TODAY: Brian Topp answers your questions on his candidacy for NDP Leader

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Wilf Day

Brian Topp wrote:
Like all major issues, this one is going to need to be won in advance of the election. So we need to do our work in and outside of the house on it -- to argue for it, to set out our alternative clearly, and to build a coalition who are with us on it. Much as this kind of reform was achieved in advance of elections and votes in other jurisdictions (like NZ).

The New Zealand example is very appropriate. The Report of the Royal Commission on the Electoral System which first recommended New Zealand adopt the Mixed Member Proportional voting system was submitted to the Governor-General on 11 December 1986. It was not until 1992 and 1993 that New Zealanders decided to change to MMP, but the basis was laid in 1986. Just as, in Canada, the basis has been laid by the Report of the Law Commission of Canada published in March 2004. But since it wasn't a Royal Commission (although the Law Commission did just as much work as a Royal Commission including about 16 public hearings), we'll need to talk about it a bit more, eh?

Brian Topp wrote:
. . . many Liberal strategists spelled out why during a discussion about similar ideas a year and a half ago. They argue that if there is no Liberal candidate, something like 50% of the Liberal vote votes Conservative.

Blue Liberals love to say that. The evidence is the opposite. On April 28 and 29, 2011, after the Liberals had slipped to third place in the polls, Angus Reid asked how voters would feel about various scenarios. On “The Conservatives win more seats than any other single party, but the Liberals and the NDP have more combined seats than the Conservatives. The Liberals and the NDP form a coalition government” they found 78% of Liberal voters liked it, 17% did not, and 5% were not sure. On “The Conservatives win more seats than any other single party, and form a minority government’ they found only 20% of Liberals liked it, while 76% did not. Of all voters planning to vote Liberal, only 13% said they would never consider voting NDP.

This doesn't mean an electoral alliance would work. It does mean we can get a lot of folks to vote for us who have voted Liberal in the past, doesn't it?

Brian Topp Brian Topp's picture

Wilf: Yep, much work needs to be done. Mindful that the topic had a pretty good airing in parliamentary committee and, as you say, the law commission. We'll be left with the same judgment call, sometime in 2014 or so -- are we determined enough about this to say that it will happen if we are elected, or so we want to make it contingent on a referendum.

That's interesting polling data and I believe it to be true. Liberals and New Democrats support the idea of working together in Parliament, in the right circumstances, to rid Canada of the conservatives and to replace them with a progressive government (78% support among Liberals, you report -- pity their party reneged on just such an agreement in 2008 in definace of the wishes of their own members).

But the issue before us is how do liberal voters vote when there isn't a liberal candidate to vote for, and that may be a different matter for some of them -- until we persuade more of them to support us, on our merits. A challenge I don't think any gadget, maneuver or shortcut will save us from having to address successfully. But I think we can do it.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

That, unfortunately, is all we have time for. Thanks so much for taking the time, Brian. And thanks to babblers for your great questions and comments. Please join me in thanking Brian for joining us!

Unionist

You have supported sanctions against Iran because of its development of nuclear capabilities. Would you support such a move to convince Israel to eliminate its existing nuclear arsenal?

 

Brian Topp Brian Topp's picture

Many thanks for having me. All the best,
bt

Unionist

Thanks, Brian - I liked all your answers. But mostly, I like that you came here to face some questions.

MegB

Thank you Brian, for your time and your perspective.

Howard

Brian Topp wrote:
I don’t support a military adventure in Iran over this issue. As a middle power that should be dedicated to resolving issues rather than making them worse, we should decline to participate in a new gulf war, and we should call on other parties to do so as well. We should oppose nuclear proliferation in Iran and among all of its neighbours, mindful that Canada is not an imperial power and does not dispatch expeditionary forces to impose our will on those who disagree with us.

Great answer.

ETA: I wish more candidates would make statements like these.

Howard

Thanks Brian. Good luck!

Todrick of Chat...

NDPP wrote:

Brian Topp wrote:
I don’t support a military adventure in Iran over this issue. As a middle power that should be dedicated to resolving issues rather than making them worse, we should decline to participate in a new gulf war, and we should call on other parties to do so as well. We should oppose nuclear proliferation in Iran and among all of its neighbours, mindful that Canada is not an imperial power and does not dispatch expeditionary forces to impose our will on those who disagree with us.

NDPP

better get us the hell out of NATO then...

That will not happen with the NDP.

Socrates Socrates's picture

Thanks Brian, I really appreciated your answers and in particular your willingness to engage in discussions like this. Can anyone imagine a Liberal leader doing something like this? Very much appreciated.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

I had to leave during the last 20 minutes, but I was very impressed, overall. Thanks for coming today, Brian, you did very well.

Todrick of Chat...

Brian Topp wrote:
I don’t support a military adventure in Iran over this issue. As a middle power that should be dedicated to resolving issues rather than making them worse, we should decline to participate in a new gulf war, and we should call on other parties to do so as well. We should oppose nuclear proliferation in Iran and among all of its neighbours, mindful that Canada is not an imperial power and does not dispatch expeditionary forces to impose our will on those who disagree with us.

