Thursday, March 22, 2012

Why I support Thomas Mulcair

First off, those of you that read this blog know I am not a New Democrat, but you should also know I want all parties to do their best and have their best people in the leadership.   I am realistic, there will be a change of government in Ottawa at some point and I want the next government to do their best and that government needs to be the NDP.

That said, given the way the Conservatives have been acting for the last few years, especially the response to  the latest robocall stuff, I am not sure I can support the party any longer.   If not the Conservatives who else?   It comes to the NDP, which means it is more important to me the NDP has a leader I think will be the best choice.

In my opinion Thomas Mulcair is the best man to lead the NDP into government and here are my reasons.
He has worked with people from across the political spectrum while in government and has shown he is pragmatic.  He has actual experience as a cabinet member, the only one of the people running for the leadership that has that experience.

Thomas Mulcair also has real experience working in politics outside of the groupthink that can infest the NDP at all levels.  His experience in a provincial government cabinet also means he has an understanding of the needs of the provinces and I would hope this would lead to a better and more equal federal/provincial relationship in Canada

New Democrats I think are, or have been, good MLAs or MPs are Mike Harcourt, Rob Fleming, Mike Farnworth, Ed Shreyer, Denise Savoie, Lana Popham, John Horgan, Roy Romanow, John Cahore, Norm MacDonald, Corky Evans and Nathan Cullen.  There are four candidates supported by these people, four for Mulcair, four for Brian Topp, three for Nathan Cullen and one for Peggy Nash.   You would think based on this I could be backing Topp or Cullen.

I do not see anything that indicates to me that Nathan Cullen is ready to lead the party.  Nice guy, but not ready for the job.  He would benefit from a term as a government MLA in BC, I think he should step down from being MP and run in 2013 in BC.  I also look at his list of supporters and see people that I would call outsiders and not core New Democrats

The list of supporters gives me a good sense of what general faction within the NDP each candidate is coming from and that leads me to Mulcair.

I see three major branches in the NDP.  A centre left reformist wing that is close to Tony Blair Labour in the UK and the Labor government in Australia, I see Mulcair representing this strain.  A "pragmatic" wing that wants to be in power and being in power matters over all else - this is the faction I see Brian Topp representing.  Finally there is the traditional left wing branch of the party and I see Peggy Nash being the candidate for them.  

I know that there are many policy directions of the NDP that really will never work for me, but I think it is only under Thomas Mulcair that the NDP will be close enough to where I am politically for me to be able to actively support the party.

It is also important to me that there is a clear alternative to the Conservative government that can govern from day one and govern well.   This means the NDP needs to solidify its' position as the clear alternative.   I can only see Thomas Mulcair doing this.   He is politically closer to the majority of Canadians than the other candidates and he is clearly the candidate most likely to keep the Quebec gains for the party.

My two biggest concerns about Thomas Mulcair are that he may be hard to work for/with and he may not understand the west.

If I did not have to join the provincial NDP along with the federal one, I would be very seriously considering joining the federal NDP if Thomas Mulcair wins.


Ian said...

While I understand the NDP history and culture (even the strategic advantage) of joining the provincial and federal parties, I think it holds the party back in different sectors. Perhaps the default could be to join both but provide a check box to opt out of the other branch.

On Mulcair, it's interesting to hear your take. We should remember that Harper had no cabinet experience (although look how that turned out). I worry that Mulcair is the most partisan and least likely to cooperate. He already denounced any possible coalition with the Liberals - a bit premature and a position that could bite him in Quebec. Nash is too Big Labour / old NDP for me, Dewar needs better French, and Topp needs a seat. This leaves Ashton and Cullen near the top of my ballot.

Bernard said...

I think the idea of a coalition with the Liberals federally is a fundamentally stupid idea. The Liberals bring nothing to the table and are fading away at the moment, though if the NDP screws up bad enough they could revive the federal Liberals.

With the Quebec break through and the proven ability to win seats in 9 of 10 provinces, there is no reason the NDP can not win an election and win it with a majority.

Neither Cullen nor Ashton have the skills to lead a government in waiting. If either one of them is chosen the Liberals spring back to life. Nathan Cullen is a nice guy, but he has no background experience indicating he can be PM in waiting.

Only Topp or Mulcair have the skills and experience to be the leader of the opposition in 2012.

Skinny Dipper said...

I think your three-camp assessment of the NDP is pretty good. Thomas Mulcair represents the pragmatists. Brian Topp and Peggy Nash represent the tradionalists. Nathan Cullen represents the outsiders which is different from the pragmatists in that much of his support comes from people who traditionally support the Liberal Party. I don't know if the latter group supports Nathan Cullen because they truly believe in some co-operation agreement or if they want to weaken the NDP so that the Liberals can rebound again.

Anonymous said...

I could be wrong, but It's my understanding that if you join the provincial NDP you're automatically a member of the federal party, but not vice-versa.

Bernard said...

I all the provinces except Quebec, joining the NDP means joining the provincial and federal party at the same time.

In the territories this is true in Yukon, but I do not think it is the case in NWT or Nunavut