Who should lead the federal NDP after Layton?

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ottawaobserver wrote:

Why are people even talking about throwing out a leader with a 10 year strategic plan who's made so much progress implementing it?  This is nuts.

While it does seem premature to openly discuss the next leader, the prospect of a Harper majority does concentrate the mind, presently.  Is that not so?

KenS

Or, it could be argued that the never ending possibility of a Harper majority, which has been there since 2006 and will never go away no matter how much its chances wax and wane, is a bogeyman that paralyzes thinking.

 

moriarty

Our party is most successful when we stick with a particular leader for a long period.

One need only look as far as Nova Scotia and Manitoba to see that is the case.  Dexter and Doer languished in opposition for a decade each before emerging as the credible alternative.

 

All of the fawning and swooning over M. Mulcair or others named in this thread is backgorund noise that damages our party.

 

Let's stick with Jack until he decides to move on.  The NDP has had good fortunes under his leadership and will continue.

 

 

remind remind's picture

Agree with you OO and moriarty, the concern over leadership, is just deflectionary white noise.

 

The instant world has done such a disservice to society and humanity.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

moriarty wrote:
Let's stick with Jack until he decides to move on.  The NDP has had good fortunes under his leadership and will continue.

Besides which, I've seen no signals from Layton indicating he has any desire to step down anytime soon. Has anyone?

remind remind's picture

... he has a 10 year plan as OO pointed out above....

West Coast Lefty

ottawaobserver wrote:

Why are people even talking about throwing out a leader with a 10 year strategic plan who's made so much progress implementing it?  This is nuts.

I am not talking about throwing Layton out at all - I'm totally loyal to him and he is on track with his 10-year plan as you state. The thread topic as I understood us was to reflect on WHEN Jack eventually leaves of his own volition, who the likely candidates would be.  Savoie, Mulcair and Nash and all the others are 100% focused on helping Layton make an NDP breakthrough in the next campaign.  A few posts on babble to speculate on future events is not an "insurrection" or any kind of challenge to Jack, who got 90% support at the Halifax Convention, IIRC. 

Strong organizations and strong leaders think of the long term, including succession, even while focusing our efforts on the immediate priorities.  The federal Liberals are a classic example of what happens when parties don't think ahead and tear themselves apart instead - let's not imitate them!

remind remind's picture

though I see what you are stating WCL, that is  4-5 years away who knows who will even be in the HoC by that time.

 

personally  think it distracts from messaging  where we need to be going,

 

 

there are several things on the horizon

Stockholm

I don't have a problem with doing some idle speculation about who the next generation of NDP leadership contenders might be. I don't see that as meaning that Layton is going anywhere.

I have a hunch that some day in the future, after Jack retires, people in the NDP are going to miss him a lot and will have a much greater appreciation of how good his political instincts and strategic sense have (for the most part) been. He has taken a lot of risks as leader and had to deal with a lot of nay-sayers - but in most cases he was vindicated:

In 2005, many people were aghast at Layton for making a deal with Martin over the budget that gave the Liberals a six month lease on life. I think that in retropect, its pretty clear that that was the a good move.

Later in 2005 people questioned withdrawing support from the Liberals after they refused to talk to the NDP anymore. I think that history will record that given that the government was doomed no matter what the NDP did at the time - it was a good strategic move for the NDP and it produced a further advance in votes and seats.

In 2007, a lot of people in the NDP thought it was a big mistake and a waste of resources to take a major stab at winning Outremont and a lot of people thought that the NDP should stick to the old tried and true strategy of ignoring Quebec. They were wrong and Layton is now the most popular federal leader in Quebec.

Later in 2008, Layton refused to have any part of cozy deals with the Green party that some people in the "gauche pluriel" were pushing. Contrary to expectations when the election was called, the NDP gained ground despite the Green party mirage and Dion making a blatant attempt to get NDP votes with this carbon tax etc...

Pushing for the coalition last year didn't work out as hoped, but the alternative was letting the Tories pass their elimination of party funding etc...and various other nefarious things. It was the closest the NDP has been been to have a real share of power.

More recently, the nay-sayers were so sure that it would be suicidal for the NDP to support the Tories so much as a single solitary time and that if they didn't vote with the Liberals and force and early election, all credibility would be lost. I think the events of the last month and recent polls and byelection results show pretty clearly that Layton's move succeeded and that it was Ignatieff who ended up looking like a fool.

