By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, June 13, 2012 - 0 Comments
Welcome to live coverage of tonight’s C-38 votes. It was expected that voting would begin around 5:30pm, but some procedural fussing about by the Liberals seems to have delayed those votes by a few hours. Stay tuned throughout the evening (and morning?) as we follow the parliamentary festivities.
4:43pm. If you’re only now tuning in, you just missed a fascinating series of points of order, during which Liberal MP Kevin Lamoureux twice asked the Speaker to clarify the rules of the House (Speaker Devolin invited Mr. Lamoureux to read the standing orders) and Bob Rae objected to the Defence Minister’s earlier use of the word “mendaciousness” (Peter MacKay duly stood and withdrew the remark). The House is now at the time reserved each day for the presenting of petitions and will soon move to the final period of report stage debate on C-38.
4:51pm. The New Democrats held a photo op this afternoon to demonstrate how they were preparing for tonight’s votes. Mostly this seems to have involved Nathan Cullen removing his jacket and writing “C-38″ on a giant white pad of paper.
5:04pm. The Liberals have chosen now to discuss Mr. Cullen’s point of privilege. And now there is some discussion between the Speaker, Elizabeth May and Denis Coderre about how long one can speak when responding to a question of privilege.
5:15pm. With Mr. Lamoureux still responding to Mr. Cullen’s point of privilege, Conservative MP Bob Zimmer rises on a point of order to question Mr. Lamoureux’s point of privilege. The Speaker stands and reads the rules pertaining to questions of privilege, specifically that such interventions should be “brief and concise” and that the Speaker has the right to “terminate” the discussion. Liberal MP Massimo Pacetti rises on a point of order to object to Mr. Zimmer’s point of order. Mr. Lamoureux attempts a point of order to respond to Mr. Zimmer, but the Speaker suggests he carry on with his point of privilege, but then Mr. Coderre rises on a point of order to complain about the Speaker’s desire to move things along. The Speaker asserts his impartiality and attempts to straighten this all out, but Mr. Coderre rises on another point of order to clarify his respect for the Speaker, but also to express his desire that Mr. Lamoureux be allowed to give a full response to Mr. Cullen’s point of privilege. Mr. Pacetti rises on a point of order to add his concern that Mr. Lamoureux be allowed to speak fully. The Speaker says he was merely reminding everyone of the rules and gives Mr. Lamoureux five minutes to finish and, finally, we’re now back to Mr. Lamoruex’s point of privilege.
5:30pm. The Speaker stands and calls an end to Mr. Lamoureux’s remarks and attempts to move to the last hour of report stage debate on C-38, but now Mauril Belanger is up on a separate point of privilege.
5:32pm. The Speaker cuts off Mr. Belanger to move to deferred votes on two opposition motions and one private member’s bill. MPs have 30 minutes to report to the chamber.
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, June 12, 2012 at 8:00 AM - 0 Comments
Scott Clark dissects the Harper government’s loud refusal to be part of an IMF initiative to backstop Europe.
By refusing to join the G-20 initiative to augment IMF resources, Canada’s credibility in the G-20 will be seriously diminished. Canada has been able to “punch above its economic weight” in international organizations and institutions because of the quality of its advice and the seriousness of it commitments to international institutions. Other members of the G-20 will see Canada’s refusal to participate as a weakening in its commitment to the G-20 and the IMF.
Another reason given for not contributing to the G-20 Fund is that this would require the use of taxpayers’ money. Presumably what the government is saying is that at a time when government spending is being cut it would be inappropriate to “give” taxpayers money to the IMF to help wealthy European countries. This is completely misleading. Funds are not given to the IMF; funds are lent to the IMF. More importantly the funds that would be lent to the IMF would not come from Canadian taxpayers. The funds would come from foreign exchange reserves held at the Bank of Canada. As of May 23, 2012 Canada had foreign exchange reserves of $68.7 billion … Were Canada to contribute to the G-20 fund the “contribution” would involve a transfer of SDRs from the exchange reserves to the IMF in exchange for a commitment that the funds would be repaid. There would be no use of taxpayers’ money and there would be no budgetary impact.
