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Blog Taking Break: Back Nov 6

October 4th, 2017 · 5 Comments

The rain and cold weather is coming … so I am going!  ;)

The blog is taking a break … time to enjoy a little more retirement travel.  Wish everyone a gentle Fall season.

Back at it Monday, Nov 6.

ho

 

→ 5 CommentsTags: Private Notes

Not Just NDP Should CELEBRATE Singh Election

October 2nd, 2017 · 14 Comments

Frankly, like most Canadians,  I did not know much about Jagmeet Singh … except that he was running for the leadership of the federal NDP to replace Tom Mulcair … and he is a Sikh.

Yet,  I was happy to hear he had won the party’s leadership on the first ballot … not because of any of his policies … but because his election marks the first time a member of a visible minority has been chosen by ANY Canadian political party as LEADER.

Bravo! It’s about time!

As long, of course, as his IDEAS, HIS CAPABILITY and his PERSONAL APPEAL  … and not just his uniqueness … were the major factors that led to his choice by the party.

If so, every Canadian, even those who support other parties, should be proud that our country has reached a state of sufficient maturity that someone who is not Caucasian,  professes a “different” faith from Canada’s traditional Judeo-Christian heritage, and wears religious headgear now has the potential to become our Prime Minister.

And kudos to enough NDP members … 53.6% … who gave Singh their vote of confidence on the FIRST ballot … enough to avoid a runoff against any of the other three leadership candidates.  This is quite an accomplishment in ANY four-way contest!

With the vote approaching, I actually found myself looking away from Canada’s troubles with the US over free trade, the attack on Bombardier, the disaster in Puerto Rican, the Catalan referendum and started paying attention to the increasing coverage of Singh.

Seems very charismatic, articulate, intelligent and dapper, with a good sense of humour: what else could a party want in a 38-year-old new party leader????

Ohhh…. I almost forgot.

Good ideas?  A truly NATIONAL vision? Ethics? Integrity? Electability?

We will ALL have many, many opportunities to examine/agree/disagree with those over the coming months and perhaps years. But for now his accomplishment … and ours … should be  celebrated.

His past in politics was just the prelude.

There’s a really big difference between getting elected as an Ontario provincial politician and trying to win enough seats and the popular vote across a nation as diverse as Canada … especially without even holding a seat in the House of Commons.

Quebec, of course, will be a HUGE challenge.

By excessively pandering to Quebec, former NDP Leader Jack Layton had captured a whopping 59 seats in that province, propelling the party into Official Opposition status …but NOT power. (I wrote about Layton’s strategy back in 2014: http://harveyoberfeld.ca/blog/no-man-can-serve-two-masters-jack-layton-chooses-quebec/. )      Tom Mulcair tried to right that balance in other parts of the country … and the NDP dropped to only 16 seats in Quebec…ultimately costing him his job.

Let’s keep it real: a turban-wearing Sikh will have greater challenges winning support among Francophones … especially older voters … in Quebec than voters in any other province. The Bloc Quebecois are likely celebrating Singh’s victory as a renewed opportunity to regain the province’s anti-Trudeau and anti-Scheer (PC leader) sentiments.

But I wouldn’t write him off there completely: Singh is reportedly fluently bilingual as well as charismatic,  and if he/NDP do come up with a sellable message and ideas that appeal to younger, educated voters, they could do very well EVERYWHERE  … including Quebec … over time as a progressive alternative to Trudeau.

And Canada’s historical political precedent could go beyond just having a member of a visible minority as a party leader…..

That is …IF  Singh/NDP do a better job than his predecessors at coming up with POLICIES that appeal to a WIDER population base.

Harv Oberfeld

(Reminder: You can get First Alerts of all new postings on this BC blog by following @harveyoberfeld on Twitter. No spam…just First Alerts of new postings. )

→ 14 CommentsTags: National