Paul Dewar and Quebec

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Lord Palmerston
Paul Dewar and Quebec

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Lord Palmerston

I am puzzled by Dewar's high level of support.. What exactly does he bring to the table? We're told he's great at "grassroots organizing"? Maybe so, but he hardly has a monopoly on that.  Certainly Peggy Nash and Nathan Cullen are strong in this department as well.

And with his 70 seat strategy - well he'll need a 120 or 130 seat strategy because of his subpar French. In my opinion, nobody has given anything close to a compelling reason why we should overlook this.  In what area is he VASTLY superior to every other candidate?

Lord Palmerston

Dewar's inability to communicate in French, the language of 25% of Canadians and the language of the vast majority in the province where the NDP holds the majority of its seats raises legitimate questions.

(Maybe this is a "dumb thread"...I'm not sure if this merits its own thread, but this is a good way to keep the "horserace" discussion going elsewhere.)

flight from kamakura

agree.  his french is embarrassing.  people in the ndp act like it's no big deal, jack didn't speak french when he became leader, harper's french isn't exceptional.  which are terrible points, given the fact of how hard it'll be to hold our quebec seats, let alone convert them to a new base.

word to ndpers who are not from quebec:  do a little research and look at the demographics and political histories of the seats we won.  dewar, spouting bland platitudes in a barely comprehensible french that he has to read from cue cards would near certainly see us return only our previous outremont stronghold.   this is our base, we need someone who connects with them, not this guy, a good mp, potentially good junior minister, but way out of his depth.

Lord Palmerston

From what I recall, Jack's French was rusty in 2003, but it wasn't anywhere nearly as bad as Dewar's is now.  

I mean Peggy Nash is being scrutinized for not communicating well enough in French by some (I'm hearing mixed reviews from the Quebecois media, some saying it's very good and others just satisfactory) , even though it's certainly better than Jack's in 2003 and arguably as good as Jack's in his last few years, even if hers is more "continental" and Jack's more "Quebecois."  It's a whole new ball game now.  

flight from kamakura

well, i speak french natively (english too, obviously) and i've listened to all the candidates now at length, and i can say that nash is definitely the 3rd best speaker.  her accent in the last debate has improved remarkably from this preposterous accent that she used to put on, probably a remnant of her college days.  cullen has a remarkably good popular accent and speaks better than jack did, pretty much at any point before 2008/2009.  dewar's french is much worse than turmel's english, like some things he says are incomprehensible, to the point that it just sounds like someone with a major developmental disability.  and that's in the context of what i'm sure was a carefully practiced set of phrases and expressions in response to a heavily anglophone-accented french - nothing like actually knowing anything about quebec or being able to speak to a quebecer.  he's just not qualified to be leader.

KenS

Lord Palmerston wrote:

I am puzzled by Dewar's high level of support.. What exactly does he bring to the table? We're told he's great at "grassroots organizing"? Maybe so, but he hardly has a monopoly on that.  Certainly Peggy Nash and Nathan Cullen are strong in this department as well.

Nope. I think he easily outclasses both of them. I'd say there are 3 big things about Paul that contribute to that.

1.] He's a born organizer himself. That always helps.

2.] Ottawa Centre was always going to be tough for the NDP [then]. He worked away at it. He didnt bow down to Ed Broadent. Nor did it appear to phase him when he inevitably lost the nomination. No surprise he did not bow down to Jack Layton's favourite. He beat him. And made no enemies along the way [except Jamie Heath].

3.] He's a networker

Nathan Cullen had to build an impressive local organization to win his seat. Thats no small thing, but a lot of MPs have done that.

And Peggy's contacts and networks are much more diffuse than Paul's.

Brian Glennie

KenS wrote:

Lord Palmerston wrote:

I am puzzled by Dewar's high level of support.. What exactly does he bring to the table? We're told he's great at "grassroots organizing"? Maybe so, but he hardly has a monopoly on that.  Certainly Peggy Nash and Nathan Cullen are strong in this department as well.

Nope. I think he easily outclasses both of them. I'd say there are 3 big things about Paul that contribute to that.

1.] He's a born organizer himself. That always helps.

2.] Ottawa Centre was always going to be tough for the NDP [then]. He worked away at it. He didnt bow down to Ed Broadent. Nor did it appear to phase him when he inevitably lost the nomination. No surprise he did not bow down to Jack Layton's favourite. He beat him. And made no enemies along the way [except Jamie Heath].

3.] He's a networker

Nathan Cullen had to build an impressive local organization to win his seat. Thats no small thing, but a lot of MPs have done that.

