Alright, to address some thoughts on #ndpldr, let’s take a look at the qualities I expect in our new leader (likely Peggy Nash or Tom Mulcair, but we’ll see).
1.) Expansion and Unification of the Party.
Well, in this category, I think this is pretty clear: I want to be convinced, by the candidates, that they have a strategy which they will enact through official party policy to grow our party and maintain its unity. I actually mean, when I say this, a policy book internal to the party upper echelons which communicate and aggressively persue set targets of expansion. The Conservatives, for all I despise them for, clearly have a plan to this end and some mighty aggressive footmen to carry this out.
Moreover, in a lot of the discussion around the leadership, I keep hearing about some grand division between Labour and others in the party (primarily the environmentally-minded). As of now, all candidates don’t seem to be overcoming this imagined (and false) divide well enough, some hewing closely to it for supporters…
Ok, this one is gonna sounds like it’s ripped from a Canadian Federation of Students’ soundbite, but… I want a leader committed to establishing a Post-Secondary Education Act in this country which treats university and college education must in the manner of our current health system. Free and accessible for all. You see recommendation one of this document? This is exactly what I want and what you must commit towards. I want someone to lead this country and this sector, not pander to conservative provinces or others. This is pretty much our standing party policy, so departing from that… won’t win my vote.
3.) Prime Ministerial Power.
You know, speaking of the recent party platform, I want a leader who will do something many would avoid. I want said leader to reduce, substancially, the power - formal and informal - of the Prime Minister’s Office. This is along the lines of platform point 7.2 Restricting the Prime Minister’s Power to Avoid Parliament. But I want more than that. I want a PM and party leader willing to undo the excesses of his or her own office which have grown in this country since before even Trudeau. We have to restore power back in the hands of the everyday MP and we have to do it now. This is especially if the party is serious on Senate abolition. Why? Because the same principle applies. If we can’t stand the idea of un-elected senators making decisions, how can we support a strong, partially un-elected PMO doing the same?
4.) Take a visceral and committed stance on electoral reform.
While the PM and the other Harperinos work to undermine our rights and institutions but the remaining parties simply navel gaze and sputter… We, New Democrats, need to take on the best way to ensure - in the future - that such an agenda for our nation can never fully override the best interests of the country. Electoral Reform, particularly proportional representation, will ensure that a more moderate, fair and equitable government will be elected and forced - by its nature - to work more closely with the needs of its citizens. Our new leader needs to take a strong stance on such issues, immediately.
5.) Foreign Investment.
Here’s what we said in the election:
2.4 Ensuring Foreign Investment Delivers Quality Canadian Jobs
- We will strengthen the Investment Canada Act by:
- Reducing, the threshold for investments subject to review to $100 million;
- Providing explicit, transparent criteria for the “net benefit to Canada” test, with an emphasis on the impact of foreign investment on communities, jobs, pensions and new capital investments;
- Requiring public hearings that allow for community input into decisions on both the assessment of “net benefit” and conditions to apply to the investment;
- Ensuring public disclosure and enforcement of all commitments undertaken by potential investors.
Can our next leader please build on this idea and form a full, updated policy document on these notions? Thanks. Why? Because our nation deserves to not be picked clean by voracious multinationals, else we simply strengthen the top percentile of our populace (and those abroad) without being of aid to our own.
6.) Persons with Disabilities.
In the recent platform we talk about the need to properly implement the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) which is awesome and needs to be done. Yet, unlike other marginalized groups we rarely get any policy or aid announced our way when it comes times for these elections. The candidate who talks about these issues and allows for our concerns as a marginalized community to be brought to the for will obviously win some brownie points from me.
7.) Canada: Laughingstock of Planet Earth.
Be it from issues surrounding same-sex marriage or climate change or defunding programs that support abortion abroad or our unseemly history of neglect and disdain towards First Nations peoples… our nation under Harper has become an international pariah. The only way to fix this, however, is to first fix these issues on the homefront (and many more). Second, we will have to regain our place at the international table as sane, fair-handed members of the world community - willing to work and mediate dispute, rather than sitting at the center of them ourselves.
So candidates must have a sensible plan on these regards as well.
In any case, those are my top seven thoughts on aspects which must be covered by our next Leader of the New Democratic Party.
All the best, folks.