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Title - The View from Dundas
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Follow Me on TwitterPhillip Blancher is a writer, web geek and communications professional by trade. He has written for a number of publications in Eastern Ontario and Northern New York State and also was a weekly morning show contributor for two area radio stations. As a resident of South Dundas for the last seven years, this long-time political buff has taken on an appreciation of small-town/rural life while also being a father of four and a soccer coach. Blancher's columns on OurHometown.ca will cover a range of his interests from politics, parenthood, local history and on his favourite NHL team, the Buffalo Sabres. If you have questions or wish to contact Phillip, you can email him at pblancher@ourhometown.ca
Mulcair named NDP Leader, mysteries will be solved
Phillip Blancher
OurHometown.ca

Mulcair named NDP Leader, mysteries will be solved
I watched one entire hour of the NDP Leadership Convention this weekend, the most important and the final hour. First let me start with saying that I am really happy with the results. Seeing someone like Thomas Mulcair win the NDP Leadership cements in my mind that the NDP "Orange Crush" in Quebec really is/was a flash in the pan.
PHOTO CREDIT - CTV.ca

South Dundas - March 26, 2012 - I watched one entire hour of the NDP Leadership Convention this weekend, the most important and the final hour. While watching on CBC Newsworld, I also followed along on Twitter what people were saying about the convention and even the media coverage. The event was rather disjointed in my view, and a bit concerning.

First let me start with saying that I am really happy with the results. Seeing someone like Thomas Mulcair win the NDP Leadership cements in my mind that the NDP "Orange Crush" in Quebec really is/was a flash in the pan and in 2015 you will see diminished returns for the NDP. Mulcair is not known to be a consensus builder and has a reputation of being a bear where ever he goes. This was confirmed by many of the media people swooning over his election Saturday night. The NDP are a party that was and still is building outside of Quebec. You cannot build and grow by having a bear trample all over the place.

Mulcair's first interviews after winning was in French. Most of his lecture, er I mean speech, was in French. To this observer, that tells me that Mulcair is Quebec-first. I don't care what province you come from, if the winner was from BC, Newfoundland or Ontario, but a leader of a national party should be Canada-first and therefore should have had a speech equally in both languages. Mulcair will pander to those soft-nationalists in Quebec who believe that they are entitled to more than the rest of Canada based strictly on linguistic values. That will diminish the NDP's relevance in the rest of Canada and turn the NDP into an orange-coloured version of the Bloc Québécois. Workers and volunteers for the NDP in Quebec are also working on campaigns for the Québec Solidaire, a separatist provincial party.

His comment about bringing "the center to us" instead of bringing the party to the center, plays well in Quebec where there are four "center-left" parties and politics is divided based on sovereignty issues, not left-right politics. Outside of Quebec however, whatever party can appeal to the center wins, damn any ideology.

Mulcair isn't a socialist, he's a small-l liberal. He was part of the Charest Liberal-government and even looked at joining the Conservatives federally before joining the NDP. Mulcair does not firmly believe in the tenants of the NDP constitution and its founding principles. Don't think for a moment that Mulcair is going to stand up for the more left-wing policies of the NDP. Sure Muclair likes the environment and rails on that whipping-post of the left, the Alberta Oil Sands, but don't think that he will sacrifice votes over a left-wing principle. Mulcair is in it to win for Mulcair, not the NDP.

The exodus from the office of the Leader of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition doesn't mean much, as those departing were not part of the winning team of Mulcair. It does speak to the talent that will be going away with his win. The very architects behind Jack Layton's win in 2011 are going, will Mulcair be able to replace them and get the same or better results next time? I don't think so.

If Mulcair is not careful, he will succeed in undoing the work of Jack Layton and Ed Broadbent, and completely fragmenting the NDP. I suspect he wont be careful and that this WILL happen.

Mulcair is passionate about the things HE believes in. He is an emotional person who reacts first and thinks second. Un-checked this will hurt rather than help him. As such, the next three years of Question Period is going to be very interesting and entertaining. I for one look forward to Mulcair's call to see the Osama bin Laden photos, nice to have that mystery solved.

If I were the brain-trust within the Liberal Party of Canada, I'd be pushing for a leadership convention in the fall of 2012 and start throwing everything they have at Mulcair now. Mulcair may well be the best thing to ever be handed to a rebuilding Liberal Party.

Some other thoughts

: - Not one Canadian flag was on stage at the crowning of Mulcair Saturday night. None. Odd for a national leader not to have a national flag with him.

- Will Mulcair's win mean Ed Broadbent will finally be in retirement? Broadbent's scathing attack on Mulcair in the weeks leading up to the convention was sheer political gold. Not only did Broadbent try to swing his weight one more time within the party, he did so and failed. Broadbent left the NDP leadership in 1989, it's time for him to realize it. Getting up on that stage Saturday night with the other previous leaders of the NDP must have been a teeth-gnashing experience.

- The CBC's coverage that I saw was ok, up until the hosts started talking after the crowning. At least Peter Mansbridge managed to hammer in one question about Mulcair being opportunistic, even if it was a soft lob in.

- For all of the bluster online about Sun Media covering the event, and all of their reporters covering it from the floor tweeting online, at the moment of the big event, Sun News was showing repeats of shows from the work week. Was someone asleep at master-control when the fourth ballot results were being released? So much for "Fair and Balanced".


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