Leadership races are happening in the U.S. and Canada and for most voters and partisans, while winning elections are important, it is also about what kind of policies will be implemented. Most people want to support more than just a political party; they want to support a movement based on clear values.
Canadian political life in 2012 will be anything but dull: uncertain economic times that could either strengthen or weaken Conservative support; two opposition parties in flux, fighting for influence and voter support; and a new leader for the NDP and the Conservative political machine.
Brian Topp is mouthing the language of human rights, but he doesn't actually believe it. Thwarting Canadian oil sands development means protecting the worldwide oil dominance of misogynist, gay-murdering, terror-sponsoring regimes in Iran and Saudi Arabia.
While the candidates are a decent bunch of individuals, can Canadians envision all but a couple of them as the next prime minister of Canada? I say that because in the end, that is what this leadership race is all about. Whoever wins could be our next prime minister.
No one should have been completely surprised that the Conservatives were appealing to voters in the rest of Canada, given Québec's declining weight in the federation.
Mulcair is reputed to have a quick and unpredictable temper, which makes him exciting, but he also seems to look beyond the present. He's said that if the NDP ever wants to form the government, it must be prepared to "do things differently." That sounds like an innovative guy who is anxious to break fresh ground.
Applause lines are those bits in a speech designed to get an audience cheering and clapping with approval that you see on the evening news. So what's the problem? Well, the NDP leadership candidates will be tempted to come up with an applause line that's also highly partisan and ideologically-oriented.
As the NDP looks to reinvent itself as Quebec's party, let's pause for a moment and consider what that actually means: advocacy for La Belle Province, modest flirtation with separatist positions, and bilingual frontrunners (both Mulcair and Topp speak French). And here is what it doesn't involve: a full court effort to outflank separatists.
Any time a leadership race becomes a contest of two heavyweights, there is the risk that each side and their supporters will drag out the vote to a bitter conclusion. That leaves room for the 'Stephane Dion' factor to come into play.