NDP Leadership #91

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duncan cameron

The lack of discussion of substantial issues was indeed disappointing. The party runs the debates, and the questions were sort of silly. Why should you be the leader sort of thing.

No questions about China, or Syria, emminent invasion of Iran, the role of the Euro, financial crisis of European banking, or even Canada-U.S. relations, let alone how to move towards justice for Palestine.

The ongoing civil war in Libya could have been raised, and would have embarassed the party. So what? The overall lack of substantial discussion hurts the NDP more than exposing its policy weaknesses to public discussion.

Overall the discussion was Mansbridge like in its lack of substance.

RDI and Newsworld are covering Whitney Houstons career. The RDI report played after the debate in BC talked about the debate being held in the future. The NDP story was on Romeo leaving the race, yesterdays news.

wage zombie

Unionist wrote:

Nash says - yes to Kyoto, no to torture. Peace.

Have you noticed that in a debate which supposedly focuses on world affairs, no one has had the nerve to talk about Libya, or Syria, or Iran, or Israel, or Palestine?

Boring, irrelevant, disconnected from our reality. Very very discouraging for the future of Canada.

Bookish Agrarian wrote:

News flash- you and the American's foreign policy priorities are not the foreign policy priorities of everyone else.  Some of us are concerned about development and poverty.

Our current military engagements are not a priority?

Development and poverty?  Latin America, for example, doesn't need us to increase our aid funding--they need us to stop the Canadian mining companies from stealing their land and resources.

flight from kamakura

i can't believe there are still three debates to come.  seems really excessive, particularly given how the race is shaping up.  and if money was the main impetus for saganash's departure (which many are suggesting it was), i'd guess that ashton is the next one to drop out.  and if she does, judging by tonight's exchanges, i think there's little doubt she'd endorse mulcair.


writer writer's picture


Canadians once took special pride in our role as a constructive and influential nation on the world stage. Today, that reputation is in steep and rapid decline.

This Conservative government has demonstrated how poorly it understands international law and diplomatic relations, embarrassing Canada at every turn.

The opposition to serious action on climate change has earned Canada a reputation as a dinosaur among nations. The defining proof of Canada’s fall from relevance was, of course, our failure to win a seat on the UN Security Council; a clear rebuke to what not so long ago would have been an automatic place at the table. Now, the Foreign Affairs Minister says Canada won’t even try again.

This retreat might be considered a small thing were the practical consequences not so serious. Canada’s voice on the great questions of our time is not heard. We no longer receive consideration when important decisions are made. Our opportunity to contribute to real solutions is diminished.

Canada needs a new and effective foreign policy, designed by people who understand how the process works and are willing to implement it. We need to invert the way we look at global issues. Turn it on its head.

Instead of reacting to each new situation as though it were an isolated and unique event, we need a long-term vision of our shared global future. That vision should be based on adherence to constructive process and a clear sense of our values.

My twenty-plus years of international diplomacy tell me that only when we treat people with respect and listen carefully to them can we find the common ground upon practical solutions are built. Foreign relations are no different from relationships with your neighbours, friends and family. Respect leads toward solutions.

Terrorism, civil war, and war between nations have the same roots in a failure to respect international law, human rights and the humanity of others. We cannot disrespect these values when it suits us and then expect that others will follow them.

As much as we may feel disgust, fear or dismay when we see the heinous acts of some so-called leaders, we must not fall into the trap of demonizing them, shutting our ears and shutting off any hope for progress. Killing the next Hussein, Bin Laden or Gadhafi will not prevent other despots from arising.

We must be clear about our values. Canadians cannot claim to stand for peace and so easily opt for war. We cannot claim to prize humanity and allow so much suffering. We must understand our connection to others on this planet in a more direct and personal way. Their future is our future. Their failure is the failure of us all.

If we are to prevent crises rather than haphazardly react to them, we must understand how to reconcile our goals with our own values and to reconcile those with the goals and values of others. We must build our foreign policy from this foundation, with clear objectives, perseverance and integrity.

All Our Relations: Thoughts on Canadian Leadership.


I really hope Ashton does not drop out and she did quite well today. My hunch is that she will hang in there.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

I feel quite discouraged that candidates might feel they may have to drop out because of lack of funding. It was terrible to lose Saganash, it'd be just horrible if Ashton at some point has to drop out for the same reason - these are two incredible candidates; far better than either Dewar or Singh in my opinion.

flight from kamakura

i'd very much like to see saganash as our new foreign affairs critic. 


Thanks for posting that writer.

It would have been nice to have at least someone in the mainstream press comment on how much Saganash was missed in today's debate instead of the usual pablum they spin out.



wage zombie

flight from kamakura wrote:

i'd very much like to see saganash as our new foreign affairs critic. 

Me too.  I guess it's never too early to start a member-based push for that.


I watched and listened to the debate in French. I think while their fluency varies greatly, the language issue itself should not eliminate anyone providing they are willing to keep up the French lessons. My opinion of the candidates doesn't have much value since I'm not a member of the party, however: if the NDP want their best shot at government in 2015 I think that lies with Mr Mulcair. If they want a good shot at government in 2019 or so I think that lies with Ms Ashton, and if they just want a popular leader I would go with Mr Cullen.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Saganash can serve two critic's roles: Aboriginal and Northern Affairs, in addition to Foreign Affairs. (oops - is Charlie Angus already serving as Aboriginal and Northern Affairs critic??)


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