And Peggy's contacts and networks are much more diffuse than Paul's.

Nathan Cullen built an impressive local organization in a rural riding and beat a Tory four times.

Have a lot of MPs done that, Ken?

KenS

Definitely.

I'm actually puzzled by the sense within Nathan's riding, and apparently other northern BC ones still Cons held, that Nathan has done something unique.

Its definitely a commendable effort. But its commendable drive and haed work, not rocket science.

Lord Palmerston

I posed the question to Charlie Angus this evening.  I just received this response:

"As Nathan Cullen hasn't been able to stand one way or the other on a gun registry vote, I'd doubt he'd steer us through the rough channels of leader. As for Peggy, she seems to have trouble on the NDP's longstanding position on health care. Paul speaks very good French. I have worked closely with all the leadership candidates and am very proud of my decision to back Paul Dewar." 

Aristotleded24

In terms of MP support, in all fariness to them, they know Dewar much better than we do, and that closeness has allowed them to make the decision based on the strengths that he has. And he does have strengths, it's just that his ability to communicate publicly in either language is not what it needs to be as a leader and to stand up to pressure under fire.

GregbythePond

Interesting thread! Maybe we should do one for every candidate's sore spot. Sounds like fun.

Lord Palmerston

Aristotleded24 wrote:

In terms of MP support, in all fariness to them, they know Dewar much better than we do, and that closeness has allowed them to make the decision based on the strengths that he has. And he does have strengths, it's just that his ability to communicate publicly in either language is not what it needs to be as a leader and to stand up to pressure under fire.

That doesn't give him the right to lie about Dewar and smear Nash.  

Winston

GregbythePond wrote:

Interesting thread! Maybe we should do one for every candidate's sore spot. Sounds like fun.

 

Laughing  You Dewar folks always make me giggle with your cynical humour (wish that ottawaobserver was still around)

So let's see, we need these threads:

"Thomas Mulcair and the Left"

"Peggy Nash and charisma"

"Brian Topp and Saskatchewan"

"Nathan Cullen and Greens and Liberals"

"Niki Ashton and people over 40"

"Martin Singh and non-pharmacists"

Lord Palmerston

I see you're snickering at my "dumb thread."  Fair enough.  I asked if it was worthy of its own thread.  Maybe it deserves to be included in the horserace discussion, but I think this is a very pressing issue.

Winston

Oh it probably is, but gregbythepond's suggestion for derailing it sounds like a lot more fun!  Besides, if it leads to some light-hearted self-deprecating humour, that would be good. 

Things are getting a little too nasty for my tastes lately (and yes I know that I played a part in making it so).

CanadaApple

What I wonder is, how many people that attack Dewar for his french on here actually are bilingual themselves? I'm not, so I have a hard time trying to judge it myself. I know FFK is because they've said so here, but do we have any others?

 

TheArchitect

Winston wrote:

"Martin Singh and non-pharmacists"

Made me laugh!

Winston

I'm somewhat bilingual (better than Cullen's but below Nash's level), and quie frankly I most certainly would not nominate my own French for Prime Minister.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

I read and write French on occasion, can't speak or hear it at all - it's been a bugger for me to learn a second language as I'm severely hearing and speech impaired, and French was always taught orally. However, in the 1980s, I made an effort to take French in the evenings twice a week  at Canadore College (North Bay - a half hour drive from Sturgeon Falls where I lived at the time) for two years, and earned a community college certificate in the language. It was a really, really tough slog for me. I take issue with Dewar for all the reasons already expressed by myself (and others) primarilly because Dewar is an NDP MP in what is probably the most bilingual city in Canada - shouldn't Dewar have availed himself of the opportunities in Ottawa to become fully proficient in French before entering the leadership campaign? Like, when he first became an MP???

Lord Palmerston

CanadaApple wrote:

What I wonder is, how many people that attack Dewar for his french on here actually are bilingual themselves? I'm not, so I have a hard time trying to judge it myself. I know FFK is because they've said so here, but do we have any others?

"Attack"?  You make it sound like this is an unfair question.  I'm not anywhere close to bilingual, but I have some French comprehension, reading and speaking ability and can certainly tell Dewar's French sucks.  And I certainly wouldn't have the audacity to run for leader of a national party where a majority of seats are now in Quebec with my level of spoken French.

Dewar is a nice guy.  He may have made a fine ONDP leader.  But he represents a riding where bilingualism is very high and has never bothered to learn French.  I think such criticism is legitimate.

