Posts Tagged ‘Leadership’

Money matters maybe.

Friday, August 4th, 2017

Never judge a political race by money raised. Whether it is an internal party race for a nomination or a leadership or party fundraising prior to an election, you have to remember that money does not vote. Case in point, the fundraising by each of the four candidates for the New Democratic Party might tell you a bit about potential votes but hardly forecasts the winner.

As an experienced political apparatchik, I can tell you that I am most impressed with Charlie Angus’ fundraising efforts. Remember that he is based in Northern Ontario and he has raised $233,000 in 2017 through June of this year. In the NDP, that pays for a respectable campaign to reach the 100,000 plus existing party members and the search and capture for maybe another 25,000 new members. Charlie probably has a potential base vote of about 50,000.

I have to say that Niki Ashton is sure tenacious and the Manitoba MP’s $135,000 fundraising in the first six months this year tells a good story. While she will not win over as many of the existing party members, her new sign-ups will be darn loyal and she could push Charlie Angus hard with a base vote of close to 40,000.

The disappointing performance is by Guy Caron the MP from Quebec. With just over $100,000 raised in the first six months, his campaign is limited. It is hard to say just where he stands in voting potential.

Whether Caron could rally late is probably mute as most of the noise now is going to later-comer Jagmeet Singh MPP from Ontario. Singh’s campaign started in May and through May and June, his campaign raised over $350,000 from just over 1500 donors. He claims that 75 per cent of this money came from first-time donors which tells us that South-Asian immigrants are going all-out for him. It is obvious that he has the ability (and the funds) to sign up as many as 100,000 as NDP members—but only a short time to do it. Even then, he is not likely to win on the first ballot.

Bear in mind that Andrew Scheer, the new Conservative leader came fifth in fundraising in that party’s leadership race. He was also given 12 to 1 odds by our Morning Line. He beat us all by being most Conservatives second choice.

As the voting for the NDP leadership is scheduled to begin September 18, we will be moving up our Morning Line on this race to August 28 to please some of our NDP readers.


Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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Jagmeet Singh: Not just a pretty face.

Saturday, July 29th, 2017

The New Democratic Party’s federal leadership race is getting a little more heated. With less than two months to go, the race has taken on some disturbing aspects of the last Conservative leadership in Ontario. It is turning into Jagmeet Singh’s race to win if he is using the same tactics as Ontario Conservative winner Patrick Brown.

Brown looked at the almost one million recent immigrants in Ontario from South Asia (mainly Hindu, Sikh and Muslim from the Indian Sub-Continent) and signed up almost 40,000 temporary Conservatives. It is even easier for Jagmeet Singh to organize among this group than Brown and Singh can add another 30,000 potential supporters in B.C.

You can also assume that more than 50 per cent of the 100,000 plus NDP members are already from British Columbia and Ontario. And with all votes counting instead of balanced across the country, it is winning in those two provinces that matters.

And Quebec voters would be the least likely to support a party headed by a turbaned Sikh—no matter how much GQ Magazine admires and approves the rest of his attire.

The main difference between Conservative Brown and New Democratic Singh is that Jagmeet is a hero among the Canadian Sikh community. He has also supported Sikh candidates for the NDP across Canada.

Jagmeet (at 38) also has more life experience than contemporary Patrick Brown (at 39). Jagmeet has had considerably more experience and success as a lawyer than Brown, has proposed more bills in the Ontario Legislature than Brown did in both Ottawa and Queens’ Park and Brown would hardly want to even arm wrestle with a trained athlete such as Jagmeet.

Oddly enough neither Brown nor Singh has much to say about their policy direction. Brown does not seem to have any and Singh seems to be hoeing to the standard New Democratic policy book.

Whether either of these two men is at all ready to lead their respective parties anywhere is a very large question mark. The knives will be out for Brown after the next election in Ontario in June 2018. Jagmeet Singh would be wise to ride out that election as Ontario Deputy Leader and be ready to take over as Ontario leader when Andrea Horwath steps down. In the meantime, he can study where the NDP’s future might be.


Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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NDP searching for succour

Saturday, July 8th, 2017

Every once in while, we look in on the New Democratic Party’s sputtering national leadership discussion. It is really more of a crawl than a race. And when you look at the four remaining candidates in the selection process for this fall, you wonder why they are bothering.

The basic problem is that none of these four leadership candidates has defined what their party needs to do to join the 21st century? The NDP was created in Saskatchewan in the 1930s and has never outgrown its socialist origins. It carries some of Canada’s unions like a noose around its neck. It is a party in search of a future.

Canadians saw the problem in the last federal election when the Trudeau Liberals were tracking on the political left offering deficits and change. This was when Thomas Mulcair was giving fashion advice to Muslim women. He was so far off topic that it cost the NDP half its seats in parliament.

At a time when there were Canadians willing to listen to where the NDP was going, Thomas Mulcair blew it.

But we now have the four remaining contenders who want the NDP votes in September and October. As something of an expert in voting systems, I must admit this proposed NDP voting is the most loosey-goosey system seen to-date. You can actually change your vote anytime up until the polls close on each ballot. It is a series of preferential ballots and it can hardly take until mid October to be decided.

Babel-on-the-Bay will wait until the beginning of September to publish our morning line. Bear in mind that a morning line is not a forecast of who will win. It is just a reasonable determination of the opening odds for the race.

And you only have the following candidates at this time:

Niki Ashton MP is the only female and her gamin approach is as refreshing as she is knowledgeable. The Manitoban is only 34 but still seems stuck in a socialist past.

Charlie Angus MP from Northern Ontario is the guy you would want backing you in any rough and tumble. He could be the union choice.

Guy Caron MP is an interesting addition to the race from Quebec. He might have more depth than we have seen so far.

Jagmeet Singh MPP from Ontario could be the wild card. With his base in both B.C. and Ontario, he could be instrumental in choosing the next leader.

There is no free pass for anyone in this contest.


Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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Kevin O’Leary meets a real reality.

Tuesday, March 21st, 2017

Welcome to Canadian politics, Kevin O’Leary. You have brought a few laughs to an otherwise dismal contest for leadership of the Conservative Party of Canada. Though you would think someone from reality television would know what to expect? Did you really think leadership races are run within some foolish rules? And that anybody pays for someone’s membership in the party without knowing how they will vote.

Kevin, you have a lot to learn; besides French. Blowing the whistle on a fellow candidate is pretty amateur stuff. You cannot be that naïve. You have embarrassed the party by making the officials dump a bunch of memberships. (Did the people being dumped get their membership fee back?) Now all the memberships remaining are on the up and up. Sure?

Kevin, you should have run for the Ontario party leadership last year. Did you know that schmuck Patrick Brown swamped the provincial party membership with close to 40,000 new sign-ups? The provincial officials took the memberships and took the money and nobody ever heard a word of complaint. And did you really think all those recent immigrants from India and Pakistan who Brown had signed up in the provincial party paid their own membership fee?

But, Kevin, you would hardly expect a few thousand ‘instant’ members are going to make a big difference in the federal race? The way the voting is structured for the national leadership, it is virtually impossible to buy the leadership. You would need at least 60,000 instant members spread fairly evenly across 338 electoral districts. The problem is not the more than $225,000 for the memberships but the organization needed to collect your member’s ballots and mail them in for them. And then you would still need those second votes from all the other losing candidates to be sure.  The federal party did not want to make it too difficult but they certainly did not want a schlemiel like Brown walking away wearing the leader’s tiara.

Kevin, you might have done Maxime Bernier a favour. Even if you did not name names, he might have told his supporters it was his memberships that were tossed. If he can afford to lose that many first votes and laugh about it, this race might be more confused than we thought.

Kevin, this might seem odd to you but the decision in this race will be made by 13 losing candidates. Yes, you are one also. Every candidate wants those losers to tell their supporters who to support second. And that will decide the ultimate winner.


Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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Choosing a new leader for Canada’s Tories.

Monday, March 14th, 2016

The date has been set: May 27, 2017. That is when the Conservative Party of Canada chooses a replacement for former leader Stephen Harper and Acting Leader Rona Ambrose. Looking for an abbreviation to use on the calendar, we call it ConCon.

