS what it really is.

If the Liberals can select someone with a spine for their leadership, we might get something interesting happening.

I'll say it again - right now, the only thing that counts is unseating Harper.

Anonymous said...

politics has changed. gone are the days of gentlemen politics. its a dirtier sport than ever before. playing nice will get you nowhere. harper has to be beaten at his own game.

the depressing thing about this is that it will eventually corrupt the NDP and any other political party. the future is bleak and full of corruption and the best we can do is pick the party that will do the least damage....

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