Lessons of Scarborough-Guildwood (a low-decibel, high-respect, post-by-election discussion thread)

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Ken Burch
Lessons of Scarborough-Guildwood (a low-decibel, high-respect, post-by-election discussion thread)

The results are in.  The issues are still being debated.

This is intended to be a thread in which a positive conversation can occur about various topics related to the S-G situation and its aftermath.

Possible themes that I see:

1)Which is of greater value..."star candidates" or a solid program of change?)


3)The roles of identity and gender politics in reactions to S-G

4)If it were to turn out that the party leadership had, in some way, helped influence the nomination in question, could the result at the byelection be taken as a vindication of such influence?

5)Would anyone argue that this result means that the ONDP and the federal NDP should drop their traditional refusal to bring "parachute candidates" into particular contests, or should more be done to make sure that nothing that looks like a parachute candidacy should ever be allowed to happen in the NDP at any level?

6)How important is it that a byelection or general election candidate have a real, personal connection to the riding she or he is contesting?  What, if anything outweighs such a connection?

7)(if this can be done respectfully...and I'm not sure it can be, but let's try)What should happen next with each of the two people in question in terms of their future role in ONDP politics?

8)What changes should be made in the nomination process for byelections in order to prevent a recurrence of the toxic situation that this particular nomination caused in S-G and throughout the ONDP? 

9)anything else other people would like to add.






Issues Pages: 
Ken Burch

Obviously, "al-ow" is meant to be "a low", but this old laptop messed me over and you can't edit OP's.  I've asked the mods to fix it.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Done, Ken! As a no-charge bonus, I also corrected "Scarborough," "decibel" and "by-election." 

Ken Burch

Thanks...damn, didn't realize I'd had THAT many spelling errors. 


Ken Burch wrote:
Thanks...damn, didn't realize I'd had THAT many spelling errors.

Don't worry, there's always the odd spelling misteak.

Maysie Maysie's picture

Aristotleded24 wrote:

Don't worry, there's always the odd spelling misteak.

But those are very rare.


I like your second point, Ken.

Ken Burch

OK, I've apparently totally bollixed the OP. 


Anybody interested in actually discussing any of the topics I DID manage to list?


Many of these "points" are irrelevant.  Anyone should be allowed to seek an NDP nomination, if they want to.  Because you believe having a personal connection with a neighborhood is important should not void others democratic right to seek an NDP nomination in any location they so chose.  We would not have most of our Federal NDP Quebec caucus if this was a `rule`.  Many prominent NDP politicians do not live in their ridings (Charlie Angus, for example), but are still quite valuble to both the NDP and their constituencies.  In fact, Mr. Angus is consistently voted one of the top Consistuency representatives.  

Ken Burch

Adma, check your pm's.  Had something to ask of you there.  Thanks.


No argument here that Holyday's name affected things much more than Giambrone's did. In Etobicoke Holyday is viewed almost as a legend, and would arguably be still Mayor of Etobicoke, were it not for amalgamation. I can easily see streets and neighbourhood rinks being named after him in due course.


I agree with Adma's point...in fact I wonder whether if Holyday had not run in E-L. Giambrone might have run there instead of in Scarborough?


Well, I'll take one of the more petulant posts from the other thread and address a few items...

"29% is an all-time high for the NDP in a barren riding like Scarborough-Guildwood. With another candidate no one had heard of and in a short three week campaign - the NDP would have been lucky to avoid an Etobicoke-Lakeshore style result (7%)"

Well, post-Orange Crush, we should accept all-time-highs as easier to come by.  And as I've suggested in the past, Scarborough-Guildwood isn't necessarily so "barren" once you factor out the AudreyAlexaHowie lull that carried on into the first three Layton-led elections.  The CCF/NDP have had a reasonably strong history in Scarborough--maybe less in some parts of Guildwood than others; but even those were often relatively strong zones in weak-ish past ridings.  And in certain regards, Guildwood's demographic "evolution" ought to actually work *to* the NDP's favour--but that's been camoflauged by the Grits sponging up that erstwhile/latent NDP strength over the past quarter century.  The Orange Crush (and before that, 2007-model Neethan Shan) finally saw that window open up a little; yet I sometimes wonder if the party's fully digested the lessons of that "opening up", which is why Scarborough-Guildwood is still too often spoken of in terms of a pre-Giambrone wasteland--it's like we're still viewing electoral dynamics through a nineties-and-noughts prism where everything was "inevitably" either single-digit or teens in share.

So, may I say this re the petulant "Etobicoke-Lakeshore-style result" comment: actually, I'd argue that Doug Holyday affected the E-L NDP result far more than Giambrone affected the S-G NDP result.  He changed the game, turned it into a one-two battle of the giants that left P.C. Choo utterly pummeled--otherwise, w/a more "generic" Tory candidate in place, going by provincial pattern the NDP's share might have been at least double or even triple of what it was.  (And it might have been an easy Milczyn slam-dunk as a consequence; but hey, you can't have everything.)

And even if the S-G NDP might have done worse w/o Giambrone, I suspect that their benchmark would have been closer to the 19% in S-G in 2011 than to E-L-style single digits--and here's another important reason why: a Hunter vs Karupa race simply wouldn't have registered as an NDP-oxygen-depleting "battle of the giants" a la Milczyn vs Holyday.  (Yeah, I know, neither was Ottawa South's race, and the NDP had a "star candidate" of sorts there--but she was up against both a weaker regional party base *and* the McGuinty machine.  And I'd argue that, aside from the machinations that led Holyday to be the PC candidate, the Ford family had less real impact on the E-L race than the McGuinty family had on the OS race.)


Or, *even* with Holyday running there--that is, a more authentic "three-way", Choo's trustee past notwithstanding.  (And there's something about South Etobicoke that seems more "symbiotic" w/Giambrone-land than East Scarborough--a west-end Queen-car yuppie/hipster-trajectory thing maybe...)

In any event, the actual E-L byelection result (which is more what one'd expect from Etobicoke Centre, really) shouldn't dissuade the NDP from future efforts or even "targetting" in that same constituency--which, in large part, was itself NDP a generation ago, after all.  And neither the Kingsway nor condos should be a barrier, any more than seemingly dominant affluent areas were in K-W or London West.  (Indeed, let it be said that the Kingsway is of far less consequence to E-L than Rosedale is to Toronto Centre.)

And let's remember, too, that having done his party a favour, there's no guarantee that 70something Holyday will run again; or that his coattails will extend to his successor...


Ken Burch

Thanks, Adma.