Adequate vote weight from Quebec is essential to leadership vote

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Northern Shoveler Northern Shoveler's picture

Gaian wrote:

might not completely alienate the new spirit of social democracy in Quebec

I thought that the Bloc was a social democratic party and the NDP's only progressive ally in the last few Parliaments. It is my opinion as an outsider that the spirit of social democracy has been stronger in Quebec for the last three decades than arguably anywhere else in Canada.  I believe in their political acumen and am sure that there will be a rush of membership sales in the province.   

Pogo Pogo's picture

Wilf Day wrote:

They did this to prevent the hard-core zealots in the party strongholds dominating the party, to the detriment of those who wanted to reach out to a broader base, often because they were in ridings held by other parties.

 

When you consider ridings that are not NDP strongholds, the membership usually is pretty similiar ideologically to the rest of the membership.  They will however have more passion about local issues.  Farmers will care/know more about farm issues, bus riders will care/know more about transit, etc...

Northern Shoveler Northern Shoveler's picture

Pogo wrote:

Wilf Day wrote:

They did this to prevent the hard-core zealots in the party strongholds dominating the party, to the detriment of those who wanted to reach out to a broader base, often because they were in ridings held by other parties.

 

When you consider ridings that are not NDP strongholds, the membership usually is pretty similiar ideologically to the rest of the membership.  They will however have more passion about local issues.  Farmers will care/know more about farm issues, bus riders will care/know more about transit, etc...

I would tend to agree that the membership across the country has the same percentage of "hard-core zealots."  By definition that would seem to imply a samll percentage of the membership. Otherwise they would be called the mainstream of the party. 

If in fact there is a difference I would think going away from a OMOV system would lead to the problem Wilf says he is trying to fix.  It is far easier for a "hard-core group of zealots" to take over riding associations with very few members than it would be to try and take over the membership of a large riding association.  Seems to me that in places where there are large memberships the tent has been enlarged and frankly there are just not enough "hard-core zealots" available to dominate a larger organization unlike a riding association that currently has a few dozen members or less.  

Krago

Northern Shoveler wrote:
It is far easier for a "hard-core group of zealots" to take over riding associations with very few members than it would be to try and take over the membership of a large riding association.

Like, say, Thornhill?

Gaian

Gaian wrote:
Gaian wrote:

Thanks for bringing this forward, Sean. The other parties are hoping this ball is fumbled, particularly the Bloc, which would so love to trumpet New Democratic failure at its own leadership convention in December. It must re-assemble the lost, social democratic flock under a nationalist shepherd or fail.

One can only hope that party central has an answer in mind, avoids shining a light on the numerical lopsidedness that has always been the weak link in Confederation...and that would be used again by political enemies to stymie social democratic progress. The media are searching for any sign of conflict. A hint of conflict across cultural lines would be tragic, with so much progress having been made. The importance of bringing that group of bright, optimistic youngsters before the entire Canadian political audience cannot be overstated. All avenues much be explored.

Having slept on this thought, it now seems to me that "party central" gave Ed Broadbent the task of anointing a fellow who - if an undisciplined party should just happen to ignore the central message in this thread - might not completely alienate the new spirit of social democracy in Quebec. (And is the current mood there really so very lop-sided as indicated above? And can Rabble bring us up to speed, reassure?)

Here is what letter writer, Ian Guthrie of Ottawa, had to say in the Globe and Mail this morning:
"The structure of the vote for NDP leader appears to be against Thomas Mulcair, which must be frustrating to him as he can claim much of the credit for the NDP's Quebec success in the election (Mulcair Concedes That He Faces An Uphill Battle In NDP Leadership Race - Sept. 20).

"If he is not successful in the race, my prediction is that there will be considerable disgruntlement in Quebec, the grievances will pile up,and in a year or two Mr. Mulcair will lead an NDP equivalent of the Bloc Quebecois, fragmenting national politics, again."

He has framed the challenge very well, except that I believe that the "old" Bloc would again find the NDP's social democrats once again in its nationalist fold...and the framer may not be friendly. And I don't know why this possibility does not cause more anxiety in this forum, bring some assurances from Rabble that it can be more informative in this way. A word from Brian Topp (when he has a moment) would be wonderful.

The social democratic roots of the Quiet Revolution were clear to me as I watched it grow a half-century ago from its birth.

Policywonk

Northern Shoveler wrote:

Sean in Ottawa wrote:

Have you signed up members at this rate or been part of a campaign that ever did this? Adding 20k members is a feat so great that it cannot be counted on. Of course there are other options-- delay, additional party resources etc. as well.

The BC NDP now has 30,000 members and it is my understanding that the membership more than doubled during the recent leadership race that is added over 15,000 members. 59 MP's offices signing up only 10 memberships per week times 26 weeks adds up to 15,340 members.   If BC can sign up those kinds of numbers with only about a third of the NDP voters then it should be doable in Quebec.  

