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the pundit is in

i always do love to comment on recent canadian political developments. i don't think that there's any great mystery as to my general political stand, and those who know me have heard me get into specifics on many occasions.

but these latest developments sort of have me divided. of course, i'm pleased to see the ndp get a toehold (it's not big enough to be a foothold) in quebec. the victory has nothing to do, of course, with the party and everything to do with the fact that thmoas mulcair was a charismatic and effective municipal politician for years. however, you could certainly see a quiet endorsement of federal leader jack layton's emphasis on making gains in urban areas (recruiting successful municipal politicians being part of that strategy).

what divides me is that i'm sort of overcome with waves of sympathy for stephane dion. unlike any liberal party leader in my lifetime (since trudeau had become cynical by the time i was around to remember him), i like dion. well, i don't know him, but from what i've seen, he's a very intelligent and decent person (leaving aside which of his policies you agree or disagree with). i dislike the fact that his awkwardness in front of the press (which i understand to be a refreshing lack of concern with his public image) and his refusal to be the only public face of the party (which i would interpret as the ability to delegate) is constantly derided. it seems uncomfortably like he is not being accepted because he fails to fulfill the expectations of a national politician. not something that makes me hopeful for the future, i must say.

Comments

Mulclair is mostly known in Quebec as a provincial minister, and a loved one too, for his fairly tough stand on the environment, which may very well have cost him his position in the party. I'd say good for the NDP for finally understanding that you can succeed by getting some "celebrities" in the party, instead of just well-meaning, but politically inexperienced folks. Thats a lesson that the Tories had to learn, and capitalized on with success.
As far as Dion... He did very credibly as an environment minister, but I dont know what I can say about his leadership abilities. Part of the problem might be a lack of political presence of the party itself as the problem. He may have to bide his time (which he may very well be doing) until the Tories do an inevitable mistake (as the old Tories did, and as they are certain to be doing, with the yahoos they've got in the party), but that may take some time, as Harper is more shrewed than I certainly gave him credit for. He seems able to ride that steep cliff between his party's wishes and what will fly in the country. Frighteningly, he has the same power base as the Nazis did (not that I'm calling them Nazis mind you) in that their supporters are the conservative middle class and the regions, who have more personal concerns than metropolitan areas, who have to deal with population density, poverty, tax limitations and so on. From the grievances I've heard, its the same as we hear on the provincial level: "why should we pay for them?" Its fine for them to enjoy the products of the cities, but don't ask them to pay for it...

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