In April, Mark Carney appeared before the House finance committee and Peggy Nash asked the bank governor about Europe and the potential impact on Canada. She then asked Mr. Carney for the pros and cons of contributing to the IMF firewall. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, May 31, 2012 at 5:39 PM - 0 Comments
The Scene. The Honourable Thomas Edward Siddon, our 36th minister of fisheries, he haunts us still.
“Mr. Speaker, former Conservative fisheries minister Thomas Siddon is again sounding the alarm on the Conservatives’ Trojan Horse bill,” the NDP’s Nathan Cullen reported this afternoon. “Last night he testified that he deplored this attack on environmental protection and that rushing these changes through is ‘not becoming of a Conservative government.’ His message to the Prime Minister was clear, ‘Take your time, get it right.’ Will the Prime Minister take the advice of his Conservative colleague? Will he split this reckless bill and allow for proper study?”
The government would eventually take to quoting something Mr. Siddon had said in 1986 in an attempt to cancel out what Mr. Siddon said last night, but the Prime Minister opted here to boast only of his own government’s magnanimousness. “Mr. Speaker, in fact, the particular set of changes in the economic action plan will have more committee study than any budget bill in recent history by quite a magnitude,” Mr. Harper claimed.
This much would likely not have satisfied the a certain former Reform MP and it did not seem to satisfy the current New Democrat MP for Skeena-Bulkley Valley. ”Mr. Speaker, it is somewhat ironic for New Democrats to have to defend the environmental record of a former Mulroney Conservative government against this very new and different breed of Conservatives,” Mr. Cullen sighed while wagging his finger at the government side. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, May 31, 2012 at 3:53 PM - 0 Comments
Erin Weir, an economist with the United Steelworkers, sends along the following video of his appearance before the finance committee last night.
Kady O’Malley points with similar concern to an exchange between Peggy Nash and Vivian Krause during finance committee hearings on Monday. Here is the transcript of that exchange, along with Ms. Nash’s subsequent questions for Jamie Ellerton of Ethical Oil. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, May 16, 2012 at 5:50 PM - 0 Comments
The Scene. Peggy Nash was very nearly pleading. ”Will someone in the government,” she asked, “please outline right now what constitutes suitable employment?”
In Ms. Nash’s moment of need it was Ted Menzies, minister of state for finance, who stood. ”Mr. Speaker, I actually have some examples here of what constitutes suitable employment,” he reported.
At last, clarity seemed at hand. ”A mining company in Newfoundland is looking to hire 1,500 people in St. John’s, Newfoundland, through the temporary foreign worker program,” Mr. Menzies explained. “There are 32,500 people looking for work right now. That is why we are trying to make EI more effective to help these mining companies get people to employ.”
What precisely was the minister of state suggesting here? That if you are presently looking for work you might soon be expected to strap on a helmet lamp and make for St. John’s? And are there really only 32,500 people in this country presently looking for work?
There were chuckles of incredulity from the opposition side. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, May 16, 2012 at 1:09 PM - 0 Comments
Appearing before the finance committee yesterday, the Finance Minister attempted to clarify what he’d “heard” about the savings created by changing the age of eligibility for Old Age Security.
Peggy Nash: The information for Canadians to be able to have this debate about these major changes is not available to people. You, yourself, yesterday said that you speculated the changes to OAS would mean a change of about $10 billion to $12 billion that seniors would not get. That’s what the savings would be.
Jim Flaherty: No, no, that’s not what I said. There was speculation—
Peggy Nash: You said that’s what the change would mean.
Jim Flaherty: There was speculation about those numbers by the media.
Peggy Nash: What are the numbers, then?
Jim Flaherty: In fact, there are no cuts to OAS in the budget, period.
Peggy Nash: What was the $10 billion to $12 billion?
Jim Flaherty: The media was speculating about later on, would there be any savings? As I told them, there are no cuts to OAS in the budget.
Peggy Nash: You said you had heard the $10 billion to $12 billion figure. What was that figure?