Stockholm

CanadaApple wrote:

What I wonder is, how many people that attack Dewar for his french on here actually are bilingual themselves? I'm not, so I have a hard time trying to judge it myself. I know FFK is because they've said so here, but do we have any others?

 

I am bilingual - at least in terms of speaking and understanding...my written French leaves a lot to be desired.

CanadaApple

Lord Palmerston wrote:

CanadaApple wrote:

What I wonder is, how many people that attack Dewar for his french on here actually are bilingual themselves? I'm not, so I have a hard time trying to judge it myself. I know FFK is because they've said so here, but do we have any others?

"Attack"?  You make it sound like this is an unfair question.  I'm not anywhere close to bilingual, but I have some French comprehension, reading and speaking ability and can certainly tell Dewar's French sucks.  And I certainly wouldn't have the audacity to run for leader of a national party where a majority of seats are now in Quebec with my level of spoken French.

Dewar is a nice guy.  He may have made a fine ONDP leader.  But he represents a riding where bilingualism is very high and has never bothered to learn French.  I think such criticism is legitimate.

Attack was just the best work I thought of at the time.  I wasn't trying to say the criticism as you put it was unfair, I was just trying to get a feel for who the criticism was coming from.

Winston

Isn't unionist bilingual too?

Lord Palmerston

The majority of the NDP membership speaks only English.  But I don't think one has to be bilingual in order to assess whether Dewar's French is up to par.  In my view, they should try to get an informed opinion and think about the fact that their party is now a national contender for power, and where holding onto and perhaps expanding in Quebec is key.    

Libby Davies said that she wouldn't run for leader because she believed that a bilingual leader was a must.  Chisholm, after some stubbornness and hesitation, eventually read the tea leaves and bowed out.

Idealistic Prag... Idealistic Pragmatist's picture

Lord Palmerston wrote:

In what area is he VASTLY superior to every other candidate?

His supporters (and I know an awful lot of those, being from Edmonton) love him because he "connects with people." They think he's the only one who does that.

I disagree--and I actually think Nathan Cullen is better at it than Dewar is. But it is true that Dewar is good at it, very good.

Idealistic Prag... Idealistic Pragmatist's picture

CanadaApple wrote:

What I wonder is, how many people that attack Dewar for his french on here actually are bilingual themselves? I'm not, so I have a hard time trying to judge it myself. I know FFK is because they've said so here, but do we have any others?

Argh. Can we please stop using the term 'bilingual' as if it meant 'speaks French and English'? PLEASE? I'm trilingual, for one (and I also speak some French). Olivia Chow, too, who was called 'not bilingual' at the beginning of the leadership race as a reason for why she wouldn't run for leader, is bilingual in Chinese and English. Et cetera.

(I know, I know, fighting a losing battle, yadda yadda...)

wage zombie

Like others here, I wouldn't consider my own French to be an acceptable level to run for leader, but I think my French is substantially better than Dewar's.

Brian Glennie

KenS wrote:

Definitely.

I'm actually puzzled by the sense within Nathan's riding, and apparently other northern BC ones still Cons held, that Nathan has done something unique.

Its definitely a commendable effort. But its commendable drive and haed work, not rocket science.

"Haed work, not rocket science", huh?

I get the feeling Dewar supporters are underestimating what we're up against.

 

GregbythePond

Well Winston, you definitely guessed right on some of the posible titles. I was thinking of a few while walking the dog last night.

"Thomas Mulcair and the Left" or "and the ROC/anglos"

"Peggy Nash and charisma" or " the CAW"

"Brian Topp and Saskatchewan" right on - what the heck happened there anyway?

"Nathan Cullen and Greens and Liberals" and the Bloc?

"Niki Ashton and people over 40" yup

"Martin Singh and non-pharmacists" and "non small business owners"

My other point is - will this thread be about Paul Dewar and Quebec (I have previously referenced one of the supporting quotes from there) or is it just Paul Dewar can't speak French good enough, blah, blah, blah...

Bookish Agrarian

Lord Palmerston wrote:

I see you're snickering at my "dumb thread."  Fair enough.  I asked if it was worthy of its own thread.  Maybe it deserves to be included in the horserace discussion, but I think this is a very pressing issue.

