Does the “government in waiting” support the protests in Quebec?

Thomas Mulcair was elected leader of the New Democrats just a few short weeks ago and so far, he has had a two-fold strategy: to appear closer to the mainstream centre than most would have characterized the NDP in the past, and to hold NDP gains in Quebec by speaking to that province’s issues often to the expense of growth for his party in the rest of Canada.

For Mulcair, support of the radical student movement in Quebec is definitely not in his strategic interests. The majority of Quebecers do not support the nightly protests in Montreal and few believe the protesters are primarily motivated by access to education. The student protest phenomenon in Quebec is neither representative of mainstream values nor of Quebec as a people.

Therefore, cracks in his caucus showing support for student demos in Quebec should cause the NDP leader concern. It is not yet clear if he has roped in his caucus and staff or if he will continue to let them show their true colours.

For example, here is NDP MP Dany Morin’s recent Facebook profile picture:

A story about Morin’s support was written in Le Quotidien,

The MP for Chicoutimi-Le Fjord Dany Morin supports students from the University of Quebec at Chicoutimi (UQAC) in their fight against rising tuition fees. On a personal level, however, while the New Democratic Party (NDP) for now refuses to interfere in the matter.

 

Dany Morin participated in the campaign “Me and my red square” of the Movement of General Student Associations UQAC (MAGE-UQAC), this week. He has been photographed with red square emblem adopted by the student movement in its fight against rising tuition fees announced by the Government of Quebec.

What about NDP MP Pierre-Luc Dusseault?

A press release on his website states,

The member for Sherbrooke Pierre-Luc Dusseault gives his support to the student movement of November 10 and will attend the event in Montreal this afternoon.

 

“It is essential to maintain and improve access to postsecondary education as students request today,” said Dusseault, who was studying political science at the University of Sherbrooke before his election on May 2nd, “What we try for Quebec has served for decades as a model for other educational systems elsewhere in Canada,” said the member for Sherbrooke.

Here’s another release from Dusseault after rioting occurs in conjunction with student demos in Quebec,

I wish to express my support to the will of students and students who demonstrate today in Sherbrooke to improve their financial situation and accessibility to university. As MP for Sherbrooke, I can assure you that the New Democratic Party supports your legitimate claims and requires the federal government to act, in accordance with the jurisdiction of the Quebec government to mitigate the increase tuition.

Here was NDP MP Alexandre Boulerice’s Facebook profile picture for a while,

NDP MP Anne Minh Thu Quach wrote on her Facebook,

During the demonstration outside the Valleyfield College this morning. I spoke out in solidarity for the right to accessible education, respect for law strike and the respect for democracy.


With students at the College this morning! Beautiful energy!

Anne Minh Thu Quach: Despite the cold, several students campaigned passionately that morning for the right to education available! Congratulations to all! They will stand all morning at the College this week! Encourage them if you can! Bring your drums and make them dance to keep warm! ;)

 

Anne Minh Quach: Thu @ Rosh: Thanks for the praise. I act according to my values ​​and my ideals. Several NDP MPs also support students in their approach. Moreover, we have a deputy spokesman in post-secondary education in Quebec. This is Matthew Dube. It also advocates the creation of a federal transfer to provinces and territories that would target post-secondary education in order to provide affordable access to students. @ Louis Charles: That, in compliance with federal and provincial powers. Much like it is already healthy.

 

Anne Minh Thu Quach: This is a matter of political choice and social choice. I believe that there is a more just, equitable and socially rewarding for supporting our education system in making it a simple product consumption.

And what about Thomas Mulcair, how is he handling this issue in his province in balance with being a national leader? And how is our national media covering the issue and how the NDP caucus is reacting to it?

The CBC, um, reports,

May 23, 2012

 

Earlier this spring, the Ottawa media was at pains to find any federal MP interested in saying much about either the policies or the politics driving the mass student protests across Quebec.