Jim Flaherty: I heard it from the media. That’s the figure they were using. They asked me about it.
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, May 15, 2012 at 8:30 AM - 0 Comments
On April 24, Peggy Nash asked Human Resources Minister Diane Finley how much money the government expected to be saved by raising the eligibility age for Old Age Security to 67. The minister did not answer the question. Ms. Nash asked again. Ms. Finley again failed to answer the question.
On May 1, Scott Brison demanded to know how much would be saved. Ms. Finley avoided the question. On May 10, Thomas Mulcair put the question to the Prime Minister. Mr. Harper dodged. Yesterday afternoon, Ms. Nash again asked Ms. Finley. Ms. Finley again failed to offer an estimate.
But outside the House yesterday, Jim Flaherty said he’d “heard” a couple numbers.
Speaking to reporters after question period, Flaherty allowed that he has heard an estimate of $10 billion. ”I’ve heard that number, I’ve heard $12 billion also. Something in that area,” he said.
So is that the answer Ms. Nash, Mr. Brison and Mr. Mulcair were looking for? Maybe. Or maybe not.
Flaherty’s officials also refused to provide the estimate at a briefing to parliamentarians at the end of April, although they did give it to reporters covering the federal budget on March 29.
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, May 7, 2012 at 5:26 PM - 0 Comments
The Scene. Nathan Cullen held in his left hand the budget bill. Or at least a reasonably thick stack of papers that one might’ve presumed was the budget bill. Give or take a couple hundred pages.
“Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives have introduced a so-called budget more than 400 pages long, 70 acts, more than 753 clauses amended and one Parliament being asked to vote blind,” the NDP House leader lamented, “gutting environmental protections, ripping up the Fisheries Act and eliminating entire laws. Asking a single committee to review this bill would mean that it would not get the scrutiny that it deserves. Will Conservatives work with New Democrats, respect Parliament and agree to split the bill?”
This was now a contest of who could sound more reasonable. James Moore, leading the government side this day, opened his right hand as if to massage the nation’s collective shoulders. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, May 3, 2012 at 10:13 AM - 0 Comments
The Harper government is using the budget implementation act to give itself new, unexplained powers to regulate employment insurance.
The measure is contained inside the budget implementation bill and would give cabinet the power to change employment insurance rules later through regulation without the approval of Parliament. Yet, even though the provision is currently before MPs, Human Resources Minister Diane Finley is refusing to explain its purpose other than to say further details will be announced over the coming months.
The budget bill reached the floor of the House yesterday, with Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver leading the debate. Peggy Nash offered the response for the NDP. Scott Brison responded for the Liberals. Shortly thereafter, Peter Van Loan rose and gave notice of a motion of time allocation that will see the bill come to a second reading vote on May 14.
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, April 20, 2012 at 8:30 AM - 0 Comments
Here again is the roster for Thomas Mulcair’s shadow cabinet. What to make of it? Here are several observations.
-First, the obviously big promotions go to Megan Leslie (who stays with environment, but becomes a deputy leader) and Nathan Cullen (who becomes House leader). Both are confident, impressive, fresh-faced MPs who are quick on their feet and under the age of 40 (Mr. Cullen’s 40th birthday is in July). Very interesting to see them put not just in prominent positions, but positions of leadership. Your premature, baseless, futile, wild-eyed “next leader of the NDP” speculation probably starts somewhere here.
-That’s a rather large number of people with titles: 78 out of a caucus of 102. Granted, the Conservative cabinet numbers 39 and the Prime Minister named another 28 parliamentary secretaries, so the sides are somewhat close to even. Put the two teams together and they represent just less than half of the House.
-The shadow ministers of finance, justice, human resources, transport, aboriginal affairs, public works, industry, immigration and the environment—nine of the top files—are women.
