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.

Background on Cash and his CBC cash

In our papers today, we report : “NDP MP draws fire over CBC conflict of interest”

We started working on that story after reviewing Cash’s “Disclosure Summary”, a document all MPs file with the Commissioner of Ethics and Conflict of Interest and which is published on the commissioner’s Web site. You can review right here. Among other things MPs are required to disclose are any contracts with the federal government. Cash disclosed: Continue reading Background on Cash and his CBC cash