The NDP cannot get their vote out?

The one thing you always assumed in working against the New Democratic Party in an electoral district during an election was that the NDP would get their vote out. If that was one of their targeted ridings, you knew that they would do the job. That was why today’s leadership convention was full of surprises.

With a claimed membership of over 120,000 across Canada, to have an average of only 50 per cent vote for leader was not expected. It made no sense. If you sell a membership to someone, do you not take them by the hand to make sure they vote for your candidate? If they are a long-time NDPer and voting is sacrosanct with them, you still leave nothing to chance. Even the Conservatives know better than that!

The NDP embarrassment could be creating concerns for the Liberals. The Liberal Party is planning to have a vote by every member at their upcoming leadership convention. If the Liberal executive gets cold feet, they could try to pull it back into a delegated convention. That would be a smack in the face for democracy in the Liberal Party.

Mind you there was one aspect of the NDP voting that caught us off guard. The party officials promised the news media that the first ballot results would be announced at 10 am EST. And, to everyone’s surprise, they were.

Liberals almost pride themselves on never doing anything on time. That never was a problem at Liberal conventions because we always had spies in communication to keep us fully apprised on how the vote count was going. If you did not have the figures in advance, you did not feel involved.

Even with the very long voting times needed to handle the vote, it was an impressive, well run convention. You might criticize the organizers for not having enough bandwidth and servers to handle the traffic but you have to realize their first concern was security. With only about half the potential votes to handle, it makes you wonder about the simulations that they surely must have run.

The convention hall in Toronto presented some awkward logistics with which the organizers did the best they could. The candidate bleachers, where they could present a wall of signs, were a rather dated approach but the NDP is also dated. And as for the drummers for Thomas Mulcair’s entrance to speak on Friday, that was the same stunt we used 44 years ago to shorten Liberal leadership contender Robert Winters’ speech to the essentials. Mulcair’s only mistake was to try to talk fast.

The NDP have chosen. M. Mulcair is their new leader. It is certainly going to be a new beginning to some interesting times.

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Copyright 2012 © Peter Lowry

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