NDP leadership 20

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Gaian

Wilf Day wrote:
ottawaobserver wrote:

Perhaps I'm just cranky today, but I'm reading a lot of nonsense in these threads. I can't wait until we know the full slate, and this blessed race gets underway properly.

Me three.

Make that four, just for fun. CPAC will carry it in its entirety, for sure.

Malcolm Malcolm's picture

M. Spector wrote:

But evidently it was a huge mystery to Wilf Day, who raised the issue in this thread for the first time.

Wilf Day made an observation about likely determinants.  He suggested that a candidate's position on Israel - Palestine was not likely to be anyone's principal decision point.  He was right.

Even if Boulerice's decision to endorse Topp is tangentially connected to the Gaza flotilla issue, I suspect it would have less to do with the substantive issue than with the fact that it marks a personal conflict between two strong-willed individuals.

Malcolm Malcolm's picture

AnonymousMouse wrote:
ACTRA has a long running, official partnership with Steel that makes them basically indivisible. It doesn't change whatever organizational value there is to this, but if Steel had not endorsed Topp it would have been very strange.

 

Topp has the suport of the old ONDP establishment.  The Steelworkers and the ONDP establishment have always walked in lockstep.  The news would have been if the Steelworkers hadn't endorsed Topp.

 

Malcolm Malcolm's picture

nicky wrote:
In any event I do not believe this endorsement carries as much weight as in the old days of delegated conventions when unions could deliver a block vote. The union brass may be plump for Topp but the general membership may well be different.

 

You're correct that the Steelworker endorsement probably has only limited effect in directly influencing members - even USWA members - in an OMOV vote.  It does, however, have some significant knock-on effects.

Unlike the last leadership race, affiliates can't actually assign resources to candidates, but expect virtually every USWA local president to endorse Topp as well.  Those few who may personally choose to support other candidates will do so only under the radar.  While I expect many USWA members employed at Vale in Thomson MP will choose to support their own MP and advocate Niki Ashton, you won't hear a peep out of the USWA local.  The best Niki can hope for is that the local executive won't actively campaign for Topp.  If the Thompson local(s) actuall endorse Niki, it would be a major coup.

I the last race, Blaikie was quite startled by how few Manitoba union officials would buck their national unions.  Of course, there were more resources involved back when affiliates could donate money or services.  (Apparently Blaikie's convention TShirts had been donated by one Manitoab local prior to their national union endorsing Layton.  Their donation had to be kept very hush hush.)

While I understand the high value the trade union movement puts on solidarity, I think it unfortunate that it often comes down to little more than democratic centralsm.

Malcolm Malcolm's picture

ottawaobserver wrote:

You didn't mention Robert Chisholm, but it appears he's more or less decided on a run as well, and appears to have picked up at least Ryan Cleary's support based on a Hill Times story of the other day.

I'm hearing that Chisholm is in.  I'm not hearing that he has Cleary.

Malcolm Malcolm's picture

Gaian wrote:
Wilf Day wrote:
ottawaobserver wrote:

Perhaps I'm just cranky today, but I'm reading a lot of nonsense in these threads. I can't wait until we know the full slate, and this blessed race gets underway properly.

Me three.

Make that four, just for fun. CPAC will carry it in its entirety, for sure.

Five.

takeitslowly

is it just me or is this leadership race completely boring so far?

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

Malcolm wrote:

Even if Boulerice's decision to endorse Topp is tangentially connected to the Gaza flotilla issue, I suspect it would have less to do with the substantive issue than with the fact that it marks a personal conflict between two strong-willed individuals.

A personal conflict that I maintain is really a political conflict - or at the very least aggravated by one.

I never suggested that Boulerice endorsed Topp because of the latter's "position on Israel". I don't even know what Topp's position on Israel is (although I have my suspicions). In fact, has Topp ever even made a public statement about the Palestinian question?

It's entirely possible that Boulerice endorsed Topp simply because he's the only declared candidate that has a chance of stopping Mulcair.

Lord Palmerston

Topp thinks the problem re: Israel/Palestine is that the Palestinians turned down too many offers; he has also said that Yitzhak Rabin was a hero of his.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

takeitslowly wrote:

is it just me or is this leadership race completely boring so far?

That's because all the possible candidates aren't in yet, and also no debates yet. Be patient. Expect a laser show at Mulcair's announcement tomorrow (that was a joke from Jennifer Ditchburn on P&P). Laughing

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Lord Palmerston wrote:

Topp thinks the problem re: Israel/Palestine is that the Palestinians turned down too many offers; he has also said that Yitzhak Rabin was a hero of his.

In this article Topp talks about Rabin. I don't want to excerpt it at the risk of twisting his meaning.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

AnonymousMouse wrote:

ottawaobserver wrote:

Fair enough. I believe he feels he has an interest in the carefully negotiated policy being followed, so as not to upset his constituents on either side of the delicate balance, given how heavily his riding was being targetted.

