Questions for Brian Topp 2

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Questions for Brian Topp 2

Continued from here.

Issues Pages: 

Mr Topp, you speak of the hard part of governing, and point to your experience as Deputy Chief of Staff to Roy Romanow as an example of your experience with making the tough decisions. Do you believe the choices you made contributed in any way to our party now sitting at historic lows in its birthplace, and the province of Saskatchewan last sending a New Democrat to Ottawa five elections ago?

dacckon dacckon's picture

(They did win more seats under Lorne Calvert)


The slashes to Saskatchewan healthcare occured in '94, a year after Topp's arrival. A year later the NDP held government but dropped 13 seats, and then a further 13 in '99. Topp departed in 2000. If I'm not mistaken, Calvert didn't win more seats in 2003, he won precisely one more.

I simply don't understand Topp's boasting about such a record.



Do you understand anything about the financial situation the Devine government left that province in?


No, I don't think that people consider the "economic picture" when they walk down memory lane. I think about the Rae govt in Ontario for example and know that in the last year they finally balanced the budget and righted the books but you wouldn't know that by how the MSM portrays that govt.

In fact, the NDP is a good news story - the first govt out of deficit before any other govt in Canada. I have sat on a school Bd and so yeah, I've made decisions about the bucks.



ottawaobserver wrote:

Do you understand anything about the financial situation the Devine government left that province in?

That was 1991. Let's focus a little later:

[b]Questions[/b] for Brian Topp:

Were you involved in the Saskatchewan government legislating an end to the power workers' strike in 1998 and the nurses' strike in 1999?

What are your views on collective bargaining as part of the Charter freedoms of expression and association?


janfromthebruce wrote:
In fact, the NDP is a good news story - the first govt out of deficit before any other govt in Canada.

The provincial NDPs are supposed to eat other's blunders and crap wonders under the neoliberal financial regime of things. And if they don't do it over the course of one four-year term in the middle of a Mulroney-induced nation wide recesion in the 1990s, then what good are they, really? 



Some babblers obviously are uninterested in asking questions of the candidates. Perhaps they should let others ask, though? Just a wild radical thought.



ottawaobserver wrote:

Do you understand anything about the financial situation the Devine government left that province in?

Of course. I also understand Topp's and Romanow's remedy for it was indistinguishable from any fiscal conservative, by gutting services and breaking faith with public sector workers. Choosing this path, IMO, cost the Saskatchewan NDP not only power but its very reason for existence (selecting Calvert and Lingenfelter were the nails in the coffin Romanow built), and why our last Saskatchwan MPs were elected in 2000.

So, again: why is this a model we should want to emulate?


What do you see as the role for the Canadian military, particularly in Canada's foreign affairs?


I have been politically active my entire adult life - indeed, for some time before that, too.  Not radical roots - my father was a "red Tory," my aunt a deeply involved Liberal, and my mother always voted, but would never tell us for whom.  (I have my suspicions ...). They all were also involved outside of electoral politics - union members, community organizers, social worker, John Howard society volunteer, my mom was an environmentalist before that was a thing to be, in a mining town.

I've never been a member of a political party, but I have voted in every election - school, cooperative, municipal, provincial, federal - I've been eligible for, and I've worked on a couple of campaigns.  I've felt best about it when I could vote for someone like Libby Davies.

I am involved to varying degrees in campaigns around the environment, Palestinian human rights, the antiwar movement, women's rights, First Nations treaty and human rights, my kid's school's PAC, cooperative housing and a national housing strategy.

I work in healthcare, raise two children with my husband, live in a co-op, care about my neighbours, am a Canucks fan. All this is to say I'm a pretty ordinary Canadian, I think.

In 2015 I will be joining the 40 percent who do not or no longer vote.  I will walk to the polling station with my kids and explain to them that I believe I say more to power by not voting.  Politics is not a game - it's not baseball, not poker, not a boxing match - it's how we choose to organize ourselves to take care of each other.  And we are really coming to it.

I'm not Pollyanna, i'm not naive, and this isn't a lob - it's not about moving the NDP to the centre.  I'm sure you're a decent human being, but I wouldn't vote for you, either.  And I don't think it bothers any of the leadership candidates too much to lose me as a voter.

Am I wrong?


flight from kamakura

uh, yeah.  by refusing to add your voice, you're making others' voices that much more meaningful.  if 100 people make decisions for a community of 200, there's something seriously wrong.  you need to get with it, and choose the party that best represents your views, then vote for them.

party platforms are basically aggregations of an enormous number of individual preferences, and almost by definition, any one policy will not align exactly with your views.  but the thrust of the policy matters, and there is almost always a tangible, measurable effect on your life, whether it be direct (as in the case of taxes) or notional (as in reference to the values that you would like to believe anchor your citizenship or whatever).  abrogating your responsibility - as so many foolish leftists do - just gives that much more power to those who promote, support and legislate against your interests.

thought experiment: if your lone vote decided the election for the 308th seat, in a perfectly divided legislature, would you vote?  of course.  now imagine that you = 2000-4000 people in each riding in canada.  if everyone made their decision assuming that their vote could be the one, we'd have permanent progressive majorities.

so yeah, you're wrong.


