By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, March 6, 2013 - 0 Comments
In regards to Claude Patry, the NDP is following the playbook hinted at by their reaction to Lise St. Denis’ defection. First, they assigned a New Democrat MP to mind the riding. Now, the party is calling Mr. Patry’s constituents to reassure them.
A copy of the robocall was obtained by Radio-Canada. In it, the party’s deputy national director, Chantal Vallerand, tells constituents in the Quebec riding that Patry was elected to represent them in 2011 as a member of Team Layton. It’s a reference to the party’s popular former leader Jack Layton, who died of cancer months after the election.
“Last week, he mocked you and all voters in Jonquière-Alma in quitting the NDP to join another political party,” Vallerand says in French. “We believe Mr. Patry should have the courage of his convictions by stepping down and running in a byelection. Since Mr. Patry didn’t ask your opinion before making his decision, we decided to do so.” The call then instructs listeners to press 1 to be redirected to a voicemail box where they can leave a message for Patry and provides a toll-free number for the NDP, as well as the address for the party’s headquarters in Ottawa.
In Ms. St. Denis’ case, there were two complaints about the NDP tactics: that the calls were identified as coming from the NDP and that the calls forwarded constituents to Ms. St. Denis’ riding office, thus allegedly jamming the phone lines. In Mr. Patry’s case, the NDP is identifying itself and seems to be collecting messages itself (apparently to be forwarded to Mr. Patry at a later date).
Here be the permanent campaign.
By Aaron Wherry - Sunday, March 3, 2013 at 4:58 PM - 0 Comments
As they did when Lise St. Denis went to the Liberals, the New Democrats have assigned one of their remaining MPs to mind Claude Patry’s riding.
JONQUIÈRE-ALMA CAN COUNT ON NEW DEMOCRATS
JONQUIÈRE — NDP Leader Tom Mulcair made it clear today that the people of Jonquière-Alma can continue to count on New Democrats to represent them in Ottawa.
The NDP will respect the choice of those who voted for change in the last federal election, by standing up for the region and holding the Conservative government to account.
“I have asked my colleague Dany Morin (Chicoutimi-Le Fjord) to bring the concerns of local residents to the House of Commons,” said Mr. Mulcair. “To do politics differently means to fight cynicism. Only the NDP is in a position to replace the Conservative government in 2015.”
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, March 1, 2013 at 5:40 PM - 0 Comments
Thomas Mulcair’s principal secretary sends his regards to Claude Patry. The Star’s editorial board likewise suggests Mr. Patry should resign and face a by-election. Chantal Hebert offers some background on the backbencher and some consideration of the future. And Conservative MP Dean Del Mastro offers his analysis.
News that another NDP MP has abandonned them, this time to go to the BLOC demonstrates how undemocratic the NDP really is. Because their members are always foced to follow the party line when voting in parliament the only choice that members have when they disagree is to leave.
It is true that New Democrats have tended to vote alike in this current Parliament, while several Conservatives have voted the party line a mere 98% or 99% of the time, but it’s not clear that Mr. Patry’s situation was a matter of party discipline run amok. He seems to have had a fairly fundamental difference of opinion over fundamental party policy—in this case sovereignty for Quebec and how that might be achieved. Maybe he could have remained both a resolute sovereigntist and a member of the NDP, presuming that the party hadn’t tabled its Unity Bill or taken the position on Churchill Falls that it did, but Mr. Del Mastro probably wouldn’t have approved of that either.
Usually three instances of something is sufficient grounds to declare a trend, but it’s not clear to me that there is a common denominator between Lise St. Denis, Bruce Hyer and Mr. Patry. Ms. St. Denis got to Ottawa and decided she wanted to be a Liberal. Mr. Hyer decided to become an independent because he didn’t like Mr. Mulcair’s style of leadership and position on the long-gun registry. (Conversely, John Rafferty, the other long-gun registry dissident in the NDP, opted to stay with the New Democrats.) Mr. Patry decided that the NDP’s views on Quebec didn’t match his own.
If two more Quebec New Democrats bolt for the Bloc, there will be an obvious and particular trend. But for now we have three MPs of varying backgrounds who’ve gone in three different directions (even if they all were running away from the same place). If we’re searching for a narrative here, I’ll submit this: after a dramatic and unexpected increase in the size of their caucus and a sudden change in leadership, there was bound to be some shaking out within the NDP. In the process of everyone figuring out where they fit and who does what, a few have apparently decided they would be better off elsewhere. If they remain a few, there’s maybe not much of a problem. If this keeps happening and the sample of three turns into a sample of four or five or more, it will become easier to identify a more obviously negative trend.
