Harper foes, take heart. The NDP rank-and-file made good on the party's Opposition promise at last weekend's leadership convention. Both the process and the outcome have left Canada's progressive majority stronger and wiser in many obvious and also subtle ways.
The voting results are a hope elixir. How fantastically different this convention was from the surreal electoral choices we keep seeing south of the border and, sadly, in our own city. Isn't it nice to know that real democracy, in the hands of the country's biggest concentration of social equality advocates, adds up to collective brilliance? That kind of faith renewed packs the energy that might just get new people interested in voting.
As the dust settles on the NDP leadership race, this may be an instructive "teachable moment" to examine some dimensions of the campaign and what messages it sends to the NDP. In the months leading up to the 2012 leadership convention, a number of measures were proposed to track how the campaigns of the respective candidates were being received. With seven (initially nine) leadership candidates crisscrossing the country, a series of six national debates to expose Canadians to the ideas and policies of the candidates, and a preferential voting system that allowed members to rank the candidates, getting a read on their standing in the race was far from clear or easy.
Politically, I'm postmodern. In our democracy, where the medium for electoral engagement is the party system, I'm decidedly non-partisan. Values, principles, people, and opportunities to make a progressive difference are more attractive for this activist. Flexibility and openness are key.
In my present incarnation, I'm Green MP Elizabeth May's press secretary. After returning to Canada from the U.K. and examining the contemporary political landscape, I felt it would be a privilege to support this brilliant, outspoken woman in her efforts to challenge Harper, the Northern Gateway pipeline, and more. Now, I'm on Parliament Hill confronting the daily insults the Conservatives inflict on our society.
Quebec. The NDP membership's primary concern is that the party hold its 58 Quebec seats in the next election: this determined the outcome of the leadership campaign that began officially September 15, 2011, and ended March 24. Party members sensed that Thomas Mulcair understands Quebec, could appeal to Quebecers, and believed he was the best choice to lead the party into the next election.