|Nathan Cullen - the NDP's grenade thrower|
NDP MP Pat Martin (Winnipeg Centre, Man.) told The Hill Times on Thursday that Mr. Cullen’s proposal “separates him from the rest of the pack” and, following its rejection by candidates NDP MP Thomas Mulcair (Outremont, Que.) and former party president Brian Topp, Mr. Martin said anyone who summarily rejects the idea “doesn’t have any leadership qualities at all.”...
But Mr. Martin, who made support for election cooperation with Liberals a condition of his support in the leadership race, said failure to accept a proposal such as the one Mr. Cullen laid out would guarantee the re-election of Prime Minister Stephen Harper (Calgary Southwest, Alta.) and a Conservative government for at least one more term.He said Mr. Cullen’s proposal “separates him from the rest of the pack.” Said Mr. Martin:
“Nathan’s initiative separates him from the others, it differentiates him, he’s in it to win it and he’s going to appeal to a whole constituency out there who want to see extraordinary measures taken because of the extraordinary extremism of Stephen Harper.”“Any kind of a knee-jerk dismissal of Nathan’s idea will doom us to at least eight more years of Conservative government, so anybody that puts this on the too-hard-to-do pile doesn’t have any leadership qualities at all, in my view, and doesn’t deserve to be leader,” Mr. Martin said.
Strong words indeed, but Pat Martin has a point. It is time for the NDP to grow up and face the realities of politics 2011 in Canada.
The choice is stark: Can the NDP continue Jack Layton's drive to become the government of Canada, or will it revert back to a cozy protest movement, with little influence on how our country is governed apart from glowing headlines supporting it?
One test of a political leader is whether he or she understands political realities, and the basic lesson of politics Westminister style is the gaining of power. To gain power you have to remove the one in government from that position.
The Liberals have recently suffered a huge loss in seats, due partly to the lack of comprehension by Michael Ignatieff of the realities of power. Ignatieff demonstrated this lack when he walked away from a coalition agreement to replace the right wing Harper Tory minority government, despite having signed his agreement to that accord a few days prior. That step doomed the Liberals and NDP to powerlessness and gave Harper his chance to win a majority government. It also contributed, in my view, to the inroads the NDP made in the province of Quebec, where voters moved en masse away from the do-nothing Bloc and know-little Liberals lead by Ignatieff.
Now we will see if the Dippers also can distinguish between leaders who wish to practice the politics of olden days (witness Brian Topp's opening political statement in leadership race that he wants to tax the rich more), even if this cocoon-like behaviour results in Harper remaining as prime minister in 2015.
Pat Martin's caution about the stance of both Topp and Mulcair to the Cullen Plan will be taken into consideration by many Dippers who really crave a more progressive government than the reactionary one we now have.
Bring on the polls!