 

Seriously what's pressing about it?  Dewar's level of proficiency in French is a major drawback for his campaign.  So too is Topp's complete lack of retail political skills as witnessed by me up close and personal.  Nash's boneheaded answers to rural issues is a major drawback to her campaign and would seal our fate in opposition in a general election.  Cullen's wonky joint nomination plan is a non-starter.  Mulcairs disrespect for long time party members is a big negative.  Ashton's facile 'new politics' riff shows that irrespective of age she just isn't ready for the role of leader.  Yet none of these warrant's the kind of vitriol and pile on we are seeing with Dewar.  It is rather unseemly.

Unionist

And Singh is on drugs. On and on.

 

Vansterdam Kid

I'm not sure I understand why some people are so enamoured with Dewar anyways. Frankly, I don't get the impression that he's nearly as intellectually substantive as most of the other candidates - since he seems to speak in platitudes most of the time, even if they're nice sounding platitudes. Maybe this is unfair, but I find the sound of his voice kind of annoying because its too boyish. The fact that his French is only slightly better than mine (I hope I don't sound like I have a developmental delay - when I have to speak it though... ouch!) is the nail in the coffin for why I can't support him.

Stockholm

Bookish Agrarian wrote:

Seriously what's pressing about it?  Dewar's level of proficiency in French is a major drawback for his campaign.  So too is Topp's complete lack of retail political skills as witnessed by me up close and personal.  Nash's boneheaded answers to rural issues is a major drawback to her campaign and would seal our fate in opposition in a general election.  Cullen's wonky joint nomination plan is a non-starter.  Mulcairs disrespect for long time party members is a big negative.  Ashton's facile 'new politics' riff shows that irrespective of age she just isn't ready for the role of leader.  Yet none of these warrant's the kind of vitriol and pile on we are seeing with Dewar.  It is rather unseemly.

I think the difference is that the "knocks" against Topp, Mulcair, Nash etc... are debatable matter of opinion. In Dewar's care, the fact that he is incomprehensible in the language of over half of the federal caucus is an undeniable FACT. Its the elephant in the middle of the room. You have to be in denial not to see the light at the end of the tunnel that is a freight train headed straight for him!!

Its very nice that Dewar "connects" with people in one on one situations...but realistically less than 1% of Canadians are ever going to have a personal one on one opportunity to connect with the next leader of the opposition - what matters is being good on TV (in BOTH languages).

janfromthebruce

Actually I disagree with you respectfully BA. Not all candidate pros and cons should be weighted the same. Being able to speak well in French and English is necessary, and should be weighted more. We now have 58 MPs in Quebec. I got to see how well we did not do in election debates, for example under Alexa as she struggled in French.

I agree with you on the pile on and it is unseemly.

 

Winston

Hey, now, GregbythePond, you can't do that (you can't add any new ones without including all of the candidates)  - you have to keep it fair! Laughing  Paul only got a pass from me on the first go-round due to the fact he already owned the thread title.

 

GregbythePond wrote:

Well Winston, you definitely guessed right on some of the posible titles. I was thinking of a few while walking the dog last night.

"Thomas Mulcair and the Left" or "and the ROC/anglos"

"Peggy Nash and charisma" or " the CAW"

"Brian Topp and Saskatchewan" right on - what the heck happened there anyway?

"Nathan Cullen and Greens and Liberals" and the Bloc?

"Niki Ashton and people over 40" yup

"Martin Singh and non-pharmacists" and "non small business owners"

My other point is - will this thread be about Paul Dewar and Quebec (I have previously referenced one of the supporting quotes from there) or is it just Paul Dewar can't speak French good enough, blah, blah, blah...

CanadaApple

Idealistic Pragmatist wrote:

CanadaApple wrote:

What I wonder is, how many people that attack Dewar for his french on here actually are bilingual themselves? I'm not, so I have a hard time trying to judge it myself. I know FFK is because they've said so here, but do we have any others?

Argh. Can we please stop using the term 'bilingual' as if it meant 'speaks French and English'? PLEASE? I'm trilingual, for one (and I also speak some French). Olivia Chow, too, who was called 'not bilingual' at the beginning of the leadership race as a reason for why she wouldn't run for leader, is bilingual in Chinese and English. Et cetera.

(I know, I know, fighting a losing battle, yadda yadda...)

You're right actually. I guess I should have said fluent in French instead.

Lachine Scot

I'm bilingual and Dewar used to be my MP.  He'd probably be one of my last choices.  I'm fine with him continuing to be an NDP mp, but he's not leader material, especially on the language matter but also general blandness.

Also, living in Ottawa for so long and being involved in politics yet not learning to function in French is a choice. There are so many resources for people to acquire and retain French skills in that city compared to anywhere else outside Quebec/NB.