Really good point. I've heard a lot people make assumptions about Mulcair's underlying views on this subject, but I think all we can actually tell from his record is that he REALLY seems to want to maintain the kind of 'carefully negotiated balance' to which you refer.

We already know about Mulcair's delicate, carefully negotiated balance on the middle east file. [url=http://rabble.ca/columnists/2010/12/postscript-new-mccarthyism]Murray Dobbin[/url] has noticed it as well:

Quote:

A year ago I wrote a column reflecting on the activities of the Canadian Parliamentary Coalition to Combat Anti-Semitism (CPCCA), the Canadian branch of the Inter-Parliamentary Coalition for Combating Anti-Semitism. The latter is an international pro-Zionist group whose sole task is to redefine anti-Semitism to mean virtually any criticism of Israel. It developed at the behest of Israel when international criticism of the apartheid state began to seriously damage the image Israel so carefully established over decades -- you know the one, where Israel is the tiny democratic state whose existence is threatened by its powerful neighbours. It was a masterful bit of myth-making and lasted a long time.

But in virtually every country in the world that image is now permanently tarnished. The success of the BDS campaign -- Boycott, Divest and Sanction (BDS) -- is the other side of the campaign to expose Israel's brutal occupation of the West Bank and its continued oppression of the 1.5 million Palestinians essentially imprisoned in Gaza. The BDS campaign is also having a major impact on Israel and the "new anti-Semitism" campaign hopes to slow it down.

Stephen Harper's remarks at the recent (and second) international conference on the new anti-Semitism were so extraordinary for any prime minister to make -- essentially declaring his greater loyalty to Israel than to Canada -- that other aspects of the second international conference of the group got by me. And, I expect, most others.

There aren't many political events that actually leave me feeling physically ill but when I heard some more of the details of who was present for this hate-fest against freedom of speech I got that feeling.

Attending this new-McCarthyism event were: David Johnston, the new governor-general, Peter Milliken, the speaker of the House of Commons, the speaker of the Senate, Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff, and last but not least Thomas Mulcair, the most aggressive pro-Israeli MP in the NDP caucus. Given that this was a private affair (even though they deliberately mislead people with their name -- the Canadian "Parliamentary" Coalition), I suppose it would have been difficult for Jack Layton to stop him.

The problem is that Jack Layton actually sent Mulcair to the event to represent the NDP, a fact confirmed to me by Layton, but never revealed to the NDP caucus.

All of this is truly repugnant from so many perspectives it's hard to know where to start....

Of course nothing more needs to be said about the attendance of Stephen Harper, who gleefully betrayed Canada by stating unequivocally that Israel's interests would trump Canada's so long as he was prime minister.

But if Harper's remarks were consistent with his behaviour towards Israel and the Palestinians, the NDP has, in this case, abandoned every principle it is supposed to stand for -- a balanced Middle East policy, support for freedom of speech, and its reputation, increasingly tarnished, for taking courageous stands when others cower or run for cover....

What possessed Layton to send Mulcair to this offensive gathering is anyone's guess but given that he went begging forgiveness to the Israeli ambassador for remarks made by MP Libby Davies, it should not come as a surprise. Many thought -- hoped -- that it was a mere panic reaction that he regretted. But this is far worse than just having a couple of NDPers in the CPCCA. This is an implicit endorsement of the goals of that organization, including the definition of the new anti-semitism provided by Stephen Harper: "Harnessing disparate anti-American, anti-semitic and anti-western ideologies, it targets the Jewish people by targeting the Jewish homeland."...

When Layton tried to punish Libby Davies he and the party were quickly brought up short by literally thousands of emails denouncing his efforts and his fawning apology to Israel. Mulcair was uniquely responsible for the firestorm, for had he not publicized, and agitated about, Davies' remarks, they would have gone unnoticed.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

Lord Palmerston wrote:

Topp thinks the problem re: Israel/Palestine is that the Palestinians turned down too many offers...

[IMG]http://i55.tinypic.com/106ye1l.gif[/IMG]

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Next!

vermonster

Lord Palmerston wrote:

Topp thinks the problem re: Israel/Palestine is that the Palestinians turned down too many offers; he has also said that Yitzhak Rabin was a hero of his.

He also said that he thinks that Canada should recognise a Palestinian state and should vote for UN membership.

I honestly don't know where he stands on a lot of details of Israel/Palestine questions - but based on his writings, role with the party platform, and statements since announcing, I suspect he attempts to walk a nuanced "balanced" line of supporting statehood, supporting peace negotiations, and supporting Israel. He isn't likely to be as much of a vocal advocate on issues like the Gaza flotilla as some in the party would like, but he certainly goes further than Obama, Harper, Blair, or others who are unwilling to push Israel at  all.

As an interesting piece of history, I can tell you that when he was editing the McGill Daily (back in the early 1980s), he caught a lot of very vocal flak on campus for running stories with a pro-Palestinian point of view. I was never sure if that reflected his personal views on the subject or simply a journalistic appreciation of free speech, but there were definitely times when doing so created a vocal backlash.

 

 

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