-All of the elected leadership candidates—Niki Ashton, Paul Dewar, Mr. Cullen, Robert Chisholm, Romeo Saganash and Peggy Nash—were placed in prominent spots. Of the 13 NDP MPs who endorsed Brian Topp, 10 of them—Charmaine Borg, Jean Crowder, Libby Davies, Chris Charlton, Yvon Godin, Francoise Boivin, Jinny Simms, Jasbir Sandhu, Kennedy Stewart and Alexandre Boulerice—were put in critic roles. Continue…
By Mitchel Raphael - Monday, April 2, 2012 at 11:09 AM - 0 Comments
It’s easy to remain neutral when you don’t know who you are voting for
New leader, old pic
The photo of newly elected NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair that appeared on the NDP leadership convention screens and the flyer for his after-party is the same one he’s been using since his 2007 by-election win. One Mulcair campaign worker said the new leader actually hates the picture and is tired of seeing it. Mulcair hired Kumpa’nia, a drumming band from Montreal, for the convention. The group drummed him in with the Cuban song Comparsa, chosen “because it’s groovy,” said one drummer. To help kill time between votes, Mulcair supporters used several of his signs to build a model of 24 Sussex Dr., much to his delight. One young Brian Topp supporter built a Topp restaurant out of the candidate’s materials, with a walk-up window but no drive-through.
The button factor
Some people did not make up their minds until the first day of the convention. MP Mylène Freeman said, “It’s easy to remain neutral when you don’t know who you are voting for.” Before the final vote, Freeman had a Mulcair button, which pleased her boyfriend, David DesBaillets, a volunteer on Muclair’s campaign. One delegate, Rob Shostak, quipped that he had a few specific criteria in terms of swaying his vote: candidates had to be bilingual, which he says eliminated Paul Dewar, and they had to have a button at the convention, which eliminated Niki Ashton. Bonus points went to Peggy Nash for having the biggest button.
By John Geddes and Aaron Wherry - Friday, March 30, 2012 at 6:45 AM - 0 Comments
Pitting renewal against tradition, it’s a win for change
The last thing anyone expected from Thomas Mulcair in the race for the NDP leadership was a charm offensive. Sharp debating skills, sure. Divisive messaging, more than likely. But the Quebec MP routinely characterized as a tough customer was hardly thought likely to better his rivals in a contest of interpersonal skills. Yet there he was on the last Saturday of January, a couple of weeks before the watershed point when his dominance of the campaign became clear, winning a potential key new backer over breakfast at Halifax’s venerable Victory Arms Pub.
His quarry that morning was Nova Scotia MP Robert Chisholm, who had entered the leadership race, then dropped out early when he realized his inability to speak French was a fatal shortcoming. A former NDP leader in his home province, Chisholm looked like an obvious high-value target for all the main leadership aspirants. His background as a union leader might have suggested an affinity with fellow labour-movement heavyweights Brian Topp and Peggy Nash. But he told Maclean’s that he received just two “casual” calls from camps other than Mulcair’s. “Really, it was only Tom who reached out,” Chisholm said, “and was interested in following up on a regular basis and seeking my opinion.”
The two had barely known each other before the race, but Mulcair now struck Chisholm as “warm, friendly and engaging.” Not adjectives often publicly associated with the hard-driving Montrealer. On that winter weekend when all the leadership contenders rolled into Halifax for the second of their series of six televised debates, Mulcair and his wife, Catherine Pinhas, arranged breakfast with Chisholm and his wife, Paula Simon. They settled in for a relaxed hour at the pub restaurant on the ground floor of the gracious old Lord Nelson Hotel. “We found them both quite charming,” Chisholm said. After mulling his decision, he announced on March 1 that he was endorsing Mulcair.
By Aaron Wherry - Saturday, March 24, 2012 at 11:17 PM - 0 Comments
At 7:49pm Eastern Standard Time in Toronto, Thomas Mulcair had to use the facilities. One last bathroom break before destiny.
On his way to the men’s room, down the second-floor hallway strewn with the bodies of the faithful, everyone so very tired, Mr. Mulcair passed within maybe three feet of Brian Topp, the only other remaining candidate conferring then with his campaign manager in a relatively secluded corner. The two contenders did not appear to acknowledge other.