 

Opposition Leader Tom Mulcair, whose party represents the majority of Quebec’s federal seats (including several held by student-aged MPs), brushed off questions, saying the student tuition battle was “first and foremost a matter of provincial jurisdiction.”

 

(With yesterday’s intervention — and now funding, too — from labour groups outside Quebec, it will be interesting to watch the NDP generally and Mulcair specifically walk this fine line on the dispute, especially with the leader’s own personal history as a former Charest cabinet minister.)

Canadians on the federal parties

According to the latest Nanos Survey,

Party personality – Conservative Party: Let’s assume for a moment that each federal political party was a person. What one word would you use to describe the personality of each of the following political parties? [Open-ended] [Randomize parties].

Canada (n=925)

Untrustworthy: 14.4%
Conservative: 12.9%
Bad/Incompetent: 9.9%
Good/Good choice : 9.1%
Trustworthy: 6.4%
Controlling/Authoritarian: 5.8%
Arrogant: 5.5%
Strong/Powerful: 5.3%
Selfish: 4.6%
Intelligent: 4.0%
Progressive: 3.3%
Realistic/Pragmatic: 3.2%
None: 3.2%
Strong leadership: 0.8%
Other: 6.7%
Unsure: 4.9%

Party personality – NDP: Let’s assume for a moment that each federal political party was a person. What one word would you use to describe the personality of each of the following political parties? [Open-ended] [Randomize parties].

Canada (n=923)

Socialist: 13.3%
Caring: 10.2%
Bad/Incompetent: 10.1%
Good : 10.0%
New: 10.0%
Innovative: 8.6%
Trustworthy: 5.8%
Idealistic: 5.6%
Aggressive: 4.2%
Untrustworthy: 3.3%
Intelligent: 2.8%
None: 2.7%
Jack Layton: 1.0%
Other: 6.5%
Unsure: 6.0%

Party personality – Liberal Party: Let’s assume for a moment that each federal political party was a person. What one word would you use to describe the personality of each of the following political parties? [Open-ended] [Randomize parties].

Canada (n=931)

Bad/Incompetent: 18.4%
Untrustworthy: 16.2%
Good: 11.5%
Competent : 6.8%
Progressive: 5.8%
Strong/Powerful: 5.1%
Arrogant: 4.9%
Old-fashioned/Outdated: 4.4%
None: 4.3%
Liberal: 4.3%
Boring: 3.3%
Selfish: 1.7%
Centrist/Middle of the road: 1.0%
Other: 6.6%
Unsure: 5.8%

Party personality – Green Party: Let’s assume for a moment that each federal political party was a person. What one word would you use to describe the personality of each of the following political parties? [Open-ended] [Randomize parties].

Canada (n=941)

Environment/Eco-friendly/Green: 16.7%
Unrealistic/Naive: 14.7%
Not well known: 11.1%
Idealistic : 8.6%
Useless: 7.8%
Caring: 6.0%
None: 5.0%
Good: 4.8%
Hippie/Radical: 4.5%
Innovative: 4.5%
Boring: 3.2%
Other: 6.5%
Unsure: 6.5%

Party personality – Bloc Quebecois: Let’s assume for a moment that each federal political party was a person. What one word would you use to describe the personality of each of the following political parties? [Open-ended] [Randomize parties] [Quebec sample only].

Canada (n=232)

Useless: 15.4%
Narrow-minded/one-sided: 13.0%
Separatist/Independent: 11.7%
Aggressive : 10.7%
None: 6.3%
Untrustworthy: 5.2%
Selfish/Self-centred: 5.0%
Boring: 4.6%
Incompetent: 4.5%
Good: 4.0%
French: 3.4%
Arrogant/Stubborn: 2.9%
Radical: 1.7%
Not well known: 0.4%
Other: 4.0%
Unsure: 7.3%

Pat Martin apologizes to Racknine

APOLOGY on Behalf of Patrick Martin and the NDP to Mr. Matt Meier and RackNine Inc.