I don't believe I asked you, FKK.  And as someone who, as you wrote, would gladly sign on to the Iraq war if the US would just leave the arctic alone (a paraphrase, I admit), I don't give a fuck what you think.  In fact, you are just about the perfect example of everything I despise about "politics."

flight from kamakura

which is why you'd want me making decisions instead of you?

dacckon dacckon's picture

I rewrote this comment because it would have involved alot of personal attacks and cussing. Let me sum it up in bullet form so I can save a bannable comment for later.


  • You post on internetz, you hear opinions of internetz
  • Mandatory Voting - You pay taxes, might as well take 5 minutes
  • Still refuse? Pay a fine. Money goes into services. The voter wins. 
  • I pay taxes for Harper's shit agenda -> it sucks -> I and others suffer because of a couple of "Threw It On the Ground" losers.
  • I do not like when people involve their children in politics. Let them grow up as individuals to decide what they believe.
  • You better watch that Threw It on the Ground video.

Another question for Topp now that I'm on this subject- What do you think about mandatory voting? Also geoengineering.


Ripple wrote:

In 2015 I will be joining the 40 percent who do not or no longer vote.

I take it you feel that the parties are basically the same?

Unfortunately our FPTP system in Canada does limit us to having a few homogeneous "big tent" parties. Joining Fair Vote Canada might be the best way to help us get more political choices.

The NDP supports fair voting/PR, so it may be worth voting for them in order to fascilitate more voter choice in the future through the establishment of a multi-party system.

Also, Brian Topp supports fair voting/PR.


The Guardian newspaper is reporting that key Obama officials are increasingly convinced that sanctions will not deter Iran from pursuing its nuclear programme and believe the US will have no option but to launch an attack on Iran or watch Israel do it.

Assuming such a scenario is true, what is the strongest intervention/position the NDP can/should/will take with both allies to discourage or avert any such attack plans? What is your position on Iran and its nuclear programme?


Dear Mr. Topp

I listened to your appearance on CBC radio's [url=]The House[/url] today (Saturday Feburary 18th) and I noticed on that occassion your use of a phrase to describe your opponent Thomas Mulcair that I also recall you using several times in past interviews.  My best transcription of the comments would be:

Brian Topp wrote:
I don't agree with the basic direction [Thomas Mulcair] wants to take us, which he was quite clear about when he launched his campaign he believes we should become a much more quote-unquote centrist party.


I don't think New Democrats can win by quote-unquote moving to the centre

Can I take from your use of the words "Quote-unquote" that you are directly attributing those words verbatim to Mr. Mulcair. If Mr. Mulcair has said those words I would be most alarmed so I would be pleased if you could direct me to the speech or press release where he said those exact words.



Sincere thanks for all your hard work for the New Democrats,



Brian, could the NDP endorse a change in tax law to make political contributions to a federal political party a refundable rather than a non-refundable credit?  I ask because I gave up my job a while ago to go back to school, and thus I am living off of savings.  So, if I donate $100 to the federal NDP, it costs me the full $100, whereas if I donate to the provincial NDP (I live in Ontario), I get back a credit of 75%, and thus the donation costs me only $25.  This seems to disfavour those who are unemployed and living off of savings and also those on social assistance.  Admittedly, such a change would be a further cost to the government, but I feel it would be a justifiable cost to ensure equal opportunity to the political process for all. 

I suppose I could bring up a resolution myself at convention for this.  Could you describe (or direct us to the policy online) how members go about getting resolutions to the convention floor?


Those are good suggestions Mark. And good luck @ school. Kiss


janfromthebruce wrote:

Those are good suggestions Mark. And good luck @ school. Kiss

Thanks Jan.


Disclaimer:  I haven't read every post in this or the previous thread, so if my question has already been asked, then my apologies for being redundant.


Brian, I read your recently released proposal of environmental policies for the NDP.  As had been policy within the past platforms of the NDP, would all revenue from cap and trade be directed solely to programs for the environment (like retrofits, public transit, etc)?  I ask because I didn't see that specified in your policy release when I read it (though I may have missed it if it was in there).


I agree that Mulcair will end up moving the party to the centre. I don't think its a question that he 'wants to.' Maybe he does, maybe he doesn't. What we will GET if he were Leader will not be determined by Mulcair's abstract preferences. [This is going to be a question by the way.]

Your critics have a point Brian. Mulcair always says that he wants to move the centre to the NDP, NOT move us to the centre. So, here's your big chance to explain. Or you could forget about framing it is relation to what you have said about Mulcair, make your own case for the basic direction the party needs to go and with which we can win.

If the mods pick my question, I's suggest keeping it simple with just the 3 lines in the second paragraph.


You were the 2011 Platform Chair, and had a strong hand in earlier platform crafting as well.

Tom Mulcair answered your query of him, and reiterated later, that cap and trade was a better form of raising general revenues than raising income taxes on anyone. Because the debate structure is limited, you were not able to eleborate on your reply "that is not NDP policy." Would you like to eleborate now?


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