Monday, March 19, 2012

Healing Divisions

The Toronto Star has endorsed Thomas Mulcair for the leadership of the NDP. So has Gerry Caplan. Ed Broadbent has his strident doubts. What's going on?

Broadbent's outburst was unexpectedly strident. He knows that -- in the end -- politics is about making deals. The question always is, what are the consequences down the road?  Broadbent fears that the NDP will sell out its social democratic principles for power. Caplan feels that, until the NDP wins a majority, the party will not be able to put its principles into practice. Mulcair, he writes, has the "royal jelly" to make that happen:

He sees himself as a leader, feels himself to be a leader, can convince others he’s a real leader. Strangely enough, this is not true of all leadership candidates, but it’s an essential attribute. I find him a natural leader. So do many of his peers, it seems. It can hardly be insignificant that he’s won the endorsements of 43 of his fellow MPs, more than the total of all his opponents combined. 

Broadbent is not nearly as confident as Caplan is about Mulcair's leadership abilities:

Mr. Broadbent also wondered openly about Mr. Mulcair’s abilities as a leader, namely in terms of maintaining cohesion among the large 101-member Official Opposition caucus. His comments echoed a concern among NDP workers and supporters about Mr. Mulcair’s temper, which he has carefully kept in check during the seven-month race. 

I have no idea who will fill Jack Layton's shoes. But whoever wins will need to be a healer. A divided NDP furthers Stephen Harper's agenda.


ChrisJ said...

This is a hard call. I was a bit surprised, also, by the strength of Broadbent's opposition to Mulcair. Maybe he knows something the rest of us don't.

Also, I agree with Caplan - some charisma is required for a leader. (Dion is a case in point; he seemed extremely capable, but had the charisma of last week's tuna casserole).

Owen Gray said...

As I wrote, Chris, I have no idea who will win the contest. My head tells me that if the party wants to maintain a base in Quebec, it should choose Mulcair.

But I respect Broadbent -- and that is why his opposition to Mulcair is troubling.