On February 23, 2012, I appeared before the national media to speak in response to the important issue of “Robocalls” in the 2011 general election. At that time I expressed my personal outrage along with the outrage of the caucus of the official opposition upon learning about the serious allegations of electoral fraud.

In making my statement on February 23, 2012, I singled out a private individual, Mr. Matt Meier along with his business RackNine Inc. and I wrongfully accused them of being part of a conspiracy to commit electoral fraud. In the days following, I repeated this accusation a number of times to the media and on national television. My party, the NDP, also raised concerns about the possibility of RackNine having committed electoral fraud through postings on its website. The NDP indicated on the party website that if news reports that seemed to draw a link between the calls and RackNine were true, these activities were prohibited by the Canada Elections Act and merited investigation.

I now know that the statements I made insinuating Mr. Meier’s and RackNine’s participation in an electoral fraud conspiracy were wholly and unequivocally false. In my rush to express my personal outrage and the outrage of the NDP caucus, I jumped to conclusions I now know are unsupported by fact. I would like to take this opportunity to correct several of my errors in order to clear Mr. Meier’s personal reputation along with the business reputation of RackNine.

1. To my knowledge, neither Mr. Meier, nor RackNine, including any employees of RackNine, has ever been investigated for involvement in electoral fraud in the 2011 general election or otherwise.

2. RackNine provides a legitimate automated call service similar to services used by many political parties.

3. RackNine was merely an innocent intermediary not a participant in electoral fraud.

I apologize for any damage my statements may have caused to Mr. Meier personally or to RackNine, and I have been specifically authorized by the NDP to apologize on behalf of the NDP for any similar damage the publications on the NDP website may have caused.

It appears that Racknine is still proceeding with their lawsuit against Pat Martin.

The tolerant NDP

Libby Davies voices her opinion on Israel:

This drew strong condemnation from Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper,

and from Liberal foreign affairs critic Bob Rae,

“The comments of Ms. Davies are more than just a ‘serious mistake,’ as the Leader of the NDP now maintains. To deny the State of Israel’s right to exist and to propose an international campaign of boycotts, divestments and sanctions against a legitimate member of the world community for over sixty years is to reveal a level of hostility and ignorance that is truly breathtaking.

“These are not the off-the-cuff ramblings of any ill-informed or biased person. Ms. Davies is the Deputy Leader of a political party that aspires to reflect and represent the views of Canada on the international stage. In this role, fully cognizant of her responsibilities, she stated that Israel has been occupying territories since 1948, the year of its independence. The logical implication of these comments is that Israel has no right to exist.

“She called this ‘the longest occupation in the world.’ That is simply untrue, and reflects a complete disregard for the facts.

“This is a position that is more than just ‘unacceptable.’ This rhetoric is responsible for more than ‘confusion,’ and an ‘inadvertent error,” as Ms. Davies now suggests.

“The appropriate decision, given her stature and responsibilities with the NDP, is for Mr. Layton to ask for her resignation as Deputy Leader and for Ms. Davies to issue an apology to all Canadians. Nothing short of that will do.”

The referenced “Helen Thomas moment”:

In related NDP tolerance news, NDP MP calls a Catholic denomination “creepy”,

UPDATE: B’nai Brith unsurprisingly calls for Davies to be sacked.

“B’nai Brith Canada is calling on NDP leader Jack Layton to take action against Libby Davies for her outrageous remarks against the Jewish State, and by extension the Jewish people,” said Frank Dimant, Executive Vice President of B’nai Brith Canada. “The fact that Davies made her comments at an anti-Israel rally held in front of a Jewish-owned business speaks volumes to the fact that anti-Israel agitators in Canada are blurring the lines between criticism of Israeli policies and antisemitism.

“Both Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Liberal Party foreign affairs critic Bob Rae have justifiably called for the resignation of Ms. Davies. NDP leader Jack Layton has gone on the record today stating that her remarks are not the policy of his party – if that is the case, then Mr. Layton should take the next step and relieve Davies of her leadership positions in the party.”

