frandroid: Head of Jack Layton photoshopped onto a very muscular man wearing a sleeveless NDP t-shirt (ndp)
People criticize Dewar for his French (I haven't watched that debate yet), but they seem to forget that aside from his accent, Jack's French was pretty bad when he won the leadership in 2003.

When I dropped by Jack's leadership campaign headquarters in August or September 2002 (i.e. his house), I was immediately invited for dinner with Jack and Olivia. Jack was super curious to know more about the current state of Québec's progressive scene, and boasted of his past credentials (such as attending the McGill Français demo back in the day) but he was the typical Montréal exile who had all but left the province behind when he moved to Toronto. He was really disconnected from present-day Québec. I mentioned a few names to him, and he hadn't heard of them. (Léo-Paul Lauzon ended up running for the NDP a couple elections later...) He tried out his French on me but it wasn't impressive at all, except for his accent, which was surprisingly as working class than mine. So he had good Québec roots, but he had to dig through some earth to find them again. In spite of that, it was clear right away that he took Québec's potential very seriously, and it lead to where we are today. His French improved, but Harper's improved even faster.

The Sherbrooke declaration was the most intelligent thing Layton pushed early on, essentially telling leftist PQ members that they had a second federal home. It was a master stroke of political ambiguity, the place where you want to live in order to pick up the broad middle (in this case, the middle being soft-separatists giving a federalist party a chance). Already after May 2nd we saw the ambiguity get clarified with some light blowback that has fallen by the wayside with Jack's disease and subsequent death.

So while the expectations of French fluency are higher today, what matters more to me is how much do the candidates understand Québec. Mulcair can school them all, obviously, and he's the master of ambiguity, when he's calm. I suspect that Topp is good too, having been part of the team maintaining this ambiguity, but I haven't really seen him in action. (I really have to go and watch the debates I missed!) Dewar, as a monolingual Ottawan, puzzles me. His job today is to demonstrates that he 'gets' Québec as much as the two Québec candidates, and even put forward some original policy position on one thing or another. Peggy Nash just tried that, even though she has a lot less to prove on Québec...
frandroid: YPG logo, Syrian Kurdish defense forces (Default)
Quite a few Globe & Mail columnists, among others, have been predicting doom and gloom for the NDP in Québec, post-Layton. These people forget that Layton is the second popular leader that Québec has lost this year; Duceppe's defeat and resignation has also left the Bloc in tatters, and since the wind is out of the sovereigntist movement's sails, there are a lot of political activists, Québec nationalists, out of a federal party. The more separatist among them will stay home, but many militants who were supporting the Bloc for its social-democratic policies will now need a new home. Doesn't joining the official opposition to Stephen Harper sound like the best thing to do in these circumstances? I think many of them will, and that the NDP will inherit a fair chunk of the Bloc's network. Many of them are disillusioned with the PQ anyway, so it's not like they'll just retreat to provincial politics and stay there.

So a party that won Québec on Layton's sheer force of will and 8 years of dedication to bringing the province to the NDP fold will have an organization worth talking about next time around.

But whether the NDP wins big in Québec next time around is not the most important thing. What counts the most is that the Bloc stays down, and if it does, we will be able to credit Layton with putting one of the final nails in the separatist coffin, and bring Québec's left as full participants in the federation. That's a game-changer. This will have an impact for the NDP, and maybe even for the Liberal Party.

* * *

If it wasn't for the fact that Québec Solidaire is a sovereigntist party (I think that's mostly a pro forma commitment, but it's definitely official policy, since until Layton, the left in Québec seemed uncurable of its separatist disease), I think Amir Khadir would make an excellent candidate for the NDP leadership. I don't think he would win the race, but he would be the most compelling standard-bearer of the left-wing of the party in a long time.

F. mentions Judy Rebick. I don't think she's interested in the job at all, but I'd go to the front for her.

I'm curious to see how the caucus will shape up. I hope they won't coalesce around a Mulcair too early and wait for candidates come out of the provincial parties...

Profile

frandroid: YPG logo, Syrian Kurdish defense forces (Default)
frandroid

July 2017

S M T W T F S
      1
2345678
9101112131415
1617 181920 2122
2324252627 2829
3031     

Syndicate

RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Active Entries

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Sep. 25th, 2017 05:00 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios