Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Pat Martin: NDP Leadership Race is an Intellectual Ghetto

Straight talking NDP MP Pat Martin praises Nathan Cullen for his idea to turf out the Tory government, and gives a backhanded swipe to the idea-less NDP leadership race:
MP Pat Martin

However, NDP MP Pat Martin, who has called for the NDP and the Liberals to work together, praised Cullen’s proposal.

“I find it fantastically refreshing,” Martin told reporters. “Finally, a leadership candidate with an idea. There’s been this intellectual ghetto in the NDP leadership race that has been very frustrating for me. So I’ve got to hand it to Nathan that I think he’s in it to win it. I think he’s actually willing to admit that extraordinary circumstances call for extraordinary measures and I think it’s an excellent idea.”

However, Martin said he wants to see other leadership candidates weigh in on the question and he has not yet ruled out running for the leadership himself.

The Cat agrees with Pat Martin.

Cullen's idea is the first shot in a national dialogue on how best to combine the formidable attraction that all parties to the left of Harper's new Tories have for voters each time an election is held. Both Topp and  Mulcair have brushed Cullen's ideas aside, but these two gentlemen should pause for a moment and look at the Arab Spring. 

Top down orders don't work that well in today's social media societies. When people can come together in cyberspace as well as in physical space,  then we've entered a new paradigm in how politics is conducted.

Despite their curt dismissals of this significant introduction of the merits of an electoral  ceasefire, neither Topp nor Mulcair can avoid the media pointedly asking them questions about whether they have any plans to encourage some form of pre- and post-election cooperation by the parties who have more voters choosing them than choose the Harper Tories.

If neither man has any ideas on such cooperation, then their fitness for being leader of the NDP should be questioned. In this, they would not be walking shoulder to shoulder with Jack Layton.

Layton favoured cooperation and said so publicly several times:

Layton has said he would be open to forming a coalition government should the need arise -- an option the Liberals have already ruled out -- and he repeatedly spoke of the need to bring people together

"I'm asking for a mandate to lead the next government," he told the crowd. "If that turns out to be a minority Parliament you can count on me to reach out to all members of Parliament who believe in building a better Canada."

And in the debates, the question of some type of pre-election electoral coopration or ceasefire (ala Cullen) will definitely be on the table.

Plus, of course, the pollsters with their ears to the ground will be constantly putting the question of pre-election cooperation (including the Nathan Cullen proposal of an electoral ceasefire, and Professor Michael Byers earlier suggestions of a ceasefire) to voters to gauge just how in touch the leaders of the NDP (and those running to be leader) and the LPC and Green Party are with what non-Tory Canadians think.

The Cat bets that both Topp and Mulcair are in for a big surprise on the score of electoral ceasefire with the primary aim being to fire Stephen Harper as prime minister.

Pat Martin is right. If both Topp and Mulcair are not willing to talk about a pre-election electoral  ceasefire (the pros and cons and possible terms they could sign on to, and whether individual NDP members have the right to strike out on their own as Cullen suggests they do), then this will be further evidence of the intellectual ghetto of their campaign for leadership.

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