Brachina

Isn't Paul Dewar really religious? Maybe he's gaining a good chunk of support from the Christian Left?

Anyway Dewar seems to be made of pure win for Mulcair, he successfully introduced doubt amoung some Nashites during the Quebec debate and weakened her and embarrassed her. Dewar also hit Topp hard on his lack of a seat and Topps response sounded hypocritical. It also lead to a tussle between Topp and Nash with each attack on the others experience in parliament.

Also fear of Dewar winning could cause a anybody but Dewar movement at convention if he does well with Mulcair being the one to benifit.

Otherwise Dewar isn't relivant to Quebec, he's a distraction.

Bookish Agrarian

Stockholm wrote:

Bookish Agrarian wrote:

Seriously what's pressing about it?  Dewar's level of proficiency in French is a major drawback for his campaign.  So too is Topp's complete lack of retail political skills as witnessed by me up close and personal.  Nash's boneheaded answers to rural issues is a major drawback to her campaign and would seal our fate in opposition in a general election.  Cullen's wonky joint nomination plan is a non-starter.  Mulcairs disrespect for long time party members is a big negative.  Ashton's facile 'new politics' riff shows that irrespective of age she just isn't ready for the role of leader.  Yet none of these warrant's the kind of vitriol and pile on we are seeing with Dewar.  It is rather unseemly.

I think the difference is that the "knocks" against Topp, Mulcair, Nash etc... are debatable matter of opinion. In Dewar's care, the fact that he is incomprehensible in the language of over half of the federal caucus is an undeniable FACT. Its the elephant in the middle of the room. You have to be in denial not to see the light at the end of the tunnel that is a freight train headed straight for him!!

Its very nice that Dewar "connects" with people in one on one situations...but realistically less than 1% of Canadians are ever going to have a personal one on one opportunity to connect with the next leader of the opposition - what matters is being good on TV (in BOTH languages).

Sorry but at least two of the problems for candidates I identified are as equally big a knock out punch for the NDP's long term chances of forming government as the knock against Dewar's french.  The difference being Dewar can improve his french by 2015, the other two issues I identified are not so easily fixed when they are so core to a person or how they understand issues.   A week is a long time in politics let alone 3 and half years. 

That said I find it funny how some people's opinions are FACTS, but other peoples are just - well - opinions.

Stockholm

Nash can learn about rural issues - she doesn't need to be an expert on them on day one. Mulcair can reach out to long time party mmembers at the drop of a hat. Topp could get a makeover and get better retail skills etc...the difference is that Dewar's French is simply NOT getting better quickly enough and time is running out. We don't have the luxury of waiting until 2015 for him to speak French perfectly. The very idea that the NDP "rewards" Quebec for electing 59 NDP MPs by slamming the door in its face an insulting it by turning around and choosing a new leader who is incoherent in French - would cause irreparable damage from Day One. I can already see the headlines in La Presse and Le Devoir the morning after a Dewar win "Va t'en Quebec: NPD" (NDP: Get Lost Quebec). Even if Dewar miraculously lesarned to speak PERFECT French by 2015 - the damege would already have been done and this once in a millenium opportunity will have been lost! Wake up and smell the coffee!

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

So Dewar can improve his French by 2015 - big deal. If he's the leader, he has to communicate with his caucus and people across this country - especially Quebec, where most of his MPs are  - the day after he becomes leader.

ETA: I see Stock and I are on the same wavelength. Hell has officially frozen over! Laughing

Bookish Agrarian

Sorry from personal experience I see no evidence that Peggy can learn about rural issues.  Tried that and her response to a question on how to reach out to rural voters was to talk about bringing back  the long gun registry.  You can't train that away.  Nor can you train away Topp's unease in his own skin.  The other problems for other candidates are more easily overcome though- well expect Cullen's "plan" as he seems determined to stick with it.

But what you are really saying is that the 2015 election will be determined by what happens in the House in April of 2012.  That Quebecers will vote exlusively on who speaks the best french- which to my mind is very disrespectful of all those folks who voted NDP in May, not to mention very patronizing.  You must have been observing a different political reality than I have over all these years if you think tomorrow's vote is connected to today's dust storm.

Bookish Agrarian

So the people who always talk about the Leader only being one person, now are exclusively leader driven and can't see that maybe providing leadership roles for many of those new MPs might not be a useful strategy.  Interesting that.

flight from kamakura

exactly what stockholm and boom boom wrote.  the polls in quebec should definitely give people some indication of their view of the ndp's performance so far.  no buyer's remorse yet, but a dewar win would effectively nuke us there, leaving us only outremont and maybe a few seats (hull, gatineau, laurier and the odd one with a really popular incumbent).  anyone who can't see that needs to be made aware.

