|Can you name them all? I couldn't. Especially not the person shrouded by Selinger's head. Good photography there..|
A couple of days ago, Thomas Mulcair met with what I assume are the 10 provincial and territorial leaders of the New Democrats across Canada. Wowee! the media said, falling all over themselves to show how awesome such a meeting was and that Stephen Harper doesn't do this kind of thing with Premiers, something of the point that Mulcair was trying to make.
Aside from the fact that holding a partisan meeting with your partisan buddies in the provinces does not count as some sort of federal meeting of minds, I really need to ask - what did this accomplish for the NDP?
First off, it confirms that Mulcair's NDP is looking to the model created by the most "conservative" New Democratic Party in Canada, the Manitoba NDP. "Zero percent small business tax," Mulcair notes, without also noting that Manitoba's corporate tax is one of the lowest in the country (that would disturb the whole "fight the 1%! vibe"). He also forgot to mention the Selinger government's support for several Harper initiatives, from crime legislation to EI reforms - again, that would tarnish the whole "united against the evil Harper Government!" tone.
I mean, the entire reason the Manitoba NDP keep winning elections is because, like the federal Conservatives, they toe that centrist line ever so carefully, sometimes dipping left, sometimes dipping right. This is a good strategy that will win you elections, but it is probably a step down from the high idealism/naivete of the federal NDP, turning it into, yes, another Liberal Party. Whether that is good or bad, well, that's up to Dippers to decide.
The second point is supposed to be the, er, "policy" that was supposed to come out of this meeting. Policy and strategy. I would like you to name one thing that came out of this meeting that boost the chances of the NDP in the next federal election. Just one.
... that's what I thought.
While I understand not everything is going to come out publicly, it doesn't appear that there was anything of substance actually talked about in this meeting. Mulcair blabbed on about Douglas for awhile and praised the Manitoba NDP. I doubt any of the other provincial leaders had something useful to say, or at least if they do I don't know about it because the media focused solely on Selinger and Dexter, the two premiers. Great reporting.
So what was the point of this? The clear answer is that Mulcair wanted to have a crowd of people behind him. Simple as that. In 2015 he'll point to that and say to Harper, "I met with leaders from every province! Why didn't you do anything like this?" He'll also tie himself closely with his provincial counterparts, to suck the goodwill from the electorate out of them like some sort of bearded orange vampire.
In other words - this was a meeting for clear partisan purposes, nothing more and nothing less. Maybe it was a nice get together or something, but what is the actual point? I mean, for Christ's sake they're having a convention in 2013 where they're all probably going to meet again anyways! This is just more public and got the news media excited.
Oh New Democrats, there was a time when you were actually a substantive party.... I think it was before I was alive, but nevertheless, there was indeed a time. Now you're pulling off useless partisan meetings and moving to where the electorate wants you, instead of where your claimed ideology is supposed to take you.
Just like the rest of the us. Welcome to the club.