Yes it is a daunting task but lets face it if someone had told you a year ago that the NDP needed to win 59 seats in Quebec me, you and everyone else would have said they were nuts to think we could go from 1 seat to 59.  Maybe just maybe the people of Quebec are capable of taking care of their own interests and don't need us to give them a hand except one extended in friendship that says joins with us.  I think talk of carve outs is actually sending a message to Quebec voters that we don't really believe they support the NDP and that it was all just a fluke unrelated to the party's policies and quality candidates.  

I don't think the MP's offices are allowed to sign up members.

I wonder how many of the 15,000 new members in BC will still be members at the cut-off date (not that there won't be other members who have signed up since then).

 

Policywonk

Wilf Day wrote:

I have advocated for years the equality of ridings provision that the PC Party uses in Ontario, and the federal PC Party used to use (unlike the Reform Party), and which Peter McKay insisted be used by the federal Conservative Party. They did this to prevent the hard-core zealots in the party strongholds dominating the party, to the detriment of those who wanted to reach out to a broader base, often because they were in ridings held by other parties. Quebec was the prime example. Sounds like our current debate, eh?

I never found many people agreeing with me. It would have taken a constitutional amendment. I don't think any riding ever submitted such an amendment. I never even tried to get my riding to do so, since I knew it would go nowhere.

So we have an OMOV system. That's beyond debate.

I heard Peter Julian say weeks ago that the Quebec section once had 15,000 members, and he had no doubt the figure would be well above that by the time of the leadership vote. I think it will be between 25,000 and 35,000. In order to get there, of course everyone will need to work at it: all candidates, the party organizers, our friends in the labour movement.

In Quebec the teachers have their own public-sector unions' central, the CSQ; Anne Minh-Thu Quach was/is very active in it, sitting on its general council. I expect many others were also, such as Robert Aubin.
http://www.radio-canada.ca/nouvelles/Politique/2011/03/23/003-csq-contre-conservateurs.shtml

25,000 to 35,000 seems optimistic, but 15,000 seems pessimistic.

Malcolm Malcolm's picture

Stockholm wrote:

Even when the NDP had delegated conventions to pick leaders - they always pro-rated the number of delegates each riding was entitled to by the number of party members in that riding.

Although there was a minimum number of delegates from a riding regardless of membership, and the additional delegate threshhold was such that smaller ridings effective always had more delegates per member.

That said, giving equal weight to all ridings is plain stupidity. There is absolutely no incentive to grow the membership. Indeed, it leads to what in the US used to be called Post Office Republicans - whywould a Republican in solidly Democrat Georgia want to recruit more Republicans if it meant having to share the spoils of patronae we the Republicans were in the White House?

Sksocialist

When Quebec sells 15,000 memberships in the next 5 months this article will be a moot point

Northern Shoveler Northern Shoveler's picture

Policywonk wrote:

I don't think the MP's offices are allowed to sign up members.

I wonder how many of the 15,000 new members in BC will still be members at the cut-off date (not that there won't be other members who have signed up since then).

 

You are right selling memberships out of the office is against the rules and tacky to boot since it is an office to represent all constituents.  I just meant the people around the MP's and was thinking more of meet and greets and community events.  

A "Have Your Say in the Leadership" theme paid for by the central party would be a great idea. I would hope the party does a good on line job with a user friendly membership signup.  In BC many people just went on line and bought memberships. I think that method can be effective at signing up young people especially if it is coupled with a sophisticated social media campaign in both official languages.

There could be many members in BC whose year will be up before the vote.  Of course their names will appear on the membership lists all the candidates will receive so I expect many will continue on even if originally they had merely signed up to vote.  

In BC I think only 17,000 or so actually voted so as in a real election campaign candidates will be looking to motivate their supporters to actually vote. 

 

flight from kamakura

well, as much as i would like my vote to count for 4 bc votes, 3 ontario votes, etc., i still think that the next leader ought to be selected by means of omov.  my hope is that, as muclair suggests, the party begins a major organizing campaign in quebec.

like on one side, some of the decision-making folks in the ndp just don't seem to the scale of the problem, while others see it as a quebec-accommodationism that will re-orient the party forever.  but i don't really understand why it has to be seen in such manichaean terms: just get the membership campaign running over the next few months, get the ndp in the news in quebec, do direct advertising, make it a real quebec debate as much as a canadian one.  i mean, i could see 100k people in this province joining up, seriously.

nicky

Rex Murphy has just weighed in vociferously on this issue. He called the limited Quebec role in the leadership selection "absurd", "nonsense on stilts" and "suicidal politics". He said that the party establishment is maintaining the current system to freeze out Mulcair, "warning him" not only that "the cards are stacked" but that he should "stay away from the table."