Stockholm

The worse that can happen with Nash is the NDP remains as unsuccessful in rural areas as it is now. The worse that can happen with Dewar is instant annhilation of 58 MPs in Quebec with no way of making up for those losses. Its not just about linguistic ability either. The leader also has to really understand and speak to Quebec. Cullen's French is not the greatest, but he could actually have potential in Quebec.

I keep getting this sinking feeling that there are actually still some knuckledraggers in the NDP who deep down sub-consciously liked it better when the NDP had no presence in Quebec and didn't have to take Quebec into consideration about anything. In the good old days the party operated almost totally in English. Now, there is an influx of new forces and all the Quebec members and MPs have to be absorbed and accommodated - and some people are not that thrilled about that. They liked it better when the NDP had its 20-30 seats and everyone could piously intone about being the party of Tommy Douglas etc...and no one had to bother learning French. They would privately like to see all the Quebec seats be lost so they could curl up in their little coccoons again and not have to bother with all the complexities of being a truly bilingual and bicultural party. Sad.

Lord Palmerston

I agree, Stockholm. It's extraordinarily insensitive.  Dion and Turmel both speak a far better English than Dewar speaks French.  The double standard in Canadian politics continues.

For me one of the great things about the last election was that it represented a major blow to anglo ROC chauvinism.  Jack Layton was reaching out to Quebec and the backlash in English Canada for his "pandering to Quebec" was minimal.  Yet it wasn't all that long ago that a major political party made "too many politicians from Quebec", "special rights", etc. central to their campaign.

Bookish Agrarian

Stockholm wrote:

The worse that can happen with Nash is the NDP remains as unsuccessful in rural areas as it is now. The worse that can happen with Dewar is instant annhilation of 58 MPs in Quebec with no way of making up for those losses. Its not just about linguistic ability either. The leader also has to really understand and speak to Quebec. Cullen's French is not the greatest, but he could actually have potential in Quebec.

I keep getting this sinking feeling that there are actually still some knuckledraggers in the NDP who deep down sub-consciously liked it better when the NDP had no presence in Quebec and didn't have to take Quebec into consideration about anything. In the good old days the party operated almost totally in English. Now, there is an influx of new forces and all the Quebec members and MPs have to be absorbed and accommodated - and some people are not that thrilled about that. They liked it better when the NDP had its 20-30 seats and everyone could piously intone about being the party of Tommy Douglas etc...and no one had to bother learning French. They would privately like to see all the Quebec seats be lost so they could curl up in their little coccoons again and not have to bother with all the complexities of being a truly bilingual and bicultural party. Sad.

Thanks for calling me a knuckle-dragger.  I really appreciate that after all the years I've devoted to building the NDP, particularly in rural areas.  And all because I think there might be some equal negatives to the precious candidates you are supporting. 

Your supposed sensitivity is quite frankly not much more than deep patronizing.   

Howard

He is swell, or is that swill, my pronunciation is not very good.

Stockholm

Hear hear Pogo! btw: its worth noting that the two people in this race with fluent French and potential appeal in Quebec - Mulcair and Topp - are both people whose mother tongue is English. Its not as if anyone is asking NDP members in the rest of Canada to swallow someone who only appeals to Quebec and can barely speak English.

We all have to put some water in our wine in picking a new leader - but it seems like total insanity to pick a leader who is 100% certain to lead to electoral disaster in the province where we have most of our seats.

I've said it before and i will say it again. If Paul Dewar and his campaign has some case to make for why I have it all wrong and how he actually has enormous potential in Quebec and how there are actually vast numbers of Quebecers just about to jump on the Dewar bandwagon - then please tell us about it! I've been hearing since October that the "Quebec/French problem" would be addressed by Dewar's campaign...and still NOTHING NADA! Not one MP, not one Quebecer of any significance backing him. No strategy for how to win over Quebec - nothing.

I started out feeling very favourably disposed towards Dewar as a potential leader. I wanted to believe that he could pick up French quickly and get some momentum in Quebec and show us that it could be done etc...But the time has run out and I see no delivery.

Bookish Agrarian

Please show me where I said Dewar's french shouldn't be a consideration?  Seriously.  Yet for suggesting it might not be the ONLY consideration and that there are also some other things members should ALSO be looking at I am insulted and basically called a racist.  What a lovely exercise this leadership campaign is turning out to be. 

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