A necessary amount of time later, Mr. Mulcair emerged from the bathroom and proceeded back down the hallway. Once again the two candidates passed within feet of each other. If they acknowledged each other, it was fleeting. Mr. Mulcair went on back to his headquarters. Mr. Topp sat on a table and talked with one of his aides for awhile. No jacket, right hand resting on hip.
At 8:02pm, from the far end of the hall, the sound of drums rang out and a clapping, gyrating throng of supporters from Team Mulcair emerged. Dancing their way down the hall, they proceeded to the escalator positioned in front of the Team Topp headquarters and then down to the subterranean convention hall on the basement floor. A smattering of Mr. Topp’s supporters watched the heaving mob. Some raised their hands and clapped along as the likely victors marched towards the final confirmation.
The moment was soon at hand. And then, of course, it was announced that the results would be delayed by an hour. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Saturday, March 24, 2012 at 2:06 PM - 0 Comments
Her statement to reporters after the second ballot.
Obviously, as I’ve come in fourth now, I’m going to be dropping off the ballot. And I’ve already made my personal decision, I’ve already voted. And I know that our delegates are supporting a variety of candidates, they’re not monolithic. And, in fact, the vast majority have already cast their ballots.
She was then asked who she’d be supporting.
I have already voted and I’m going to release my delegates to vote for whoever they want to support. And I am committed that any of the three remaining candidates would make an absolutely amazing leader and I’m prepared to work with any of them. We’ll have a stronger, a more united party coming out of this convention. We have tremendous energy and momentum and excitement. You can see the capacity being built here, with so many young activists.
She said she would be keeping her vote to herself.
By Aaron Wherry - Saturday, March 24, 2012 at 1:28 PM - 0 Comments
Second ballot results are now expected around 2pm. Here is what I’ll be looking for.
How high is Thomas Mulcair’s support? If most or all of Martin Singh’s support moves to Mr. Mulcair, that would give the first-ballot leader around 35%. However much Mr. Mulcair manages above that would seem to indicate how much support he drew from supporters of Niki Ashton and Paul Dewar.
Did Brian Topp narrow the gap between himself and Mr. Mulcair? Currently it’s nine points.
Did Nathan Cullen narrow the gap between himself and Mr. Topp? Currently it’s five points.
Did Peggy Nash get past Mr. Cullen for third? If not, she’ll be dropped off the ballot. At that point, we get a new question: Does she move immediately to Mr. Topp?
By Aaron Wherry - Saturday, March 24, 2012 at 12:11 PM - 0 Comments
NDP Christine Moore, who had endorsed Paul Dewar, has moved to Peggy Nash.
Rathika Sitsabaiesen, who hadn’t endorsed any of the candidates, has now pledged her support for Ms. Nash.
Hélène Laverdière, who was supporting Mr. Dewar, has moved to Thomas Mulcair.It’s not clear that this is the case.
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, March 23, 2012 at 4:33 PM - 0 Comments
The unlucky teleprompter operator was scrolling fast through the prepared text, whole paragraphs whirring by on the large screens facing the stage. Preceded by a video and a half dozen endorsers, Ms. Nash was nearly out of time. And the person at the teleprompter controls was lost. And so Ms. Nash was winging it. She managed some criticism of the cynics and some talk of fighting for one’s rights despite such doubts, but then the pop music started to play, the NDP equivalent of the orchestra playing this acceptance speech to a conclusion.
Ms. Nash kept on. The music got louder. Ms. Nash searched for an end. The music got louder. “In 2015, we’ll give Stephen Harper the boot,” she declared. “Join me. Ensemble.” And with that her microphone seemed to stop working.
Her supporters still chanted her name. Her supporters, waving purple and orange circles, have been enthusiastic chanters all day. And here they kept on for awhile as the convention moved on.
By John Geddes - Friday, March 23, 2012 at 2:04 PM - 0 Comments
1. B.C. MP Nathan Cullen went first at the NDP convention’s afternoon showcase for leadership contenders. This was, I would say, unfortunate for most of the rest of the field. Cullen is arguably the most natural performer of the bunch. True to form, he was energized and upbeat.