Its interesting that Layton's worst miscue was saying in December 2008 that he would vote against the budget no matter what was in it...and Ignatieff's biggest mistake so far has been to say he would force and election and vote no to everything Harer proposed this fall. There must be a moral to that story.

So, in the end, while Layton is only human and is not infallible, its pretty clear to me that nine times out of ten, his political instincts are right and the party has benefitted. We cannot take for granted that the next NDP leader will have as good a record as that.

KenS

The Liberals couuldn't think ahead because it was inherently divisive.

For the NDP, talking about who might make good leadership prospects 3 or more years from now, is talking about a time when a lot will change, what people think is needed will change, and the population of who looks good changes too. So if taling about who next isn't nuts, it strikes me as being too speculative even for a bunch of junkies.

KenS

When there is at least a broad consensus that a Leader in question is or should be thinking of packing it in, thats good for crystalizing all sorts of thinks. What as well as who.

We aren't there now.

Not that there isn't plenty of reason to talk about the what anyway.

ottawaobserver

OK, all good points.  But I notice that as soon as one friend raises it in that context, all kinds of provocateurs emerge to egg on the discussion.  I just didn't want to encourage that train of conversation, mindful that these threads get read by others always looking for hints of such discord.

V. Jara

One thing I don't like about Peggy Nash is that she is now as insider as insiders get and her taking over from Layton would put the leadership yet again in Toronto, but the best gains once Layton has topped out would seem more likely with a different strategy and areas where Layton hasn't achieved a breakthrough like in francophone Québec and out West. Layton has been a great leader for the NDP in Ontario and built important beachheads in other provinces (Alberta, NFLD, Québec). Areas where the NDP is currently underperforming or, maybe viewed another way, could have potential (IMO), regardless of the cause, are Nova Scotia (generally), rural NFLD (with the Liberals treading water in the polls some of the 2008 support has to be seriously soft), rural francophone New Brunswick (Madawaska-Restigouche, Moncton-Riverview-Dieppe) & St John, francophone metro Québec, rural Manitoba, rural (but virtually all of) Saskatchewan, rural BC and maybe suburban Vancouver and Southwestern (post-industrial and largely rural) Ontario. A repeating theme here are the words rural (in its many, many incarnations) and francophone. Compared to the Liberals the NDP are also a rural powerhouse - the Liberals are very urban heavy in their support. Maybe the best way to counterbalance this effect is to organise the relevant NDP MPs into a rural caucus that could counsel the leader and also provide some insight on how to fight the Conservatives specifically, but also the Liberals in rural areas. It also wouldn't be the end of the world if the party had a broader francophone strategy to give profile and voice to those in the caucus who sphere of general francophone interest and influence extends beyond the geographic confines of La Belle Province. In other words, for any francophone work that doesn't absolutely have to be Québec-specific, the party should broaden its francophone accomodating strategy and bring people like Gravelle, Godin, Hughes, and maybe as an alternate Atamanenko on board.

Hear that Jack?Tongue outWink Create some MPs committees to address and advise the leader's office on francophone and rural matters. These could serve both as a forum to bring issues to the leader's attention and also to counter the campaigning of the Conservatives and the Bloc.

ETA: This 10-year plan stuff sounds so...Soviet. Also, what's wrong with criticizing the Grand Leader when they deserve it?

Stockholm

Actually, if there is one place in Canada where the NDP desparately needs to make a breakthrough its in...TORONTO! Jack may be from Toronto, but right now its probably the place in Canada where we are the most below our potential. The fact of the matter is that under "Toronto Jack" (sic.) the NDP is doing better than ever in rural and remote ridings (ie: we virtually own northern Ontario and have been gaining ground in Atlantic Canada and the BC interior as well) and on top of that Layton is the most popular federal leader in Quebec - its hard to top that.

If I look across Canada and ask myself, where is the NDP really underperforming compared to its potential - two places stand out to me - Toronto and Montreal. Let's set MOntreal aside for now because the existence of the BQ and its stranglehold on a big chunk of the francophone vote - PLUS the way a lot of non-francophones have a tribal loyalty to the Liberals makes that a work in progress.