 

What about Afghanistan and Libya?  The Canadian Armed Forces have dispatched expeditionary forces to impose our will against both these countries in the last decade.

Todrick of Chat...

I though there was an anti-imperialist policy here on Rabble.

 

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

I had forgotten I asked the two questions put forward. Brian handled them very well.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Not to beat a dead horse (sorry) but I really hope Thomas Mulcair joins us sometime for more Q&A. I really need to hear from him. 

MegB

Todrick of Chatsworth wrote:

Brian Topp wrote:
I don’t support a military adventure in Iran over this issue. As a middle power that should be dedicated to resolving issues rather than making them worse, we should decline to participate in a new gulf war, and we should call on other parties to do so as well. We should oppose nuclear proliferation in Iran and among all of its neighbours, mindful that Canada is not an imperial power and does not dispatch expeditionary forces to impose our will on those who disagree with us.

 

What about Afghanistan and Libya?  The Canadian Armed Forces have dispatched expeditionary forces to impose our will against both these countries in the last decade.

You must be mistaking Brian for the (non-NDP) leader(s) who made these decisions and those within the NDP who did not vote against these interventions.

Gaian

Trying again: I hope you have researched some of the stories that Tommmy used to gain access to the hearts and minds of Canadians, Brian. Mouseland was a dilly. And everyone loved Tweedledum and Tweedledee comparisons. :)

Seriously.

MegB

Boom Boom wrote:

Not to beat a dead horse (sorry) but I really hope Thomas Mulcair joins us sometime for more Q&A. I really need to hear from him. 

I have from a very reliable source that one of your favourite hobbies is beating dead horses.  Really, knitting wouldn't do the trick?

Seriously, we've asked Mulcair and haven't heard back yet.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Rebecca West wrote:

I have heard from a very reliable source that one of your favourite hobbies is beating dead horses.  Really, knitting wouldn't do the trick? 

 

Sorry, I have very arthritic hands, can't hold a knitting needle for more than a few seconds.

 

Rebecca West wrote:

Seriously, we've asked Mulcair and haven't heard back yet.

 

I wrote to his campaign after the Nathen Cullen session -a week ago - haven't had a reply.

Todrick of Chat...

The NDP did vote for the interventions against Libya.

There are countless NDP statements honouring the proud men and women killed in Afghanistan, thanking them for thier service.

The NDP supports our imperial forces very much.

"I was deeply saddened to learn of the death of Master Cpl. Byron Greff, who was among the 13 NATO troops killed this morning in an attack in Kabul.

My thoughts and prayers are with the family, friends and loved ones of this brave soldier who was taken from us too soon.

On behalf of all New Democrats, I wish to extend my condolences to this soldier's family, and to the men and women of the Canadian forces who are mourning the loss of their fellow soldier. Master Cpl. Greff made the ultimate sacrifice in service of our country and he will never be forgotten."

http://www.ndp.ca/press/statement-by-nycole-turmel-on-death-canadian-sol...

MegB

Boom Boom wrote:

Rebecca West wrote:

I have heard from a very reliable source that one of your favourite hobbies is beating dead horses.  Really, knitting wouldn't do the trick? 

 

Sorry, I have very arthritic hands, can't hold a knitting needle for more than a few seconds.

I wrote to his campaign after the Nathen Cullen session -a week ago - haven't had a reply.

 

That's really too bad.  Knitting is so relaxing.  We may get Mulcair yet, if enough babblers and others ask him to appear.

Todrick of Chat...

The future of Libya now belongs to all Libyans.

The announcement of the death of former dictator Muammar Gaddafi may mean the end of a long oppressive regime and decades of brutal fighting for democracy.

The members of his regime will have to answer for their crimes during what we hope will be fair, transparent trials that respect the principles of legal and human rights.

Our troops have done a wonderful job in Libya over the past few months. I want to salute the efforts and courage of our troops

The time has come for Canada to withdraw our military operations. We now need to focus on diplomacy and on rebuilding the country. We need to help Libyans build solid democratic institutions. We would like the Canadian government to show leadership on that front.

New Democrats are proud to have supported Libyans in their quest for democracy and will continue to work with the Libyan people to establish a democratic society.

http://www.ndp.ca/press/statement-by-nycole-turmel-on-death-muammar-gaddafi

Not only is the NDP proud of our imperial troops, now they want your imperial mindset forced upon the Libyans via CIDA, DFIAT (our non military imperial forces).

kim elliott kim elliott's picture

Unionist wrote:

Thanks, Brian - I liked all your answers. But mostly, I like that you came here to face some questions.

Indeed, thank you for making the time to stop by and take questions from babble, Brian. While it is great to hear you and others on CBC interviews -  like your interview with Anna Maria Tremonti on the Current today - there are too few opportunities like this one, for people across the country to ask questions directly.

Good luck with the campaign - and hope to see you around these parts again soon.

Howard

Rebecca West wrote:

Boom Boom wrote:

Rebecca West wrote:

I have heard from a very reliable source that one of your favourite hobbies is beating dead horses.  Really, knitting wouldn't do the trick? 