 I don't usually agree with Rex but he was completely correct tonight.

KenS

You should go back to your usual.

If anything, when you agree with Rex's spidey sence, its time for a check-up.

KenS

Can it get sillier?

As if anyone thinks Tom Mulcair could be 'warned off'.

Bets on how many weeks before Rex and the rest are talking about the Mulcair juggernaut?

Sean in Ottawa

The comparison to BC seems very odd to me.

The NDP in BC has held either government or opposition there for decades.

It has always had a substantial infrastructure.

It has always had large numbers of activists.

It suffered a loss in popularity where many people who had been members let their memberships lapse so had a very large pool of former members to resign.

What of all this is even remotely comparable to the Quebec situation?

Seems like we are just going to wish Quebec good luck and hope they get the members without any plan B.

The optimism is based on an assumption that activists of the type to hold membership will flock to the NDP to the same degree as voters and that the fact that the softer BQ went NDP but some believe the more politically active people in the BQ remained with the BQ.

In any case I am astonished we would not only want to take that gamble but also signal that we are willing to which sends the worst message to prospective members.

While one person pointed out that if we do nothing and Quebec gets the members then we will have proven a point. Well that is true also if we do nothing and the membership drive is still perhaps half that leaving Quebec with less than 10% of a voice.

Let us be blunt about one thing-- there will be membership drives everywhere. Quebec does not have to just catch up to the rest of the country where it is now but to where it will be in 6 months. Quebec does not need 20,000 members -- it needs 20,000 members more than what the rest of Canada signs up. Those saying that this is no big deal I think are being naive and gambling the entire future of the party in the process.

And there are so many options as I said-- massive supported drive, reduction in fees, formula to give all provinces (not ridings) proportional weight, the carve out discussed in a one time arrangement, further delay in the voting, special voice for MPs... It is not as if it is one of these or nothing -- it is any of these or nothing. Choosing nothing over all of these seems pretty bloody minded, insensitive to the real challenge and risky.

flight from kamakura

agree with sean, but i wonder if some ottawa types don't want quebec to get a proportional say in the leadership/party, and just hope that the token of the leader's speaking french and staking out issues that resonate in the french media will be enough to keep the quebec seats so that they can continue running the show as during jack's rule.  if there's big membership in quebec, mulcair probably sails into the leadership chair, and fundamentally re-orients the party.  i think people are afraid of that, and that many would be willing to take a chance on losing a good portion of the quebec seats to protect the status quo.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Rex was his usual idiotic faux outrage self, almost foaming at the mouth. I think the CBC directed him to drive a wedge in the NDP between Topp and Mulcair.

ottawaobserver

nicky wrote:

Rex Murphy has just weighed in vociferously on this issue. He called the limited Quebec role in the leadership selection "absurd", "nonsense on stilts" and "suicidal politics". He said that the party establishment is maintaining the current system to freeze out Mulcair, "warning him" not only that "the cards are stacked" but that he should "stay away from the table."

 I don't usually agree with Rex but he was completely correct tonight.

He would be right if the vote were to be held on the basis of membership counts today. But there will be six months of sign-ups before it's taken, and at least three leadership camps (if not four or five) with enough networks in Quebec to conduct significant sign-ups there between now and then.

I honestly believe that, even though he rubs some people the wrong way, people are bending over backwards to ensure the race unfolds fairly and that Mulcair is not disadvantaged or alienated.

And I also believe that the media, aided and abetted by the Liberals, is bending over backward to try and sow division and exacerbate anything that resembles it that they can find, the facts be damned.

Stockholm

Rex Murphy I've decided is the world's most revolting person.

Exhibit A: First he declares that Jack Layton is the most overrated politician in Canada. then after Layton passes away he solemnly intones that Layton "the most overrated politician Canada" was also the ONLY reason 4.5 million people voted NDP and that the party is doomed without him.

Exhibit B: He launches one salvo after another attacking the NDP for supposedly "pandering to Quebec". I think that in Rex's warped brain-dead little world - the only way a party could possibly gain support from Quebcers is by "pandering" to them - of course no one ever "panders" to Newfoundland or Alberta. He rakes the NDP over the coals for supporting self-determination for Quebec and for supporting the idea that Quebec should not have a smaller proportion of seats in Parliament than its share of the population - that's PANDERING to Quebec. But now ALL OF A SUDDEN good ole Rex has changed his tune and is now criticising the NDP for not pandering to Quebec enough and having a pure OMOV process for picking a leader. Now Rex thinks that the NDP should do exactly what he previously said not to do - and rig the voting system to give Quebec far more weight in the process than its share of the NDP membership currently merits.