But look at Toronto, the GTA has a ton of seats - more than the whole province of BC - and right now the NDP has only two of them - all because of personal popularity and high profile of the leader and his wife and those ridings are getting to be so gentrified that we cannot count on them always being NDP. Beyond that, there are a whole slew of very low income GTA ridings in Scarborough, in places like Davenport, York-South Weston, York West, Etobicoke North, plus Oshawa, Brampton and parts of Mississauga - and the4 NDP is barely competitive in any of them. If those same seats were in Vancouver, they would be NDP strongholds similar to New Westminster-Coquitlam or parts of Surrey. THAT is where we need a breakthrough more than anything else. On paper these shoudl be fertile ground.

Ultimately, where a leader calls home seems to have little to do with his or her regional appeal. The Liberals have never done worse in Quebec than under the leadership of Montrealer Stephane Dion and while "Toronto Jack" has been a huge plus to the NDP in Qubec, Atlantic Canada, Vancouver and esp. northern Ontario - he never seems to have brought in many votes in Toronto as a "favourite son". Kim Campbell didn't exactly "win the west" for the Tories in 1993 despite being from Vancouver. Tommy Douglas got ZERO NDP seats in his own province in 1962, 1963 and 1965!

Let's worry less about what postal code the next leader comes from and more about how skilled they are as a leader. Sometimes people become "insiders" for the simple reason that they are very talented and I would put Peggy Nash in that category - and being talented is a good thing in a new leader!

Fidel

I think Torontonians are focussed on unseating that socialist mayor, "his blondness", and purging city council. When that job is done, Ontario's economy will soar with the rest of the capitalist eagles, some of which have since been grounded for having flown too close to the sun. That and preventing free markets in hockey.

JKR

Layton is the most popular leader since Broadbent. In hindsight, Broadbent left too soon. Layton should stay for at least another decade. By that time the political landscape will be so different from today that it's pointless predicting who'll replace Jack.

ottawaobserver

Hate to put a small kink into an otherwise excellent insight, there, Stockholm, but Paul Martin in 2006 (20.8%, 13 seats + 14 2nds, with 59 rebates) actually did worse in Quebec than Dion in 2008 (23.8%, 14 seats + 30 2nds, with 74 rebates).  OK, both did horribly, but Dion actually did marginally better.

Stockholm

My point still stands since Martin represented a Montreal riding and tried to pass himself off as a Quebecer.

ottawaobserver

Certainly.  So, what's the best approach into those lower-income GTA seats, do you think?

remind remind's picture

stop listening to the ECE crowd?

ottawaobserver

I'm acronym-challenged ... please, what's ECE?

remind remind's picture

Educated cultural elite

Unionist

Erectile challenged electoralists.

Fidel

ottawaobserver wrote:

Hate to put a small kink into an otherwise excellent insight, there, Stockholm, but Paul Martin in 2006 (20.8%, 13 seats + 14 2nds, with 59 rebates) actually did worse in Quebec than Dion in 2008 (23.8%, 14 seats + 30 2nds, with 74 rebates).  OK, both did horribly, but Dion actually did marginally better.

The big red machine found out they could flip-flop on only so many major election campaign promises before it hurt them at the polls. The phoniest majority for them was in 1997. And the brand new reform-aTories still haven't fully recovered from the Mulroney years.

The NDP's challenge is different than that of the two old line parties used to automatic rule. The NDP has to wade into things and reap what our two old line parties have sewn while in government. 80% of Canadians hold no political party membership. And we've never been more indebted than now. Sir Tony Benn said that indebted people eventually become hopeless people. And hopeless people don't vote.

The NDP's task is a straightforward one. And that's to be a beacon of hope for the many disenfranchised voters and those who've given up on hoping for change for the better.

ottawaobserver

Unionist wrote:

Erectile challenged electoralists.

Hee-hee-hee.  Best belly laugh of the night!  Good one, Unionist!  thanks.

jrootham

Not to get too ageist but if we are looking for candidates for leader for five plus years from now both Peggy Nash and Thomas Mulcair would be over 60 by then.  We need to look at people currently in their forties and start getting a bunch of them the experience and exposure required.

So, who's on that list?  It might be a little thin because that is the generation the NDP lost over the Waffle.