Some will be surprised by Cullen’s decision to start out on a
strictlysomewhat (comments caught me showing my central Canadian bias) regional issue—his opposition to Enbridge’s proposed Northern Gateway pipeline, which would cut through his riding. (Check out Paul Wells for the oil-and-politics context.) But this might well have been a smart move—reminding British Columbia’s 39,000 NDP members, close to a third of those eligible to vote for the late Jack Layton’s successor, where he hails from.
On his controversial proposal for NDP cooperation with Liberals and Greens in ridings held by the Conservatives, Cullen promised an “open, democratic” conversation on the matter. “There are some that like it and there are some that don’t, and that’s cool,” he said. To my ear, that was too light a touch for a pretty weighty proposal.
2. Ottawa MP Paul Dewar just exited the stage. Unlike Cullen’s solo show, Dewar started out with a bunch of endorsements and a longish video presentation. In the Youtube era, that seems to me like the sort of stuff you go online for; when you show up at a convention, you want to see flesh-and-blood politicians up there sweating.
Once Dewar stepped to the podium, though, he wasn’t half bad. He unabashedly invoked Jack Layton repeatedly (odd to hear the Toronto Convention Centre’s south building called “the House that Jack Built,” but we took his drift). He dismissed the rifts that have largely defined the race, without naming names, as irrelevant. It’s not about left (Topp) or right (Mulcair), Dewar said, or about cooperating with other parties (Cullen). “It’s about the real majority of Canadians who have been left out by the Conservatives,” Dewar said.
Dewar’s core message sounded full of anxiety about the party’s future. “We won’t win the trust of Canadians by throwing our principles aside,” he said. Which makes you wonder, is there a risk of that abandonment? “We may have lost Jack,” he added even more darkly, “but we must not lose our way.”
3. Brian Topp, backroom boy turned leadership aspirant, started out by showing his polished video, narrated by Gordon Pinsent, no less. It ended with a stable of NDP luminaries—Ed Broadbent, Roy Romanow, the whole bunch—looking resolutely into the camera and intoning, “He’s ready.”
It hasn’t always seemed to be so. Topp was uninspiring for much of this race, picking up steam only lately. It’s not clear how many NDPers who took in the early word that he was stiff caught wind of his more comfortable stretch-run performance. He might have benefited from lowish expectations among some delegates when he took the podium this afternoon and seemed instantly at ease there.
“I’m a proud New Democrat,” Topp said, “and an unapologetic social democrat.” In case you missed it, that last part was a jab at Tom Mulcair, whose detractors say the former provincial Liberal cabinet minister isn’t a real man of the left. But Topp was also careful not to leave the impression that he might somehow be, by comparison, a risky left-wing choice, framing his approach “one practical step at time.”
4. Manitoba MP Niki Ashton won’t be posting big numbers when the first ballot is tallied tomorrow morning. At 29, though, Ashton should be interesting the voice of audaciously ambitious youth in the race. But her speech just now sounded, to me at least, entirely within the safest zone of traditional NDP thinking.
If she represents the next wave of New Democrats, they sound a lot to me like their elders. “I am proud to be part of the Jack Layton generation,” she said. A warm sentiment, but Layton imbibed the ideas that grounded him in politics in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
Ashton even resorted to a retro slogan—“Liberal, Tory, same old story.” She lamented income inequality, the erosion of collective bargaining rights, corporate tax cuts. No doubt these preoccupations are perennials in the party. But shouldn’t a candidate not yet 30 bring something novel, even controversial, to a leadership debate?
5. On Montréal MP Thomas Mulcair’s performance, a bit first on convention craft. Mulcair entered with his cheering section entered from the back of the hall behind a troop of drummers, moving slowly. You could feel the vibrations coming up through the floor. You don’t get that from a video. And you can’t replicate the experience online.
Unfortunately, the effective setup obviously took longer than planned, leaving Mulcair rushing at an auctioneer-like verbal pace to get his speech out in the allowed total time for the entire presentation of 20 minutes. After that, his microphone would have been cut off. Reading so fast robbed him of the chance to use what is, I would argue, one of Mulcair’s underrated assets—that mellifluous voice of his, which sounded far better in the video part of his show.