I am not one of these people that sees anti-NDP conspiracy under every rock - but Rex Murphy is really in a class of his own. He basically contorts himself like a pretzel to find some sort of anti-NDP angle out of EVERYTHING 100% of the time without fail. This guy is not just some wingnut blogger for the National Post or Sun Media. He is the host of Cross Country Checkup and appears on The National for the CBC - our state funded networkd that makes some vague pretence to being neutral. Its an outrage that the CBC can give such a platform to someone who is so singlemindedly and relentlessly biased against one party.

I offer a challenge to anyone reading my post - find a single solitary example during the entire career of Rex Murphy when he has said or written anything about the NDP that hasn't been 100% negative.

Policywonk

KenS wrote:

Can it get sillier?

As if anyone thinks Tom Mulcair could be 'warned off'.

Bets on how many weeks before Rex and the rest are talking about the Mulcair juggernaut?

I don't know aboout a juggernaut, but regardless of who wins, they will have to win significant support outside of Quebec. If Mulcair can't do that he doesn't win anyway.

theleftyinvestor

Regarding BC: In the leadership race earlier this year, a total of 19992 votes were cast in the first ballot (advance, distance and in-person).

The sign-up deadline to vote in the race was January 17, 2011. The default "join us" form on the BCNDP site solicits a regular monthly donation; but anyone who clicked through to the one-time donation form would have purchased a membership that expires one year later. The deadline to join for the federal race is February 18, 2012. So it is entirely conceivable that some cohort of BCNDP members will drop off the roster. There does not seem to be any provision for lapsed members to renew after February 18 and still be able to vote.

I suppose that anyone who joined the provincial NDP out of interest in the leadership race would be even more interested in the federal race. But there is a certain cohort of members that was signed up specifically by the Dix, Farnworth etc teams and may not have cared all that much except to "support the guy that Mable/Jenny/Joy/etc supports". Those members are the ones likely to drop off the list.

nicky

Let's have a pool. If the present system remains in place just what percent of the vote will Quebec have?

If it now has 1700 out of about 90,000 that is 2%. Just say it increases to 15,000, a figure that has been used I think by Peter Julian, although it is unclear where he gets it. And the rest of the country also increases by only 15,000. That gives Quebec 15,000 out of 120,000.

I think these figures are overly optimistic and that membership growth in the ROC will greatly outstrip Quebec during a hotly contested leadership with candidates from BC, Ontario via Saskatchewan and perhaps Manitoba and Nova Scotia. AND during five provincial election campaigns in the ROC

But using my figures for the sake of argument, that still only gives Quebec 12.5 % or about half its share of the population and one third of its share of the votes cast nationwide for the NDP. It will be outvoted by the ROC not by 3 to 1 but by 7 to 1.

Does anyone think that would be accetable?

It won't be just Rex Murphy and Chantal Hebert saying that is a political abomination.

 

KenS

Well, for what its worth, there is no where in the NDP that there is an existing institutional base for signing up members. Even on an occassional basis, when the incentive is there. While there are of course exceptions, its laughable how many sign-ups there generally are for contested nominations where the NDP is probably or certainly going to win.

But I agree that even the 15,000 in Quebec figure is going to take more than laissez faire, 'you'll see what the various camps do."

But it is at best unhelpful people STARTING with conspiracy notions that 'the centre' wont raise a finger because they dont want Mulcair or are afraid of a Quebec base.

It's simple: they dont know how to do it, or where to start. And there are of course balancing and brokerage conflicts that are a drag on people from just throwing into it. But those are there for EVERYTHING the NDP might do.

ottawaobserver

theleftyinvestor wrote:

The sign-up deadline to vote in the race was January 17, 2011. The default "join us" form on the BCNDP site solicits a regular monthly donation; but anyone who clicked through to the one-time donation form would have purchased a membership that expires one year later. The deadline to join for the federal race is February 18, 2012. So it is entirely conceivable that some cohort of BCNDP members will drop off the roster. There does not seem to be any provision for lapsed members to renew after February 18 and still be able to vote.

I understand the BC party has a membership rule which is being recognized by the federal party that a membership is in good standing for voting up to 2 months after it lapses (presumably if the person pays up again when they vote).

So I understand that affects a certain proportion of the new members from last year's race.

I'm getting this third hand, so perhaps someone who understands it better could clarify.

ottawaobserver

Nicky, I'm not saying the party doesn't have a *potential* issue on its hands, but (a) it is one that's theoretically capable of redress with a little time and good will, and (b) it is kind of the result of Quebec deciding to opt out of federal politics, for all intents and purposes, over the past 20 years, as Paul Wells argued in response to Chantal Hébert:

Paul Wells wrote:

"We're swimming in paradox," Hébert writes. "In 20 years, Quebec has never been so cool toward sovereignty and the parties that advocate it. But it has also never been so absent from the places of power and political influence of a Canada to which it nonetheless seems destined to continue belonging. Find the error!"