Jack be nimble, Jack be quick, Jack has jumped the candlestick

Tonight, Jack Layton attended a local candlelight vigil to mark/protest/mourn/do-something about climate change. The vigil was part of a larger global effort organized via Blackberry, cellphones and Facebook. He tweeted:

http://twitpic.com/taa1o – Joining a moving global candle vigil, in #Toronto, with new friends Anastasia and Michelle #cop15

Throughout our history of scientific achievement as a civilization, progress has most significantly been marked by maximizing outputs while minimizing input and waste output. This is the standard engineering principle of efficiency.

The industrial revolution that started in the 18th century is referenced as a pivot point of human impact on its environment. Since this era of increased efficiency, from the advent of the assembly line and distributed tasks at the outset to the miniaturization of electronics to maximize calculative output most recently, our progress is marked by our giant leaps of efficiency. It may be unpopular, but no less true, to recognize that it has been the industrial revolution — indeed still ongoing — that has and will continue to allow us to produce more from less and waste less in the process. For example, the wheel is one of our earliest innovations and has been improved and made more efficient at least one thousand fold with respect to input costs, labour and yes, even CO2 output.

Tonight, the leader of Canada’s socialist party — a party representing an ideology that has sought to increase the costs of input (organized labour, tariffs on inputs) while diminishing the benefit of the output (taxation on goods produced, regulations of its use) — very symbolically holds a flame for the very principles that would jam the gears of modernization, efficiencies and progress. Instead of allowing the inherent market mechanism that favours efficiency to reduce waste (CO2 as a by-product), Layton and friends use a sledgehammer instead of a scalpel to act broadly against desired outputs and necessary inputs rather than just waste.

While leaders around the world seek to reinvent the wheel outside of market based innovation and progress, Jack Layton is at home tending to our earliest invention. One hopes that Layton realizes that the candle he holds is more symbolic than logical as a burning candle produces 7x more CO2 output per lumen of light than a 40W incandescent lightbulb (calculation here). To decry our own greed and supposed inefficiencies, Layton harkens back to a time before the first refinement of our first spark of genius.

Layton’s flame is symbolic, though perhaps not in the way he intended. Indeed, his burning candle is symbolic to our self-loathing attitude towards a process that brought billions out of relative poverty since the 17th century, has extended our life expectancies by decades through health research and nutritional knowledge, and has allowed mass communicative capacity to organize protests, rallies, vigils and the like. Jack’s flame, much like his solutions, are inefficient and regressive.

Though Mr. Layton would put up flame to the bridges that have brought us health, wealth and happiness since a darker age, hopefully other leaders will have a lightbulb moment and realize that it has been our unbridled innovative capacity and not a misguided effort for central planning, that has and always will move us along the road to enlightenment.

Opposition MPs that Voted to Scrap the Gun Registry

Liberal Party of Canada – (8)
Scott Andrews (Avalon)
Larry Bagnell (Yukon)
Jean-Claude D’Amours (Madawaska—Restigouche)
Wayne Easter (Malpeque)
Keith Martin (Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca)
Anthony Rota (Nipissing—Timiskaming)
Todd Russell (Labrador)
Scott Simms (Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor)

New Democratic Party – (12)
Malcolm Allen (Welland)
Charlie Angus (Timmins—James Bay)
Niki Ashton (Churchill)
Dennis Bevington (Western Arctic)
Nathan Cullen (Skeena—Bulkley Valley)
Claude Gravelle (Nickel Belt)
Carol Hughes (Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing)
Bruce Hyer (Thunder Bay—Superior North)
Jim Maloway (Elmwood—Transcona)
John Rafferty (Thunder Bay—Rainy River)
Peter Stoffer (Sackville—Eastern Shore)
Glenn Thibeault (Sudbury)

Bloc Québécois – (0)

Independent – (1)
André Arthur (Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier)

and from the governing Conservatives…

Conservative Party of Canada – (143)

