Monday, December 12, 2011

My thoughts on the NDP leadership candidates

(Dec 13th, I changed the order a bit this morning)
This roughly in the order that I like them (you will note that true to form I am once again not behind candidates that have any real hope of winning)

Top Two - roughly equal for me:
Romeo Saganash - (48 years old) (7 months as MP) - Anyone that has been involved with Cree and First Nations politics for going on 27 years has the skills to lead this new NDP caucus.   He also has some real administrative skills in governance in his years with various parts of the Cree world.  He has also been involved with major public and private sector negotiations and has shown he can get things done.

Nathan Cullen - (39 years old) (7 years 6 months as MP) - The only BC candidate in the race.  He is also a rural MP that has been elected four times.  He understands the resource economics and First Nation issues.   These are two crucially important issues in Canada.

One more very important fact about him is that he is fluent in Spanish.   With the growth in wealth in Latin America it is becoming more and more important for Canada to have a stronger presence there.  Having a potential Prime Minister that could speak directly with the media there will heighten our influence.

He does have four rural BC MLAs supporting him, but that is it.  He is lagging far behind Brian Topp for BC support.

Next Three - roughly equal for me:
Peggy Nash - (60 years old) (3years 7 months as MP) I have to admit I do not know as much as I would like about her, but her endorsement by my MP Denise Savioe says a fair amount to me.

She has been a CAW negotiator, and this means she has some real skills.  She also speaks Spanish.

Realistically the NDP will not win the next federal in 2015, the party has to be thinking of government in 2019.   This becomes a problem for Peggy Nash as she will be just short of 68 before becoming Prime Minister.  This would make her the oldest person to become Prime Minister in over 120 years and the oldest person to win their first mandate as Prime Minister.

Thomas Mulcair - (57 years old) (4 years 3 months as MP, 12 years 6 months as MNA, 2 years 10 months in cabinet) - I am very mixed about him.   I hear stories of what he is like as a person to work with and this concerns me.   I was also concerned that his support seemed to only be in Quebec, but recently he has gained one former Manitoba premier, one current BC MLA, 2 former BC MLAs and two former MPs from the west.

He is the only person running that has actually been in a cabinet.   This experience is important and does mean he is better prepared to be Prime Minister than the others.

Age is also not on his side.

Brian Topp - (51 years old) (Deputy Chief of Staff to Sask Premier for about 7 years) - His experience working directly with the premier gives him skills that very few MPs have.   The fact he has been endorsed by Roy Romanow says he must have done a decent job.  He is apparently the architect of the deal to bring the Liberals on board with the government after getting a minority in the 1999 Saskatchewan election.

What worries me about him is how hard he seemed to have worked to try and get other people not to run for the leadership.   I also have to wonder why only two current or former Saskatchewan MLAs are backing him.

The other four, this is the order I like them in:

Nicki Ashton - (29 years old)  - (MP for 3 years 11 months) She is young, though she has been on the political scene since 2005 when she was just 23 years old.   She is the daughter of Steve Ashton, a Manitoba NDP cabinet minister and the challenger to Greg Selinger for the Manitoba NDP leadership in 2009.

She was elected as an MP in 2008 and re-elected in 2011.   I have to wonder why she did not run to become an Manitoba MLA and get some years of experience as a cabinet minister.  I assume because her father is MLA for the town they come from is part of it.

She also is splitting the NDP provincial caucus with Paul Dewar.

Paul Dewar - (49 years old)  (5 years 10 months as MP) I am not convinced he has the background or experience to become the national leader.   It is also an issue that he does not speak fluent French.  I do like his strong support of Fair Vote Canada in the past.

Robert Chisholm - (54 years old) (7 months as MP, 5 years and 4 months as MLA, leader of the NS official opposition for 15 months, NS NDP leader for 4 years 3 months ) He does not speak French and therefore is wasting everyone's time by running.  He does have 12 years experience as an MLA in Nova Scotia.  He was leader of the official opposition in Nova Scotia for 15 months from 1998 to 1999.

Martin Singh - why?   Seriously, why is he running?  There is no indication he has ever run for any office at any time in his life and wants to start by becoming the Prime Minister in waiting?


Ian said...

So why is Niki Ashton at the bottom of your list besides pure ageism? She has fought hard for her community and is proving her skills in the Wheat Board fight (whether or not you agree with her).

Bernard said...

First is her Lack of experience is the primary thing. Without a decent amount of experience in politics it is not realistic to be the leader of the official opposition. Experience matters.

I can not see here having the experience to ensure she has the skills to manage the caucus, deal with the media and prepare for an election.

Second is that the she is not getting the majority of the Manitoba MLAs to back her. One has to ask why the New Democrats in her own province are not backing her.

Third is that I know very little about her. I look over her website I and I see nothing telling me why she wants to be the leader. I am trying to understand why she thinks Mulcair, Topp, etc... are not up to the task to being leader and why she would be better.

As I am writing this, I am trying to find out more about her. Since she joined the race on November 7th, there is very little new out there about her.

All I have really found out is that she speaks Spanish and Greek though I have no idea how fluently.

I also found her 10 point plan, but it reads like a buzz word slogan document and not a plan for government.

Fourth, it looks like she is running to raise her profile which is something I really do not like. I now this is one of those old school politics moves that young ambitious politicos try, but the race is not about building your own personal career. She loses some of my respect for that.