Like many New Democrats, I'm not happy.
The 2015 election was a bitter disappointment. Much of that is Thomas Mulcair's fault; much more of it is not. That however would be the focus of another piece. This coming weekend we as New Democrats have some important choices to make about the future of our party and its leadership.
We are the NDP, the party of second, even third and fourth chances. Much has been said by many about how they don't recognize the party anymore. If Tom gets dumped on Sunday, I'll join that chorus because I can't think of anything more Liberal than filling our leader's back with knives, then throwing him under the bus.
We will still be left with all the structural problems Tom inherited along with a host of new ones. I believe we need to be focused on fixing our party, on democratizing the crafting of our platform, on reconnecting our movement to our party, on weaning the central campaign off our riding rebates so we can effectively build riding associations and campaigns that can compete locally with the other parties.
These are but a few things we need to fix. A leadership race will suck all the air out of those very important tasks we need to put our collective energy into.
People forget, while I try not to. When Tom took over there was great fear that he would clean house. He didn't, in deference to uniting us and continuity. Maybe he should have?
We and our leader learned some very expensive lessons in the 2015 election. Why should we throw the baby out with the bathwater?
In 2014 many of those who currently blame the people around Tom were clamouring for Tom to reunite the "old gang." He listened when maybe he shouldn't have?
I have difficulty blaming Tom for those decisions when he was faced with huge internal pressures to do what many are now complaining about. I say this despite the heaps of disrespect, humiliation and despicable behaviour several of those individuals inflicted on me both personally and professionally.
Politics is personal, but I can't in good conscience let my personal feelings cloud this very important decision about the future of our party.
A lot went wrong in 2015 and there were many mistakes, but there were a lot of good decisions, lots of doing the right thing and great, progressive ideas out there, too.
We and our leader learned some very expensive lessons in the 2015 election. Why should we throw the baby out with the bathwater? Let us apply those lessons and fix the problems created during the past decade as our party "modernized." A strong independent new national director must be chosen to accomplish these tasks.
We know that "sunny ways" is a Liberal strategy to shine a blinding light in Canadians eyes so we don't see what the right hand is doing.
Our leader and caucus all need to be focused on keeping the Liberals from drifting/diving rightward while nobody is looking.
With a long list of important issues like democratic reform, climate change, a huge deficit and more on the table, our leader and caucus all need to be focused on keeping the Liberals from drifting/diving rightward while nobody is looking.
If we dump Tom, nobody will be looking.
For these reasons, Thomas Mulcair has my support*.
I put an asterisk there for a reason. He could still lose my vote on the convention floor. The real Tom, the one I know and respect and voted for, needs to show up and deliver a compelling speech for why he should stay on as leader and commit to changes that will address some of the problems we face.
He needs to deliver the narrative that was missing from the past election. He needs to articulate a vision moving forward and he needs to tangibly demonstrate he can learn from and fix past mistakes.
At 36, I've been an active member of the NDP for 21 years. Leaders come and go, but we're stuck with our party and we need to focus on making changes within it -- to ensure we don't repeat avoidable mistakes, to make changes that ensure our platform reflects our collective views, and to add internal checks and balances to the power wielded by officials.
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