 

 

ottawaobserver

I'm trying to understand your math on that one, jrootham, because I'm in my late late forties, and the Waffle predated my YND years by over a decade.  A whole bunch of us got very involved around the time of the 1984 election.  We romanticized the Waffle a bit, but also wanted to do well electorally.  I think folks got disillusioned after that because of the Ontario government's response to the recession and the federal party's preoccupation with constitutional politics.  The social movements were moving in a different direction and the party got isolated, and after 1993 and 1995 there wasn't much of an organization to get involved with.

ottawaobserver

But back to the question at hand, you're right that a bunch of younger folks need to be cultivated now and given a lot of opportunity for growth.  I must say I was thoroughly impressed with Ryan Meili's campaign, and I think there may be other very talented folks in his generation.  Someone mentioned Megan Leslie, and she is really a breath of fresh air, with a lot to say of substance.

adma

Several of the usually-cited next-leader suspects--Angus, Cullen, Dewar--are under 50 (and Angus has added musical "hip cred")

adma

Stockholm wrote:
But look at Toronto, the GTA has a ton of seats - more than the whole province of BC - and right now the NDP has only two of them - all because of personal popularity and high profile of the leader and his wife and those ridings are getting to be so gentrified that we cannot count on them always being NDP. Beyond that, there are a whole slew of very low income GTA ridings in Scarborough, in places like Davenport, York-South Weston, York West, Etobicoke North, plus Oshawa, Brampton and parts of Mississauga - and the4 NDP is barely competitive in any of them. If those same seats were in Vancouver, they would be NDP strongholds similar to New Westminster-Coquitlam or parts of Surrey. THAT is where we need a breakthrough more than anything else. On paper these shoudl be fertile ground.

And then there's closer-to-home cases like Hamilton, Windsor, London-Fanshawe in the "shoulda-coulda" role-model category.  It's almost like Layton's been willing to basically "throw" his own home turf on behalf of strengthening his party nationally (and overcoming whatever personal inner-city champagne-socialist stigma to boot)

Maybe in order to discern wha'appen, one can consider whatever dynamic led to *eight* GTA contenders for the federal Liberal leadership post-Martin (nine if you include John Godfrey)

ottawaobserver

My quick analysis, for what it's worth, is that the weakness of the provincial section is what's been hurting efforts there.  The solution is both to build federal capacity there, but likely also to encourage the rebuilding of the provincial section.

I do think the latest commentary on Ignatieff's weakness should have been enough to bomb the bridges on the Liberals' last remaining argument that "we're the only ones who can form an alternative government", so I guess the question becomes whether it continues to be worth it for those ridings to return MPs who consistently vote against their best interests, in return for the distant hope of defeating the Conservative government.

grrant

Tom...

... then (after Liberals reject him a second time) Gerard Kennedy!

grrant

... make that 'a third time' (forgot how Ontario Grits had to reach down to the bottom of the roster to prevent the leadership going to a lefty).

Polunatic2

Quote:
80% of Canadians hold no political party membership
Isn't the actual number somewhere between 95% and 99%? 

remind remind's picture

jrootham wrote:
Not to get too ageist but if we are looking for candidates for leader for five plus years from now both Peggy Nash and Thomas Mulcair would be over 60 by then.  We need to look at people currently in their forties and start getting a bunch of them the experience and exposure required.

So, who's on that list?  It might be a little thin because that is the generation the NDP lost over the Waffle.

 

This makes absolutely no sense,

- those in their 40's nowadays were not part of the Waffle

- there was not a generation lost because of the Waffle, in fact  you are giving way too much importance to the Waffle..as really we all know that Toronto, is not the be all and end all of the NDP. Torontonians may think they are the centre of the universe, the rest of Canada knows they are not.

- who cares if they are "over 60"

Polunatic2

Quote:
Torontonians may think they are the centre of the universe, the rest of Canada knows they are not.
Untrue and unnecessary. 

KenS

I do. Its just not a great idea.

Leaders are for connecting with people. One, that takes time to establish- which over 60s have less of. Two, its all that anyone in politics needs.. more reason for younger people to say they don't see anyone up there remotely like them.

Yes, youth can and be, and is made a fetish of. But that doesn't mean you should ignore the effect that the age of a Leader has. Sure, a charismatic or obviously dynamic and infectuous 70 year old is going to do more to get younger people to take another look. But charasmatic figures are not generally part of the pool we are looking at- none of the good prospects we have now is.

remind remind's picture

How is it untrue? Willing to be persuaded that such is not the case....

 

As, I believe it is the case across all the political spectrums, as a matter of fact....