Read my post on how the vote went last night

Third Quarter Party financial statements out today

Conservative Party Liberal Party New Democratic Party Green Party Bloc Quebecois
Q1 $4,362,596 $1,857,728 $595,611 $215,967 $133,586
Q2 $3,957,662 $4,053,568 $711,269 $194,090 $198,858
Q3 $4,554,787 $2,010,823 $1,078,376 $265,507 $249,477
Total $12,875,044 $7,922,119 $2,385,256 $675,564 $581,921

For all of the Liberal crowing last quarter over their 2Q results (largely buoyed by a “leadership” convention where Michael Ignatieff was coronated leader) and their 1Q->2Q plus/minus, their 2Q->3Q plus/minus is that story in reverse. However, realistically this quarter’s results shows the real strength of each party’s fundraising machine.

Interestingly, the Greens are outraising the Bloc Quebecois. The Greens may argue that this is another example of why we need proportional representation, however, I’d argue that this represents Canadians that believe in something, rather than believing against another (see what I mean in this article).

The NDP is raising half of what the Liberals are raising showing that for their relative size, their numbers aren’t surprising. Further, it shows that the NDP base is still healthy enough for their smaller party. For the Liberals, their numbers are also relative to their seat count (when compared to CPC numbers) in the House of Commons. However, this may be bad news for the Liberals as they’d like everyone to believe that their seat count is rather a result of a unpopular leader in the last election rather than current Canadian (and Liberal member) attitudes about this party.

Despite the economic crisis, the numbers are still relatively healthy. My friends in the fundraising sector would suggest that if corporate donations were still legal, we’d see party fundraising take a hit this year. However, although Canada went through some tough economic times this year, personal donations are still relatively strong in all charitable sectors.

NDP – what could have been

To the tremendous disappointment of those of us who are biased to breaking news and having something to write about,the New Democratic Party — despite teasing us with their brand new blue and orange coloured website, their importation of US Democratic strategists, and promised debate on party identity — failed to change their party’s name on the weekend. To be honest, probably best for them that they didn’t get around to voting on a new name. The worst possible time to change your political brand identity would be the day before an election. Changing the party’s name is also not a wise move with a potential fall election and an uphill climb as fourth party trying to re-introduce itself to the electorate. Best time to rebrand: the day after you win a majority government.

But what might have been? You know Brad Lavigne and Anne McGrath were sitting on top of a party rebranding campaign ready to be unleashed at the word “go” by the party delegates. However, any investment in putting the “new” into the New Democrats (or whatever the new name) would have to be shelved until next time.

Would the NDP be well-served to rebrand as the “Democratic Party”? Or would have another name worked out better for them?

Here are a few suggestions for names for the next time the party thinks of rebranding:

  1. The Jack Pack – “cause it’s all about Jack”
  2. The New Emo-crats – “the only thing we’d ever cut is ourselves”
  3. The Obama Hope and Change and Hopechange Party – “we’re all in on this one”
  4. The Liberalist Party of Canada – “making coalition governments that much easier”
  5. The Orange-cha glad I didn’t say nationalize Party – “* we still might
  6. The Not-in-Kansas Anymore Party – “rainbows and windmills and weed, oh my!”
  7. Everything for Everyone Party – “not to be confused with the ‘Everything to Everyone’ Liberal Party of Canada”
  8. The Farm Team – “if you work really hard, someday you too can be a Liberal cabinet minister.”
  9. The Local Party – “we’ve run cities and on occasion we’ve run provinces. But, for God’s sake, don’t let us near the army”
  10. The not-conservative Party – “because with that Ignatieff guy, you really can’t be sure”

NDP convention — Saturday summary

Today, the NDP got down to business and discussed policy, policy and more policy. In fact, the difference with Liberal policy conventions and NDP policy conventions, is that at NDP policy conventions, policy is discussed.