As for whether Mr. Patry should step down and face a by-election, his vote a year ago in this regard should make it difficult for him to argue otherwise. There are a lot of questions to be asked about this idea, but as a general principle it has some merit.
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, February 28, 2013 at 11:07 AM - 0 Comments
NDP MP Claude Patry has decided to join the Bloc Quebecois. Here is the Bloc Quebecois news release (only available in French).
Claude Patry joint le caucus du Bloc Québécois
« Le Bloc Québécois est le seul parti qui respecte la nation québécoise » – Claude Patry
Ottawa, le jeudi 28 février 2013 – « Depuis le début du débat sur l’abrogation de la loi sur la clarté, j’ai été secoué par la réaction des députés fédéralistes en cette Chambre. Cela m’a amené à amorcer une réflexion. J’ai consulté mes proches, et j’en suis venu à la conclusion que la reconnaissance de la nation québécoise est incompatible avec le maintien d’une loi qui impose des conditions au Québec. Or, la proposition du NPD, tout comme l’actuelle loi sur la clarté, va à l’encontre de ce principe fondamental. C’est pourquoi j’annonce aujourd’hui que j’ai décidé de me joindre au Bloc Québécois » a déclaré le député de Jonquière-Alma, Claude Patry.
« J’ai voté pour la souveraineté du Québec lors des deux derniers référendums, j’ai espéré que le Québec devienne un pays et je l’espère encore. Cependant, comme beaucoup de Québécoises et de Québécois en 2011, j’ai cru que le NPD agirait différemment des libéraux et des conservateurs et qu’il reconnaitrait véritablement les aspirations de la nation québécoise. Les récentes prises de positions du NPD sur la loi sur la clarté et le projet de Churchill Falls démontrent de façon non équivoque que ce parti privilégie les intérêts du Canada au détriment de ceux de la nation québécoise », a ajouté le député de Jonquière-Alma.
Pour sa part, le chef du Bloc Québécois, Daniel Paillé, estime que la venue de Claude Patry au sein de son caucus, marque une étape importante vers son objectif de 2015. « Aujourd’hui, je suis heureux d’accueillir au sein de notre caucus Claude Patry, un homme qui a à cœur les intérêts des gens de sa région et du Québec. Depuis sa création, le Bloc Québécois s’est donné comme mandat principal de veiller au respect des intérêts supérieurs de la nation québécoise. Toutes celles et ceux qui ont à cœur ce principe, sont les bienvenus en sein de notre parti », a conclu Daniel Paillé, chef du Bloc Québécois.
Mr. Patry represented Jonquière-Alma, where the Bloc candidate finished a distant third in 2011. Before Mr. Patry, the riding had been represented by Conservative MP Jean-Pierre Blackburn—the riding was last won by the Bloc in 2004.
Here is Parliament’s list of MPs who have crossed the floor (willingly or otherwise).
Update 12:36pm. In speaking with reporters just now, Thomas Mulcair noted that,
just three weeks agoa year and three weeks ago, Mr. Patry voted in favour of an NDP MP’s private member’s bill that would have required that any MP who wished to switch parties would first have to step down and run in a by-election. (The bill was defeated.) Mr. Mulcair thinks Mr. Patry should thus do so and he guarantees that the NDP would win that by-election.
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, September 16, 2011 at 10:35 AM - 2 Comments
NDP MPs Robert Aubin, Francois Lapointe, Jamie Nicholls, Marie-Claude Morin, Alexandrine Latendresse, Pierre Nantel and Claude Patry pledge their support for Thomas Mulcair’s as-yet-undeclared NDP leadership bid.
Rathika Sitsabaiesan and Brian Masse side with Peter Julian.
And later today, Romeo Saganash will announce his support for Brian Topp.
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, May 26, 2011 at 11:41 AM - 13 Comments
The NDP leader has announced his shadow cabinet.
I count 19 new MPs (Peggy Nash and Francoise Boivin are newly elected, but not new to Parliament).
Possibly of note: the NDP have split Human Resources and Skills Development between six shadow ministers. Jean Crowder will be Diane Finley’s main counterpart, but Minister Finley will also have the attention of Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet (Skills), Marie-Claude Morin (Housing), Claude Patry (Employment Insurance), Manon Perreault (Disabilities) and Rathik Sitsabaiesan (Post-Secondary Education).