 

and it is not an attack, it is a statement of awareness of elite bias, just like when  someone states that Vancouver, Nanaimo and Victoria are the Golden Triangle, as they believe they are the centre of the BC universe, and is also expressed by  comments "there is no hope past Hope".

 

 

Polunatic2

Quote:
How is it untrue? Willing to be persuaded that such is not the case....
C'mon, you should know better than to try and paint everyone with one brush. That's such a broad generalization. I would not attempt to speak for the very diverse 2,250,000 Torontonians to try to persuade you that you're regurgitating staid, old stereotypes. 

That line of reasoning has been used quite effectively to advantage others at the expense of Toronto - e.g. under-representation in provincial legislature, e.g. underfunding from the federal government.  I'm tired of hearing Toronto bashing and don't expect it on babble. 

Stockholm

Polunatic2 wrote:

Quote:
Torontonians may think they are the centre of the universe, the rest of Canada knows they are not.
Untrue and unnecessary. 

 

Its actually quite the opposite. I find that the vast majority of Torontonians have a bit of an inferiority complex about their city and feel sheepish and insecure because they keep being told over and over again that everyone else hates them because they live in Toronto. I've actually never met anyone in my life who actually thinks Toronto and Torontonians are the "centre of the universe". I have met people who think Montreal is the centre of the universe and I've even met people who think Vancouver is the centre of the universe, but Toronto - never.

The only people who do think Toronto is the centre of the universe are people who live outside Toronto who have some weird chip on their shoulder - and by their constant need to denigrate and insult Toronto they only show that they are the ones with a Toronto obsession.

Polunatic2

Then they cheer for the Maple Leafs Laughing

MUN Prof. MUN Prof.'s picture

I have heard that Cullen might be up for it. I'd like to see Dewar. I wonder if Jim Stanford has the stomach for it. He would be awesome!

Stockholm

The way to prove any "stomach" for it would be to run for a seat in the next election and hopefully win. Being leader of a national party is not an entry level political job.

MUN Prof. MUN Prof.'s picture

Stockholm wrote:

The way to prove any "stomach" for it would be to run for a seat in the next election and hopefully win. Being leader of a national party is not an entry level political job.

Yes, as Iggy's short time at the Liberal helm has shown.

remind remind's picture

Oh I guess we are choosing to forget then that Michelle had it as her tag lin for years,  indicating how prevalent it is/was.

 

Rewriting history peeps? Over sensitive? Guess one realizes how the west feels then when the eastern peeps here go on their little wild west dissertations, in particular against Albertans....

 

We need only understand the Cons believe it is so, because of Bay Street, and the TSE.

Liberals believed it so given Iggy slotted in all those TO boys to assist him.....and they have all those lovely secure seats there

 

And apparently some also do in the NDP......given the remark to which I responded.

But fair enough in the interest of solidarity, I will bow before the efforts to silence and refrain from referencing TO as the centre of the universe.

Though I will bookmark this thread for times when people disparage other places in Canada....

 

jrootham

Remind, has the concept of "tongue in cheek" ever occured to you?

 

remind remind's picture

Oh my goodness, no it hadn't, ooopssssss Embarassed

But it does make more sense read that way....

Polunatic2

I'm not trying to silence you - just to point out that your caricature of Torontonians is a bit offensive and very stereotypical. Perhaps I'll have to start a new thread called "Torontonians as an identifiable group under attack". Regional biases work against people uniting for common cause because it puts where you're from above what you believe and what your material interests are. Do poor people working 2 or 3 part-time jobs think that they're the "be all and end all" just because they live in Toronto? I doubt it and I doubt that you would take your argument to its logical conclusion. 

Fidel

Polunatic2 wrote:

Quote:
80% of Canadians hold no political party membership
Isn't the actual number somewhere between 95% and 99%? 
 

By the by, you're right! I had no idea it was that limbo low? In 2006 [url=http://www.irpp.org]The Institute for Policy Research[/url] said:

Quote:
Our best estimate, from an examination of membership patterns over time, is that between 1 and 2 percent of Canadians belong to a political party on a year-to-year basis. This places Canada at the bottom of the list of Western democracies.

That's pathetic!

Polunatic2

It is pathetic. One of the ironies of the failed MMP campaign in Ontario was the line that the "backroom" boys will choose the list candidates (instead of the 1% who belong to parties). It was a profound statement about the distrust and impotence of lib and con party members in democratizing their own parties. 

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