We have no idea where ConCon will be held or what form it will take but the far more serious question is where the Conservatives will find their party’s saviour? And even if you find this paragon, where will the candidate find the $5 million that the party is allowing candidates to spend? You can be sure that the winning candidate will need to spend most of that to run an effective national campaign.

And the bad news for political newcomers such as Kevin O’Leary is that you are not allowed to spend your own money. No Donald Trump need apply. With individual donation levels supposedly capped at $1500, it takes time to find enough people to contribute up to $5 million.

Political observer and commentator Chantal Hébert thinks that front runners such as Peter MacKay and Jason Kenney would leave little behind when they suck up the low-lying fruit of potential Conservative donations. Mind you there is no telling how deep those pockets are if some interesting newcomers emerge.

And frankly Peter MacKay and Jason Kenney are yesterday’s Conservatives and they have little more than name recognition going for them at this time. Peter MacKay is forever the guy who handed Reform’s Stephen Harper the Conservative Party. And Calgary’s Jason Kenney always leaves people with more questions than answers

But it is the spectre of Stephen Harper—the Hair—that will hang over Canadian conservatism for years to come. Harper’s cold and demanding style bruised too many Conservatives over the years. No smart candidate for the leadership will invoke his name in seeking to succeed him.

What the party needs most is not a new saviour but a new and realistic approach to Canadian politics. While Harper might have been successful for a while tapping into the demographics of greed and intolerance, he built up a resistance to his style that ultimately swept him from office.

It is most unlikely that the ultimate winner at ConCon in May 2017 is even one of the possible candidates currently being considered. The one thing most likely is that the 2019 federal election will be a recycling of Justin Trudeau’s Liberals and then 2023 will be the next chance for Conservatives.


Copyright 2016 © Peter Lowry

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Mr. Broadbent regrets.

Monday, March 12th, 2012

For many years some people have thought that the sign outside New Democratic Party headquarters in Ottawa should have included the line: ‘E. Broadbent, prop.’  It will be an end to Ed Broadbent’s era later this month when his hopes for the party will be destroyed by democracy. Control of the party will be wrested from him.

For good or bad, the next leader of the NDP will not be Ed Broadbent’s creation. Mind you, he has had a heck of a run since being chosen leader of the party to succeed David Lewis in 1975. Some people know when to quit.

Probably Broadbent’s worst fear is that Thomas Mulcair from Quebec will win the NDP’s first truly democratic leadership convention. Mulcair is the demon from the unknown. He is no social democrat. He is barely a blue liberal.

And he is not Ed Broadbent’s boyo! Broadbent made it clear from day one of this interminable NDP campaign that he was fore-square behind Brian Topp. It was made perfectly clear that Brian Topp was the establishment candidate. That endorsement and Topp’s seeming to have all the personality of a sack of potatoes, did him little good.

With the current consensus that Thomas Mulcair is in the lead, Broadbent has much to answer for among the titular leaders of the NDP. It seems the boy can sell memberships. Quebec has never had so many New Democrats as it has today.

But, by no stretch, has Mulcair won the leadership. If he has a going in position of 25 per cent of the vote, that is formidable. His only problem will be how to turn 25 per cent into 51 per cent. For that, you have to have more people thinking you are second best than thinking you are number one. That is not as likely.

And we know that Brian Topp is no compromise. Paul Dewar is nobody’s second choice. Nathan Cullen from B.C. would be an interesting compromise but nobody knows him. And that leaves the darling of the NDP, everybody’s second choice: Ms. Peggy Nash.

And why not? She will make nice with Ed Broadbent and send him off like an aged parent to a seniors’ residence. She will keep the fiction of Jack Layton’s social democrats alive by not pandering to the unions in public. She will be tougher than previous women leaders of the party. She will still watch her inflated caucus numbers in Quebec recede. She will be back in third party status after the next election. Without a rapprochement with the liberal left across Canada, she is taking the NDP nowhere.


Copyright 2012 © Peter Lowry

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