 

Sorry, I have very arthritic hands, can't hold a knitting needle for more than a few seconds.

I wrote to his campaign after the Nathen Cullen session -a week ago - haven't had a reply.

 

That's really too bad.  Knitting is so relaxing.  We may get Mulcair yet, if enough babblers and others ask him to appear.

First question to Mulcair, when did you stop beating your wife?

Second question, now that we have established you are a sexist, imperialist, anti-union, Liberal, Blarite, angry, divisive, and "dumpy looking" man, would you be interested in serving in the party a few more years so you can properly get to know us?

Laughing

Psst! Btw, Leader Paul Dewar would like to let you know that he has a cold seat available at the back bench of the House of Commons, now that Deputy Leader and several critic roles have been handed out. Thanks for all the good work in Québec!

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Howard wrote:

Second question, now that we have established you are a sexist, imperialist, anti-union, Liberal, Blarite, angry, divisive, and "dumpy looking" man, would you be interested in serving in the party a few more years so you can properly get to know us?

You forgot "elitist". Just trying to be helpful.  Smile

1springgarden

Thanks Brian.  Good answers.  I'd be very comfortable with you as NDP leader.

Fidel

Todrick of Chatsworth wrote:

There are countless NDP statements honouring the proud men and women killed in Afghanistan, thanking them for thier service.

The Liberal Party forwarded a motion on April 24, 2007 to continue Canada's military occupation of Afghanistan until 2009. The NDP voted against that motion because the NDP did not support that extention.

On April 30th 2007, Jack Layton put forward a motion in the House for Canada to immediately notify NATO that Canadian troops would withdraw from Afghanistan.

Which parties voted with the NDP then?

Gaian

You WILL ask these embarrassing questions from real events, Fidel! :)

Unionist

Fidel wrote:

The Liberal Party forwarded a motion on April 24, 2007 to continue Canada's military occupation of Afghanistan until 2009. The NDP voted against that motion because the NDP did not support that extention.

Heh. The NDP voted with the Conservatives to defeat the Liberals and the Bloc, by 150 to 134.

Conclusion: Instead of winning a clear majority vote of the House to end the combat mission in 2009, Layton stood firm and insisted on losing a vote one week later to end the mission immediately.

Brilliant tactics, brilliant command of arithmetic. Hail to the chief.

 

Todrick of Chat...

Fidel also has forgotten about Layton's and Black's plan for the military to support NGOs (force protection and such) within Afghanistan after the combat mission ended.

If I am not mistake Layton supported the current training mission in Kabul.

Both, Rebecca and Field have short memories that the NDP supported the Libya mission for a very long time.

It is okay, the NDP are selling out now so they can get elected in 2015.

Todrick of Chat...

From the statements I have seen from the current NDP leadership candidates, the Canadian people will likely not get much of socialist party from the next generation of the NDP.

And it appears rabble is not will to ask tough questions to the candidates in fear of embarrassing them

Fidel

Unionist wrote:

Fidel wrote:

The Liberal Party forwarded a motion on April 24, 2007 to continue Canada's military occupation of Afghanistan until 2009. The NDP voted against that motion because the NDP did not support that extention.

Heh. The NDP voted with the Conservatives to defeat the Liberals and the Bloc, by 150 to 134.

Conclusion: Instead of winning a clear majority vote of the House to end the combat mission in 2009, Layton stood firm and insisted on losing a vote one week later to end the mission immediately.

Alternatively, the Conservatives voted with the NDP for a change, except that the Conservatives were simply keeping the door open for further extensions as instructed by Warshington at a later date. Colonial administrators tend not to want to be bound by such limitations in writing. Canada's Liberals were merely speculating on a 2009 withdrawal as Liberal democrats in the U.S. were mulling over keeping their own election promises to withdraw their troops.

Had the NDP voted with the Liberals to extend the mission, we can bet this would have been interpreted by you as the NDP supporting the military occupation of Afghanistan, no doubt. 

Stephen Harper lost a good number of his best friends forever in Michael Ignatieff and the Liberal Party after the last election. Canadians have no need for a redundant conservative party.

Fidel

Toddy there are more than a dozen registered political parties in Canada. We're guessing you must be an aspiring NDPer since you never mention a valid alternative to the NDP. Wink

janfromthebruce

I appreciated you coming onto Babble today and responding to some members thoughtful questions with equally thoughtful responses. I too think you would be a good NDP leader - good luck!

 

And I thought the questions from the crew were very respectful and that Brian answered them clearly and honestly.

Todrick of Chat...

Fidel wrote:

Toddy there are more than a dozen registered political parties in Canada. We're guessing you must be an aspiring NDPer since you never mention a valid alternative to the NDP. Wink

I am actually a bit of anarchist. I do not believe in large political parties, they can not serve both the party and the people at the same time.

There are many alternates to the NDP.

Fidel

Name one.

Slumberjack

I had every intention of staying out of it entirely, but the expeditionary force comment was just too much you know.

NDPP

Everybody knows politicians tell lies to get elected, surely..? Still, what a howler!

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