What came across despite the haste? This line: “My only adversary sits across from me in the House of Commons.” Mulcair was making two points here: that his much-discussed rivalry with Topp isn’t his ultimate battle, and, by the way, he sits in the House while Topp has never been an MP. He also alluded to his victory in Quebec as a provincial Liberal, of all things, over the Parti Quebecois. “We won there and we’re going to win here,” Mulcair said, raising the question of how the word “we” is understood at this NDP gathering.
6. Toronto MP Peggy Nash’s fate was worse by far than the mere rushed delivery of Mulcair. He pre-speech presentation went way too long, leaving her without nearly enough time to get through her prepared speech. From the media area, we would see her text, up on the big teleprompter screens, scrolling rapidly, apparently as someone on her team tried to get her to jump ahead.
She didn’t catch on, improvising at points, then reverting to the text. In the end the convention organizers gave her perhaps a minute of extra time, then turned on the music, cutting her short. “So never ever underestimate the determination and the tenacity of a woman leader…” she was saying as the music drowned her out.
It would seem churlish to focus only on the abrupt end, but no doubt many NDPers will. Thus, this might be an appropriate time to remember that most New Democrats who plan to cast their ballots already have: 55,659 (as my colleague Aaron Wherry reports here), at least 60 to 70 per cent of the likely final vote. So Nash can take solace from the fact that her more than respectable campaign will matter more than what just transpired.
7. Nova Scotia pharmacist Martin Singh is surely the oddest choice on the ballot, in that he’s never stood for public office. By comparison, Ashton is seasoned veteran.
Yet it fell to Singh, of all candidates, to be the first to invoke NDP icon Tommy Douglas, whose name is typically dropped with great regularity at any NDP gathering. (Layton has now supplanted him.) Singh cited “Tommy” as an inspiration in his guise as the sainted father of universal medical insurance.
Overall, Singh’s delivery was rousing in an old-timey way. Nothing wrong with that. However, his lack of any credentials whatsoever for the leadership of any party makes his candidacy strange at best. At worst, he will be seen bringing a block of South Asian votes to Mulcair, whom he’s picked as his second choice, which is an awkward sort of political gambit whenever it happens.
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, March 21, 2012 at 3:48 PM - 0 Comments
Joan Bryden surveys the pre-convention speculation, prognostication and introspection.
Former party president and veteran backroom strategist Brian Topp, for instance, has positioned himself as the anti-Mulcair candidate and is seen to be most ideologically attuned with Toronto MP Peggy Nash. Yet his Quebec supporters are most likely to switch to Mulcair if Topp is knocked off the ballot.
Indeed, various camps privately admit the purported ideological divide among the candidates — the allegedly more centrist Mulcair and Nathan Cullen versus the more traditionalist Topp, Nash and Paul Dewar — has been exaggerated for the purposes of sharpening distinctions during the campaign. And it’s not likely to play as big a role in determining second choices as many pundits have suggested. “This is not (a choice between) left-right, no matter what the pundits say,” says a strategist with one camp. “This is all about who can win.”
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, March 19, 2012 at 1:15 PM - 0 Comments
Joanna Smith looks at the latest fundraising numbers.
According to the latest fundraising data released by Elections Canada, Cullen has now pulled ahead of Toronto MP Peggy Nash and Ottawa MP Paul Dewar in terms of total net contributions to his campaign. Cullen received more than $32,700 during the Feb. 25 to Mar. 3 time period covered by the weekly report, bringing his total since the start of the campaign to almost $174,600 after the central party removed its 15 per cent administrative fee from donations. That means he is now in third place in terms of money contributed to his campaign behind Mulcair and former party president Brian Topp, who has raised about $204,300 since the beginning of the campaign.
The latest numbers for Mulcair were not available online Friday, but campaign manager Raoul Gébert said the weekly report would show an increase of about $35,000, which means he outperformed Cullen and remains in first place with about $261,400 in total.