Okay. I'm pretty sure the error lay in expecting any other result.

If I left my house for 20 years and then came back, I should reasonably expect the house to be in shoddy repair, or occupied by strangers. I might really be looking forward to coming back. I might have all kinds of fun ideas for decorating and entertaining. But my decision to neglect that house for 20 years would have easily predictable consequences. We can phrase this more generally: Actions have consequences.

Similarly, if the voters of a province - let's call it "Quebec" - devoted the vast majority of their political effort, attention and allegiance for 20 years to a party that has no interest in most of the country, it would not be a huge surprise to discover that otherwise pan-Canadian political organizations would have limited presence in Quebec and vice versa. It's great that millions of Quebecers have, at least in some limited and provisional way, changed their minds by voting for parties besides the Bloc Québécois on May 2. But their earlier actions have consequences.

...

...this strikes me as the direct result of political choices made in Quebec by Quebecers. I've had two generations of Quebec Liberal Party grandees rush to insist to me that they have nothing whatsoever to do with those out-of-touch Chrétien/Martin/Dion/Ignatieff Liberals. Fine. There used to be a Quebec provincial NDP. For a minute there in the late '60s it actually looked like it might flourish. But most of its members left for the Parti Québécois. Fair enough. Was the NDP supposed to print tens of thousands of membership cards for phantom Quebecers who wanted nothing of it?

None of this means the Harper government has no obligation towards Quebecers. It should provide services to them on the same basis as other Canadians. It should not hand out substantially more pork, proportionately, to other provinces than to Quebec. It was maybe not super-brilliant of Angelo Persichilli to explain to the Globe that he planned to be really nice to the Quebecers, and then turn down an interview request from La Presse.

But some of these questions are hard questions. How much of a political party's energy should go toward a population that shows it no interest? Ask Jean Chrétien, who flew right over Alberta for the duration of the 2000 campaign.

But, some say, Quebec is a nation and a founding peuple and a distinct society and a unique constituent of the Canadian mosaic, or one day it will leave. You're actually going to get a lot more sympathy for that argument from me than from a lot of anglos. But actions have consequences. You spend two decades ignoring national parties, you should expect national parties to have atrophied Quebec wings. How long will it take to fix that? I don't know. Not four months. Longer. Assuming everyone's in good faith.

Stockholm

Incidentally, has anyone else noticed that despite Quebecers currently being just two percent of members, so far almost alll the candidates for the leadership are either Quebecers or have very deep ties to Quebec (I.e. Topp, Saganash, Mulcair Julian etc....) or are perfectly bilingual (ie Ashton). At this stage the 98% of NDP members outside of Quebec seem to be bending over backwards to make sure that the next be a Quebecer (however defined).

Northern Shoveler Northern Shoveler's picture

I personally don't believe that the people of Quebec are petty so I think this whole issue is a joke.  I can't imagine any real humans who after having been invited to join the party (hopefully on many, many occasions)  would then try to claim that the process was unfair to them.  Media pundits and separatists are the only people I could see that would be that petty.  

The NDP is a national political party and it is electing its leader.  I believe strongly that all democratic organizations should have one class of membership with equal voting rights in elections for leaders and candidates. Given the QS model of doing politics I doubt if that concept is unheard of in Quebec.  

 

Caissa

If the NDP is a membership based party I don't see any option to OMOV to select leader. Any other type of voting says the NDP is something else. Providing the same number of votes per ridng, weighting ridings or provinces or having the caucus pick the leader I believe reduces the NDP to being merely a parliamentary party. I hope it can and will be more than that.

Malcolm Malcolm's picture

I'm surprised by the number of babblers prepared to parrot the corporate media talkig points about a something that MAY be a problem six months from now. I'm even more suprised by the number of babblers advocating solutions that would directly undermine the growth of NDP membership in Quebec.

Well, on second thought, this is just par for the course.

knownothing knownothing's picture

Malcolm wrote:
I'm surprised by the number of babblers prepared to parrot the corporate media talkig points about a something that MAY be a problem six months from now. I'm even more suprised by the number of babblers advocating solutions that would directly undermine the growth of NDP membership in Quebec. Well, on second thought, this is just par for the course.

I agree. They will sell 1000's of memberships there in the next 5 months and this will not even be an issue. OMOV is the best way and the other parties are just jealous because they don't have democracy in their parties.

Sean in Ottawa

It is insulting to say Babblers are parroting. Malcom you may not agree but this is raised as a concern we have considered and shared. We could be respected that much here could we not?

What of my idea for a campaign with events and a publication -- or some product out of it designed to represent the aspirations of a progressive federalist Quebec....

Such an initiative could support and make more likely the big membership increase people here are either taking for granted or hoping we support but all of us agree we want.

