NDP Leadership Race

Read Jeffrey Simpson’s Globe & Mail article about the recent NDP Leadership Race Debate.

Surprisingly, given the writer, I agreed with mcuh of what was said. Having watched the debate, I was stunned by the lack of debate in it. There was much agreement, there was much naïvet&eaigue; displayed by the leaders. Clearly, only Layton, Blaikie and Nystrom are ‘real’ candidates. But between them, who to choose? The guy who speaks French or the guy with more parliamentary experience? Why could none of them really seperate themselves from each other? Is this a consistent problem with the left, that we’re all so attuned to the shades of grey that it’s hard to break through sometimes?

I remember reading about the various candidates during the last Canadian Alliance leadership race. Each of the candidates appeared scary to my eyes, but there were at least significant national-policy differences between the candidates, that would have resulted in a fairly different look for the party, depending on who won the race.

I have had great hopes for this leadership change. With the New Politics Initiative errupting (and then subsiding), I’d expected a response to this seeming hard shift left from within the party. Either that, or a push towards the Ethical Funds investor types (I don’t wear hemp or tie-dye, I just want to change the world), the (conservatively) progressive middle class, who for so long, have had no real option but the Liberals to vote for. Had they shift more central, I don’t know what I’d think of that, but at least the NDP would become a political force. If they move left, chances are in the current climate they’d remain somewhat marginal (although perhaps the recent Vancouver civic election is a sign of changeing times?), but could be a coherent, united front to speak for many who really don’t have a national voice at the moment.

I’m not too sure what I’d expected from the debate, what miracle I expected to happen (Actually, I’d hoped that I’d be able to settle on a candidate to vote for finally), but it didn’t happen. I still remian cautiously optimistic, and unlike Mr. Simpson, do believe that the NDP are still relevant, but I do wish I’d seen some spark that signified someone with real vision.