The NDP looks to 2015: "We’re up against our own belief in the ability to get this done"

On Saturday, in the western Prince Edward Island riding of Egmont, 1,500 local Liberals showed up to vote in a four-way nomination race. For those not in politics, let me assure that 1,500 at just about any nomination anywhere is a helluva good turnout but this is a rding where, in 2011, there were just 5,997 who voted Liberal. So when you’ve got one in four of voters in a general election showing up for a nomination meeting, that’s pretty incredible.

In Digby, N.S. that same afternoon, local reporters figured that there was about 1,000 — including Nova Scotia Premier Stephen MacNeil and Nova Scotia Health Minister Leo Glavine — who attended the Liberal nomination in West Nova. Again: That’s a heckuva turnout.

But if you asked political organizers from most parties, those kinds of barn-burner turnouts are the exception rather than the rule when it comes to party nomination meetings. They’re usually much more subdued, though no less important affairs.

For a good sense of the typical nomination meeting, click on the video link above and listen to Andrew Cash, the NDP MP from the downtown Toronto riding of Davenport, speak at the nomination meeting over the weekend of Fayaz Karim, who won, by acclamation, the NDP nomination in the suburban Toronto riding of Mississauga East-Cooksville.

The NDP should have no hope in this part of the world. The riding was held by a solid right-of-centre Liberal, Albina Guarneri, from 2004 until her retirement in 2011. Her successor is Conservative Wladyslaw Lizon. Since 2004, the NDP has finished third with usually around 5,000 votes. The Orange Wave of 2011 helped boost that to about 8,000 votes — but they still finished third.

To which Cash, in a speech to this riding association now girding up for battle in 2015 says: Forget about all that. “We’re not just up against poll numbers, from perceived momentum from the Liberals. We’re not just up against a Conservative party that can out-fundraise us,” Cash says in this video above put up on YouTube by the local NDP riding association. “Fundamentally, we’re up against our own belief in the ability to get this done.”

Here’s some other excerpts from Cash’s speech on Saturday:

“What we need to do .. on a fundamental level is we need to elect more New Democrats. For a lot of the time, for us in the movement, we like to talk about values. But while we’re talking about that stuff other people are organizing to win seats and to form government. And so what we need to do is win more seats. If we’re not building support in places like here (Mississauga), then we’re not going to form government.
And we can form government.
We have never been closer.
Right now we need about 60 seats. If we hold what we’ve got, we need about 60 more.
The Liberals on the other hand,need about 130 more.
This is something people don’t realize.

Never in the history of Canada has a third party with 37 seats won the next election and formed the government.

So if the choice is — we’ve really got to get rid of Harper, we have to change the direction of this country, then there is only one choice right now.

I know there’s polling numbers out there that suggest otherwise.

[Cash then reflects on his own experience, in Davenport, before the 2011 election]

Davenport has been a Liberal riding since God rested on the seventh day … [with, as Cash notes, a couple of Progressive Conservative blips in the 1960s)

When I got the nomination, we had 30 seats in the House of Commons. And our poll numbers were around 12 per cent. But I didn’t care about that. ….

I knew that the representative of the riding I wanted to win was lazy. [Liberal Mario Silva was MP from 2004 until he was defeated by Cash in 2011] I knew that that person took his seat for granted. I knew that that person took the voters he represented for granted and consequently didn’t do the work, didn’t show up, didn’t find the issues his constituents cared about and didn’t push those issues in the House of Commons. So I knew there was a possibility there.

I can’t tell how many people told me I would not win. Just about every day someone told me that. And not just our opponents. Members of our dear party told me that as well. This just underlines what we’re up against.

We’re not just up against poll numbers, from perceived momentum from the Liberals. We’re not just up against a Conservative party that can out-fundraise us. Fundamentally, we’re up against our own belief in the ability to get this done.

What we’re trying to do here is essentially steal a seat here. We can do it.

We in this room believe that our values are Canada’s values, that our ideas are the best way forward for Canada.

In Ontario and New Brunswick, the NDP go back to populist roots — with much moaning and whining

We all know about the soi-disant “high-profile” New Democrats who complained in the middle of the recently concluded Ontario election that NDP leader Andrea Horwath had abandoned core NDP principles and, as a result was risking core NDP votes in a crucial election. They “leaked” a letter on May 23 in which they scolded Horwath, saying  “you are abandoning those values and constituencies that the party has always championed.”  My Parliamentary Press Gallery colleague Tim Harper pithily described this as “a manifesto that reads like it was written at an Annex dinner party that went one bottle of red over the line.” In other words, this was the whining of your downtown Toronto NDP, a certain species of New Democrat that has, at times, been more trouble than it’s worth to a party that was born of Prairie populism and sober down-home common-sense 50 years ago. Continue reading In Ontario and New Brunswick, the NDP go back to populist roots — with much moaning and whining

Flashback: Cressy storms the House of Commons

Joe Cressy hopes to make it into the House of Commons this year as the new MP for Trinity-Spadina, replacing Olivia Chow who resigned her seat to run for mayor in Toronto. I first met Cressy in 2009 in that very same chamber but on that day, he was part of a group of about 120 protesters who, in the middle of Question Period stood up and started hollering questions at the government from the public gallery. That’s a very big no-no House-of-Commons-procedure-wise and an army of security guards ended up dragging the protesters out. I was sitting in the House of Commons press gallery that day and Continue reading Flashback: Cressy storms the House of Commons

New Democrats complain about the media's Liberal obsession

Ever since I arrived on Parliament Hill in 2005, I’ve heard complaints from New Democrats that they can’t get any respect from the Parliamentary Press Gallery. I didn’t think much, at first, of their complaints. After all, they were the third fourth party and none of the press gallery colleagues I was getting to know seriously thought they’d ever be the government. Parliament Hill reporters paid attention to them in minority parliaments only when their votes mattered on a confidence motion. Continue reading New Democrats complain about the media's Liberal obsession

Alice live-tweets the #NDP debate in Toronto Centre

Tonight in Toronto, the three individuals who hope to carry the New Democrat flag in the soon-to-be called by-election in Toronto Centre met for a debate. Alice Funke, known to her fans as PunditsGuide was there and live-tweeted the proceedings. I have grabbed her tweets, lightly edited them and presented them in chronological order: Thanks, Alice!

Throughout the timeline here, the following applies: Continue reading Alice live-tweets the #NDP debate in Toronto Centre

NDP MP Brian Masse makes the New York Times

Ian Austen, who reports for the New York Times about Canada,  only quotes opposition MP, New Democrat Brian Masse, in a piece that takes a look at one of the side effects of Alberta oil.

“Here’s a little bit of Alberta,” said Brian Masse, one of Windsor’s Parliament members. “For those that thought they were immune from the oil sands and the consequences of them, we’re now seeing up front and center that we’re not.”

Mr. Masse wants the International Joint Commission, the bilateral agency that governs the Great Lakes, to investigate the pile. Michigan’s state environmental regulatory agency has submitted a formal request to Detroit Bulk Storage, the company holding the material for Koch Carbon, to change its storage methods. Michigan politicians and environmental groups have also joined cause with Windsor residents. Paul Baltzer, a spokesman for Koch’s parent company, Koch Companies Public Sector, did not respond to questions about its storage or the ultimate destination of the petroleum coke.

Coke, which is mainly carbon, is an essential ingredient in steelmaking as well as producing the electrical anodes used to make aluminum.

via Mountain of Petroleum Coke From Oil Sands Rises in Detroit –