Northern Shoveler Northern Shoveler's picture

Having candidates from other provinces doing a series of debates in Quebec against Quebec's own sitting MP's running for the leadership will do more for Canadian unity than any tinkering with OMOV.  Julian has far deeper roots in Quebec than Mulcair has roots in BC so he is a real player if the NDP takes off in Quebec.  

I am heartened to read Flight from K's prediction of an easy 100,000 memberships. I am convinced that if the people of Quebec want to have a say in the leadership they will pay for right the vote.  I am not convinced that all Quebec members will support only Quebec candidates. Again I am an outsider but I don't imagine that Quebec members will be universally parochial and only chose from Quebec candidates.  Especially when offered quality candidates from across the country, all of whom will be bilingual.  

160,000 is 10% of the people who took the time to go to the polls and mark an X for an NDP MP.  BC's 30,000 is about 5%. I was thinking of gains to the 2% to 3% range but I like F_f_K's predictitions better. 

flight from kamakura

i didn't say "easy" 100k members, i said with the right campaign, it could be done.  and i'm serious.  if there's major quebec buy-in, if people feel like they own a part of the party and movement, yes, i could see a vast (what we call) national debate about the right leadership.  but that's the sort of thing that would require an explicit campaign on the part of the ndp, something along the lines of advertising etc., with a theme of "it's your ndp, make your choice!"  in those conditions, there's no question in my mind that there would be massive participation.  really, if there were others here who witnessed the mulcair 2007 by-election phenomenon on the ground, buy-in was scaled, there was a gradient of intensity of support, as elsewhere in good ndp ridings.  in 2011, buy-in was obviously much less intense, but obviously much more diffuse.  the trick as i see it is to convert a certain portion of that diffuse support to intense support, and though i think that mulcair could probably do a good job at that, the sort of campaign he'd have to run to achieve that would be as quebec's candidate, which wouldn't be a very good thing for the party, win or lose.  a centrally-organized campaign would be best.

the problem is that this is unlikely to happen, and that we're more likely to see adhoc campaigns arise in the towns and neighborhoods, probably most organized around the person of mulcair.  it'll be (far?) less effective, and with a polarizing effect that could hurt the ndp in quebec in the event of a mulcair loss, or elsewhere in the event of a mulcair win.  and the candidate knows this too.  he's using the media to try to get an assist, and you can't blame him for that, but he also realizes that the assist he'd get would be a major party-building exercise.

you know, and it's not a conspiracy theory to suggest that some people would put their jobs and positions ahead of the good of the party, as i've suggested many might well do.

Sean in Ottawa

What would the party have to lose to engage in a real campaign for members along these lines?

People should get on their horns and demnad the party do this.

If we accept that a delay is not good for the party (and I agree there)

and a carve out is not right

and a weighted result is not right--

Why not committ whole heatedly to a full-on NDP HQ organized campaign for memebrs-- allow people to support a candidate if they want but they don't need to sign up with one. The key is to get the voting numbers of Quebec memebrs up there so there is a strong Quebec voice in the memebrship of the party. Can't see how that is a bad thing.

I fully expect tehre will be campaigns in the rest of the country as well but the real glaring deficit is in Quebec and that must be addressed now and with substantial resources and imagination.

As I said I would make these a series of events and produce soemthign special from it-- videos perhaps publication soemthign to reflect and show off this new progressive voice which is the Quebec NDP.

wage zombie

Another solution would be a French site that encourages meetups, and allows people to schedule "membership meetups" in people's homes, where maybe 4-5 members are getting together in one of their homes, inviting maybe a dozen other people that they think might be memberships, serve refreshments, and talk about how they can get a lot of people signed up.

If the right tools are built and put in the hands of people to use them that might be the best strategy at this point.

wage zombie

Is there any way to track membership signups by different candidates?  Perhaps the real costs of signing up members can be subsidized by current members looking to encourage membership in Quebec.

For example, I would be willing to donate 1 penny per membership signup in Quebec to each candidate.  I suppose if the party were directly signing up members and releasing figures like that I would be willing to donate 1 penny per signup to the party as well.  Or to riding associations.

If there are 25,000 memberships sold that would put me on the hook for $250, split up between different candidates and perhaps the party.

If 300 people (less than 1 per riding) made the same pledge, that's $75,000 raised to subsidize costs of signing up new members.

Taken further, with the right tools in place there's no reason why this just has to be about our need to increase membership in Quebec.  As a BC resident I could be pledging 1 penny per new membership in BC and 1 penny per new membership in Quebec.

The possibilities could go beyond that, again, given the right tools in place:

If I could make a pledge per riding, i'd also pledge 1 penny per new membership in my parents' Ontario riding, where I grew up and where a friend of my dad's is running (provincially, and ran federally).

If there were stats released about membership signups then perhaps I would be able to pledge 1 penny for each new member aged 19-25.  Something like this (age demographics) is probably way too ambitious for this time.

