Monday, October 31, 2011

NDP Top Brass stifling growth of the party in Quebec

A straw in the wind, which might soon become the straw that broke the NDP camel's back in Quebec: membership cards are excruciatingly slow for one province.
Guess which province?

The one that Jack Layton scored the NDP's biggest electoral success in its history; where the Layton lead party broke the Bloc and elected 59 of its 103 MPs, catapulting it into Official Opposition status.

That province.

One would expect the NDP party brass to be hyperactive to cement Layton's gains in that massive new beachhead, but fortunately for the Liberals, they are scewing up big time, as the iPolitics article spells out:

The New Democratic Party is taking so long to issue membership cards in Quebec that even some MPs have been left waiting for months to get their own cards, iPolitics has learned.
In the rest of the country, however, NDP MPs say it takes only a few days or a few weeks before membership cards are in the mail...

Riccardo Filippone, spokesman for the federal NDP, denies there is any discrepancy between the time it takes for Quebec memberships to be processed and the time it takes for applications from other provinces. While it may take a while for “the formality” of sending out a membership card, those who apply for memberships are considered members the moment their applications are processed, he said.

“All memberships are being processed in time,” he said. “There’s no backlog.”

Filippone said the NDP has hired more staff to deal with the new memberships expected to come in as a result of the leadership race, but could not say how many had been hired.

However, several Quebec NDP MPs supporting a variety of leadership candidates say it is taking months to process membership applications from their constituents. Unlike other provinces where memberships can be processed by provincial NDP offices, membership applications from Quebec are processed by NDP headquarters in Ottawa.

What's even more ironic  is that the interim leader of the NDP hails from that province!

The party stands a good chance of shooting itself in the foot in Quebec, and reducing its breakthrough there to a flash in the pan.

It won't be the first time that unelected executies of a political party have misunderstood political realities, thought everything was hunky dory and business as usual was OK, only to find the party enter into a death spiral.

A pity for Canada that this seems to be happening to the Orange Crush in a province formerly firmly in the hands of a separatist party that was disinterested in a wider Canada's affairs.


  1. This is silly. The only thing being delayed is sending out membership *cards*, which are completely symbolic. One is a member as soon as one's membership form is processed, regardless of whether one has received a card or not. They're up to date on processing forms, there's just a backlog in physically producing and mailing out the cards.

  2. It is extraordinarily significant due to it being a symptom of the party brass failing to understand that the NDP victory in Quebec could be turned into a one-time wonder with a few false steps.

    They have already showed a lack of understanding of the fragility of the beachhead there by rejecting out of hand Mulcair's request that the party launch a party-wide signup campaign to enrol tens of thousands of Quebeckers as members of the NDP, to make up for lost time. If the number of Quebeckers who actually qualify to vote for the next leader of the NDP falls short compared to the other provinces, the party bigwigs will be surprised by how wounding this will be to the newly converted NDP supporters from that province.

    The suddenness of the unexpected breakthrough in Quebec demands an appreciation of the extraordinary moment that face the party there right now; it calls for leadership with strategic vision and the ability to seize the moment to cement the victory.

    And that is clearly lacking.


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