Canadian Politics – Canada’s Left Selects a new Leader

By Karl Gotthardt – Canadian and Military Editor

The New Democratic Party  had an unprecedented success during Canada’s federal election in May of this year.  The party overtook the Liberal Party as the official opposition.  While most of the gains were in Quebec, it has realigned the party to attempt a run at government in the next election.  Shortly after the election, the NDP’s popular leader Jack Layton died and this has set off a frenzy of those vying for the leadership of the party.   The first of six leadership debates will take place today broadcast on the CTV Newschannel at 2:00 pm EST.   The new leader will be chosen on March 24th.

The debate for the nine candidates will be conducted over two hours, with the first hour in English and the second hour in French.  All nine candidates are bilingual.

Ottawa MP Paul Dewar, Toronto MP Peggy Nash, Manitoba MP Niki Ashton, Former Party President Brian Topp, Montreal MP Thomas Mulcair and Nova Scotia MP Robert Chisholm will be on stage along with MP Romeo Saganash, B.C. MP Nathan Cullen and Nova Scotia businessman Martin Singh.

The New Democratic Party

The New Democratic Party evolved from the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation, which was a movement that emerged from Saskatchewan. The newly formed Canadian Labour Congress started negotiating with the CCF in 1956 to bring about a merger of the organized labour and the political left. In 1961 the New Democratic Party emerged, led by former Saskatchewan Premier Tommy Douglas. The present interim leader of the Party is Nycole Turmel. The party’s popular leader Jack Layton passed away on August 22, 2011. The Party holds 103 of 308 seats in Parliament and is the official opposition.  Canadian Political Parties

The subject of today’s debate will be the economy.  With Europe’s debt crisis and the potential collapse of the global economy, it will be interesting how far left the NDP’s approach to solving the economic woes will be.  Not unlike the left wing of the Democratic Party, the NDP believes that the government is the solution to most problems.   Europeans and Americans have pretty well determined that the problem has been excessive spending.  So this debate should prove to be interesting.   Hopefully the media does not give the potential leaders a free ride.

With little time to answer questions, about one minute per candidate, the outcome could be similar to the GOP Presidential debate and the frontrunners could change frequently between now and May.  If the debate accomplishes one thing, it must attempt to appeal to Canadian West of the Quebec border.  Expect most of the candidates to attack the policies of the governing Conservatives and not so much each other.  Ideologically the candidates are on the same sheet.   Their vision for Canada and its implementation may vary slightly.

From My Blog – The World As I see it

 Update:

NDP Leadership Debate – Was it really a Debate or a Policy Forum?

The NDP first leaders’ debate, hosted by CTV News Channel,  introduced the NDP leadership candidates for the first time to the Canadian public.  On the stage were, Ottawa MP Paul Dewar, Toronto MP Peggy Nash, Manitoba MP Niki Ashton, Former Party President Brian Topp, Montreal MP Thomas Mulcair and Nova Scotia MP Robert Chisholm will be on stage along with MP Romeo Saganash, B.C. MP Nathan Cullen and Nova Scotia businessman Martin Singh.

All of them agreed on affordable housing, healthcare, environment.  Brian Topp used a little more of a pragmatic approach and advocates that not only does the NDP have to demonstrate what it will do, but also how to do it.   Topp asserted that the NDP can’t win an election without doing both.

The general impression, and all candidates seemed to be on the same page,  they advocated green energy initiatives, including a green grid.   Cap and Trade was mentioned by most candidates, including getting fossil fueled cars out of Canadian cities.  It could have been the top of the agenda of the Green Party.  More government involvement in Canadians lives was also advocated. http://albertacowpoke.blogspot.com/2011/12/ndp-leadership-debate-was-it-really.html

About the Author

Karl Gotthardt - Politisite Managing Editor Maj. Gotthardt is a Retired Military Officer with 35 years service in the Canadian Armed Forces. He spent most of his time in the Military in Infantry Battalions. Karl took part in training for Afghanistan as an Operator Analyst with the Canadian Maneouvre Training Centre. Karl is a qualified military parachutist and military free fall parachutist. He earned his U.S. Master Jump Wings in Fort Benning, Georgia. Karl enjoys working with horses for the last 24 year. He owns six. He has experience in breeding, training and of course riding.Karl was born in Germany and is fluent in both English and German and he speaks enough French to "get in trouble". Karl has written or writes at NowPublic, All Voices, Tek Journalism and many others.

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