But, all that's needed are the right tools in place.  Those tools could just be a powerful website, and there's no reason that such a site couldn't be built by the end of the year.  So that's one solution.

It's Me D

wage zombie wrote:
Perhaps the real costs of signing up members can be subsidized by current members looking to encourage membership in Quebec.

For example, I would be willing to donate 1 penny per membership signup in Quebec to each candidate.  I suppose if the party were directly signing up members and releasing figures like that I would be willing to donate 1 penny per signup to the party as well.  Or to riding associations.

I would be on board to make such a commitment as well. I think it would be a great way to contribute to the party, the leadership race, and growing the NDP in Quebec. As I said above, I'd rather contribute to a membership drive in Quebec than to an individual leadership campaign, and I think many other NDPers out there would feel the same; the party just needs to give us the tools and be prepared to make effective use of the money raised.

Wilf Day

flight from kamakura wrote:
i could see 100k people in this province joining up, seriously.

To someone from Ontario, that sounds over-optimistic, but Ontario folks are unaware of the extent of political activism in Quebec. I could see it too; I'm betting on 25,000 to 35,000, but if the campaign gets momentum and takes off, I could see 50,000. While I doubt anything over 80,000 is realistic, yet 100,000 is not impossible.

nicky wrote:

15,000, a figure that has been used I think by Peter Julian, although it is unclear where he gets it.

His personal knowledge. He was once Secretary of the Quebec Section, and 15,000 was the peak membership.

Gaian

It is heartening to see that SEan's concerns are widespread. Clearly the right-wing pundits are hoping to be able to report that non-francophone New Democrats reject Mulcair et al . This must not be allowed to happen...and contrary to those engaging in wishful thinking, it could indeed take place. Gosh knows where they come up with their hugely optimistic numbers for Quebec members.

Let's just hope that Brian Topp - wearng his other party hat - is ready to respond to the concerns voiced in this thread. Ready to take some kind of action, WZ.

But, again, how do we access opinion within the ranks of Quebec New Democrats? Wouldn't it be just fine if one or more of those terribly bright youngsters told the Conservative pundits to stop plotting against a movement for Canadian unity that's flying a realistic pan-Canadian banner of equality for the first time.

wage zombie

wage zombie wrote:

But, all that's needed are the right tools in place.  Those tools could just be a powerful website, and there's no reason that such a site couldn't be built by the end of the year.  So that's one solution.

I spoke a bit too soon.  As a web developer I tend to think of the technical parts of the problem.  But since there are rules about funding sources for the leadership candidates then there might be things to sort out about how the money flows through the party, I'm not really sure.

WilderMore

How many Quebec NDP members were there when Jack layton was elected Leader? See what I'm saying? If a beloved saint of a man could get elected to lead the NDP with practically no members from la belle province, why is there suddenly a problem this time around? Sounds to me like Mulcaire is just a spoiled brat. Stalin to Layton's Lenin. Who's Trotsky? Topp?

Sean in Ottawa

It is not how many members alone that matters but the concern about that in view of the number of votes that came from Quebec -- unless of course you want to reverse the last election and go back to next to no support in the province.

If we want to keep that support we need to address this. If we want to keep support outside Quebec and have the participation of others outside Quebec we also need to handle this properly otherwise we could end up in a wave of backlashes both in and outside Quebec.

If we do nothing to address this in Quebec, NDP voters will recognize the problem and no candidate from outside Quebec will have a chance. I think this is in part why we have so few running with nobody from outside Quebec in the race so far. People need to realize you don't just hurt Quebec-- inequality is a disease that hurts everyone and the compensation for it in some places will create more problems if it is not appropriate.

If we firmly dealt with the problem I think candidates from outside Quebec would feel able to participate but otherwise they can't. Who wants to be a candidate elected from anywhere but Quebec with Quebec having almost no say and then be responsible for holding the vote in the next election? This could explain the reason we have had so many not run. This is an urgent matter as it is poisoning the race in my view and very much on the minds of those considering running and even a factor in the extreme and unwarranted advantage Topp now has.

Put another way-- if Quebec does not vote in great numbers the rest of Canada will on their behalf and the resentment for that will be felt both in and out of Quebec. In Quebec because it is paternalistic and outside becuase no other candidates except those from Quebec can be relevant in the dynamic.

I feel extremely alarmed about this and am looking for the party to address it somehow-- doesn't have to be weighting or carve-out but it does have to be somehow. We already have a very thin field and people  are wondering why. It is limited to those with Quebec ties because the rest of Canada making a decision for all of Canada understand the responsibility. But they may resent that responsibility at some point as well and the field is unnecessarily weak because of it.

nicky

Malcol writes:

I'm surprised by the number of babblers prepared to parrot the corporate media talkig points about a something that MAY be a problem six months from now.