I started following the day with interest as delegates debated building an oil pipeline from Alberta to Eastern Canada. The advantages — according to the delegates — would be that such a move would create hundreds if not thousands of jobs and it would maintain sovereignty over Canadian energy distribution as distribution channels now run through the US. The clear disadvantage? That would be a nod to the reality that Canadians consume oil and export oil from the oil sands — a sticky point to a party that ran on a moratorium on future oil sands development in the previous election. In the face of recognizing economic realities and lofty dreams, the party faithful sided with the latter firmly saying “no” to our own oil production and transport.

From there, delegates went onto women in “peace-building” (is this the same as Conservative “peacemaking” — or closer to Liberal “peacekeeping”?) The resolution carried as no controversy could be found in a feel good resolution for everyone. Then foreign aid came up and Libby Davies took the microphone to describe the conditions of the people in the Gaza strip after she had returned from… the West Bank. No mention of Israel, though one delegate found the Canada-Israel Committee’s presence at the conference “interesting”. There was some other drama as some delegates debated the highly generalized language of the foreign aid resolution which described aid to “countries”. One delegate moved to discuss aid on a case-by-case bilateral basis. There were also some procedural debates. One French-language resolution was discussed which may well have been lifted by the Bloc Quebecois mandating the use of the French-language by all Quebeckers. Further, a policy resolution on EI firmed up the party’s position closer to the 360 hour mark similarly being proposed by the Liberals.

Leo Gerard was one of the showcase speakers of the day. The president of the United Steelworkers certainly gave the best crowd-pleasing speech of the day but appealed to the worst elements of partisanship as he, at different times, called both Harper and Ignatieff “the prince of darkness” and called ideological opponents in the US healthcare debate “redneck jerkoffs”. Frankly, if the NDP is to ever be taken seriously, this sort of language is unacceptable from a showcase speaker during the convention of a mainstream political party. In fact, to emphasize the fact that the NDP is still not taken seriously, there will be little to no critical coverage of this language in the MSM tomorrow, as there would have been screaming headlines if this had occurred at a Conservative or Liberal convention.

Next, the results of the party executive elections were announced. Peggy Nash replaces Anne McGrath as president of the NDP while Rebecca Blaikie was elected treasurer. A motion was made to destroy recycle the ballots. Nash served as an MP for the NDP in the 39th parliament and then most recently as an adviser to the CAW. Blaikie is daughter of the former NDP MP and Dean of the House of Commons Bill Blaikie.

Next, Marshall Ganz — a Harvard lecturer and labour organizer — spoke to the crowd about his experience as a community organizer and as a campaign organizer for the Obama campaign. Ganz gave the most informative speech of day for assembled delegates. Though Ganz spoke about the “politics of hope”, the NDP would be better served going negative against Michael Ignatieff as the Liberal leader has left them a lot of room to maneuver on the centre-left. To stake out their place there, the NDP will have to define Ignatieff more aggressively than recent Conservative efforts did with the now famous Just Visiting ads. Particularly notable moments of culture shock were apparent from Obama speakers in their use of biblical parables to illustrate “teachable moments” at this convention. The party of prairie preacher Tommy Douglas has taken a long road eschewing social justice drawn from religious inclination to one taken from a more atheistic worldview and Obama campaigners seemed to be out-of-place making religious analogies to a largely secular party.

After Ganz, the party went back to policy debate and discussed a state-focused nuclear disarmament resolution in a “hey, remember the 80s/something happened on 9/11?” moment. As conflict has moved from cold-war area politics to one with asymmetrical non-state actors post 9/11, the NDP still seems bent on having the same “world without (US) nukes” policy discussion instead of addressing the real and present danger of global terrorism. Another striking moment came during the international policy discussion portion when NDP MP Paul Dewar (Ottawa Centre) suggested that Tamil actions in blocking traffic in Ottawa and occupying a highway in Toronto were legitimate methods for Tamils to get the attention of the Canadian government.

The keynote of the day was Betsy Myers, the COO for the Obama campaign. According to her agency website, Myers banks between $15-20k per speaking arrangement. Myers talk was relatively light and uninspiring for delegates, but involved a Q&A session hosted by NDP national campaign manager Brian Topp. During Myers speech to party faithful, union delegates were notably absent from the speech. While union organizers make up an important part of the NDP field operation, they may have been upset by the party brass importing some expensive American talent to tell delegates about the shiniest new campaign techniques.


Union delegates absent from Myers speech and Q&A

After the Myers segment, Dippers poured out to hospitality events including a Keith’s brewery tour hosted by the NDP Nova Scotia Provincial caucus, that despite just forming government in that province, only managed to bring out five MLAs to the reception. Another big event of the evening was the Charlie Angus-sponsored Canadian Private Copying Collective gathering at the Delta. Of the federal caucus, only Angus and Bruce Hyer were present (a reader writes to inform that Claude Gravelle, Carol Hughes, Malcom Allen, Glen Thibault, Brian Masse, John Rafferty, Andrea Horwath, Ken Neuman, Leo Gerrard, and Andrew Cash also showed up during the event). They were joined by Canadian artists Eva Avila of Idol fame, Chris Cummings, Teresa Ennis, and Marie Denise Pelletier. The other free event was the NDP “tweetup” on Argyle street attended by Paul Dewar, Niki Ashton, Megan Leslie and Brian Masse. The VIPs, not at the brewery tour, copyright party or tweetup, must have been gathered at the Delta for a closed-door $300 “winner’s circle” meet-and-greet with Betsy Myers where MP Olivia Chow reported that Myers said that the NDP “[gives] voice to the voiceless”. Indeed.

Despite an initial setback after the party banned one of their leading activists, the eNDProhibition movement is making its voice heard at the NDP convention and is reportedly being more shrewd than the members of the Socialist caucus who are bluntly and clumsily pushing to nationalize everything. Dana Larsen, the NDP candidate who was fired during the last campaign for being pro-drug, was similarly barred from attending the NDP convention. The advocates for marijuana are looking for any small victory for their cause such as having the resolution on psychoactive substances debated on the floor. The eNDProhibition activists were seen lobbying GLBT delegates making the argument that they too once faced discrimination within their own party (Tommy Douglas’ views on homosexuality).


Some eNDProhibition buttons seen at the convention

Tomorrow will be an interesting day as the convention closes and the NDP debates their convention-headlining moment: the possible rebranding of the party. Observers will note a blue colour has washed over the NDP website and former party communications guru Ian Capstick noted to me that orange is simply terrible on camera. During the keynote, Myers spoke against a blue backdrop complete with “Jack Layton” in large letters overtop a barely visible “NDP-NPD” sitting next to large Obama logo. The party of Layton seems dedicated to embracing the success of the new American president who is for everything from the death penalty, to nukes, to civil unions over same-sex marriage, to two-tier healthcare, to increased troop presence in Afghanistan, to free trade with Colombia, to keeping Omar Khadr locked up. Layton may be embracing the blue colour in a nod to the US Democrats who turned red states into blue states for Obama in the 2008 election. The NDP slogan “it can be done” is somewhat similar to “yes we can” but seems to be more “convincing a disbeliever” in tone rather than a collective and affirmative call to action.

If Marshall Ganz could have given one lesson to delegates it would have been that without a personal story from each and every person about why they believe in your candidate enough to work on your team, the slickest political package and most sophisticated social media operation will never win a campaign. You can fly in the top-paid political talent, but without a strong field team you’ll be spending more time convincing people that “it can be done” rather than everyone believing that “yes, we can”. This weekend, the NDP may yet illustrate that it will fail at its own expensive imported lesson.

UDPATE: The NDP will not change its name. But not for a lack of trying. The delegates were only given an hour to debate an omnibus resolution on party constitution matters. No time was left to discuss the name change. As James Moore says, “everything old is new again”.