If you look up my past posts you will see that I voiced concern about this problem as long ago as August 25, long before the media took note.

it would be more accurate for you to say that the corporate media is parroting me.

Gaian

Malcolm wrote:

I'm surprised by the number of babblers prepared to parrot the corporate media talkig points about a something that MAY be a problem six months from now. I'm even more suprised by the number of babblers advocating solutions that would directly undermine the growth of NDP membership in Quebec.

Well, on second thought, this is just par for the course.

Malcolm, don't you think that waking to any problem "six months from now" would be far, far too late? Criminally so, given the givens, the historic nature of the matter?

No, justice has to be SEEN to be done in this matter, or the neo-cons win again because they control the means of informing the Canadian populace. And of course, anyone guilty of "directly undermin(ing) the growth of NDP membership in Quebec" would stand out like...well, like dung on a well-cropped pasture.

Malcolm Malcolm's picture

Gaian, what I'm saying is that there won't be a problem six months from now because there are going to be a lot of memberships sold in Quebec. Frankly, if the Quebec proportion of the overall membership isn't at or near at least 20% by the cut off date, we have a much bigger problem than optics.

Pogo Pogo's picture

I don't think that voters are going to worry about the process unless they disagree with the outcome.   If a 'Quebec positive' candidate is chosen, Quebec voters are not going get up in arms about the process.

 

Wilf Day

Pogo wrote:

I don't think that voters are going to worry about the process unless they disagree with the outcome.   If a 'Quebec positive' candidate is chosen, Quebec voters are not going get up in arms about the process.

Can you imagine how it would look if Topp wins, Julian is second, and Mulcair third? So I certainly support the Quebec Section getting help with a membership drive. Back when they once got 15,000 members, I believe they had staff paid by the national office.

flight from kamakura

^ yeah, at that point, i really do wonder if the narrative in quebec wouldn't shift to something very favorable to a bq revival.  no point in saying that it's a shame that jack didn't have a couple years to re-orient the party as a function of consolidating the quebec gains.  i also worry that the polls right now showing quebec support riding high could well be misread by non-expert new democrats across the country as suggesting that the party as usual is sufficient, rather than seeing in those quebec polls the anticipation of a quebec-oriented leadership.

StuartACParker

Sean in Ottawa wrote:
It is not how many members alone that matters but the concern about that in view of the number of votes that came from Quebec -- unless of course you want to reverse the last election and go back to next to no support in the province.

I think this is the core point here, Sean. Many of the arguments I have seen opposing your view are based on what the caucus, membership and leadership candidates do or should want. This misses the point. As a national party, we need to expand our horizons and look at our relationship with the public at large.

As we move from a party designed to contest less than fifty seats to one that is contesting all 308, we need to change our structures to match this. Back when our concern was maintaining a small caucus, it only made sense to give disproportionate weight to ridings in which we were well-organized relative to those in which we were not. We needed leaders and policies that would ensure the re-election of our incumbents and our viability in a handful of targeted ridings where we had laid down considerable organization. Today, what we need is a decision-making process befitting a national political party.

One of the things that allowed Reform/the CA to go from a regional gadfly party to a national party was this very measure: reassuring its new allies in the Maritimes and Quebec that their smaller, less-organized riding associations would receive equal voting power to Calgary-Southwest, Wild Rose or Kootenay-East. Imagine how quickly the Tories would have shed their new friends east of the Ottawa River (and those in Souther Ontario who look for a party with a truly national perspective) had they allowed the city of Calgary to outvote Quebec and the Maritimes. Well, we may soon find out if we allow Vancouver to outvote Newfoundland, New Brunswick, PEI and Quebec combined.

That's not to say that there won't be real internal benefits to a system of riding-by-riding equality. Such a move would suddenly render it efficient and logical for Brian Topp and every other leadership candidate to descend not just on Trois Rivieres to sign up members but on Moncton and Charlottetown too because proportionately, signups there would be of more value in the final result.

Sean in Ottawa

I am prepared to leave the discussion of OMOV and weighting till later on the condition that real effort is made that addresses the imbalance between Quebec's population, NDP support and membership. That is where the immediate emergency is. And there are other provinces where the NDP vote grew suddenly as well.

I don't want to fight this to the end on a single solution because I don't want the voting system question to trump the emergency of dealing with the issue. In other words I don't want to press one solution over all the others out of fear that opposition to one solution could leave the impression that there is an option to do nothing. Nor do I think it is right to polarize discussion between two options -- doing nothing and doing one thing. If we first accept that we must do something -- then we can debate which solution with doing nothing already off the table. That creates more pressure to find a solution and compromise than if we leave open the option of nothing. Does this logical order make sense?

So I am less invested in any one solution to our current predicament and more interested in opposing the status quo.

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