Wednesday, January 06, 2016

All Is Not Well In Dipper Land


We have now heard the first public call for Tom Mulcair's head. Cheri De Novo, an NDP member of the Ontario Legislature, is calling for Mulcair's resignation. Tom Walkom writes:

“He’s got to go,” says Cheri DiNovo who, as MPP for Toronto’s Parkdale-High Park, is one of only two elected New Democrats left standing in Canada’s largest city.
“He’s tainted.”

Critics like DiNovo don’t necessarily blame Mulcair for everything that went wrong in the Oct. 19 election — one that saw the NDP lose more than half its seats nationally including all eight in Toronto.
But they blame him for quite a bit.

Until now, Mulcair's critics have remained silent. But those who believed that the New Democrats should be unshakably committed to social democracy are rising in revolt:

A former United Church minister, DiNovo has never been shy about confronting the authorities in her party — including her own provincial leader, Andrea Horwath.
In December she told Star columnist Desmond Cole that Mulcair’s NDP did badly in October largely because it had lost its way — that in its effort to win power, it had abandoned any commitment to social democracy.
A few days later, she made the same points on CBC Radio.

It remains to be seen if the New Democrats under Mulcair have permanently moved to the right. But one thing is certain: all is not well in Dipper Land.


Hugh said...

Mulcair was opposed to the TPP, Bill C-51 and the arms sale to Saudi Arabia. Sounds good to me.

He also promised a balanced budget, rather than plunging Canada even deeper into debt, also sounds good.

Owen Gray said...

No doubt Mulcair will remind his party of those very things, Hugh. We'll have to see if they like what they see and hear.

Anonymous said...

Mulcair's critics have remained silent until now? Hardly. They have been very loud and persistent, starting even before all the votes were counted. Mulcair has been criticized from within the NDP, from non-members who generally vote NDP, and from smug Liberals and Greens who jump on any opportunity to trash the NDP, and would never vote NDP regardless of who the leader was. The latter group pretend to idolize Layton, but they didn't vote NDP when he was leader either. Mulcair's defenders are the ones who have remained silent.

e.a.f. said...

she or one of her friends most likely want the leadership. some one should tell her the job doesn't pay as much as it used to. the leader of the NDP isn't the leader of the opposition anymore.

what she may not realize is they lost a lot of votes in Quebec, hence the lack of seats. They lost those votes because Mulcair took a principles stand on the hiqab. They lost seats in Toronto because the Liberals had something to offer and that didn't have everything to do with Mulcair.

of course if not Mulcair, who then. lets not go back to the days of when the party got rid of Broadbent and wandered in the wilderness for years until Layton took over.

Owen Gray said...

The party could use another Broadbent, e.a.f. The question is, "Where is he or she to be found?"

Owen Gray said...

Perhaps Mulcair's defenders have remained silent because they find it hard to defend him, Anon.

Anonymous said...

Yes, let's by all means keep Mulcair and further relegate the tattered remains of the NDP to complete and utter irrelevance. That it was decimated under his watch by virtue of the fact that you couldn't tell his simpering policies from the other two "progressive" parties, for the most part, is obviously a great achievement by current Canadian "progressive" standards. I usually DO vote NDP and I DID vote Liberal this time just because anybody with half a brain cell still fully functional could see that his weak-kneed catering to the rabid rightwing masses was failing miserably and we didn't stand a chance in hell of getting enough votes to win anything because of the new horwath-inspired slide to the right mentality that has destroyed this party for a looooong time to come. And his ideas on furthering corporate welfare here are absolutely brilliant! Why didn't people like mcguilty, wynne, Trudeau and heil harper think of them? Oh, wait....they already did.
Yes, let's by all means keep angry Tom, the aisle-crosser whose brilliant leadership utterly destroyed that which Layton fought so damn hard to achieve. I wonder what the size of Tom's paycheck is now, hmmmmm? You can make a lot of $$$$ by throwing a fight if you're the right type of fighter. I'm not sayin'....I'm just sayin'.

Ben Burd said...

And Cheri did do well under Andrea howcum she didn't speak out then? Same backroom people same strategy and it failed in Ontario why did they do the same in the Fed?

Changing the monkey won't work you have to destroy the organ grinders!

Owen Gray said...

Nicely put, Ben.

Owen Gray said...

It seems pretty clear that a lot of Dippers did precisely what you did, Anon. The reason you and they made that choice should be what the party is pondering.

Scotian said...


Sorry, but the Niqab argument is and always has been in my view (and I expressed this contemporaneously too) a secondary and not a primary cause of the collapse of the NDP. You want to look at what did in the NDP, I'd argue it was two elements in particular, each of which had multiple inflection points to them. Part of what had caused the rise of Mulcair was the C51 issue and being seen as principled and correct when the initial public reaction was against his position, and becoming Captain Canadian Democracy defender as a result, and the Notley win gave the boost it did because that ground had been prepped making him seem not just serious and credible but also actually possible. That got seriously damaged/undercut by his absolutely insanely moronic decision to side with Harper on what debates he would and would not show up to, including one he had promised to attended the year prior that I really doubt anyone seriously expected Harper to ever show for, the women's debate. This spun out over several months before and into the election cycle, and I argue was like acid eating into that support.

Then came what I believe to have been the true demolisher of the NDP support, and it wasn't the Niqab, although I will give that issue full credit as accelerating something already in progress, but again, only as a secondary factor, not a primary. No, the primary was the fiasco that was the fiscal policy from initial rollout/costing to that pledge of a balanced first full NDP governing year budget despite any serious person knowing our numbers were far worse than anything the CPC government had allowed for, and that the situation looked to be getting worse for the Canadian economy over the next period, not better, to offset that. The rollout was flubbed on its first day with their two page costings relying on Harper budget numbers to support them, which set the tone, and then it ended with that pledge which especially given the program promises Mulcair had already made was simply a step too far for most people's ability to suspend disbelief. Trudeau coming out with the deficit spending pledge right afterwards and Mulcair chiming in with Harper n how bad that was just sealed that problem/impression.

The Niqab is a story the pundits concocted when it happened as an easy way to explain what was going on, and the NDP in its defeat latched onto it as this noble hill of sacrifice they died upon as opposed to examining that horrific shit-show of an election campaign they ran, especially the team of McGrath, Levigne, and Mulcair. I do think the Niqab certainly accelerated what was already begun, but it wasn't the real source of the problem, no, not at all, and to give it that kind of significance is to use it as a comforting cover for the real and much more serious reasons the NDP imploded in this election cycle. The Niqab could not have had the impact it did were the NDP already not very fragile and in trouble, this should be obvious to any serious observer of political dynamics, and to give this one issue this kind of disproportionate weight has always come off to me as lazy thinking by pundits/journalists, and comforting self-deception for NDP supporters unwilling/unable to recognize that their problem was far more serious, and of course for Mulcair and his team's supporters to avoid accountability.

to be concluded...

Scotian said...


The Niqab as the NDP giant killer may already be becoming myth made fact, but I will not change my views because so many others want to see it that way. No, I have said many times before why I thought this was wrong, I've even done a detailed post at my old blog on this at the beginning of November last year, and I will not stop now. Mulcair and his crew are clearly the real cause for what happened, the Niqab is just useful protection from accountability for them and alas it is for those NDP supporters who were dreaming that dream of finally making it to government and having real governing power at last have a useful red shirt to blame instead of looking at the real problem. After all, it is so much easier to swallow what happened there if you believe you lost because you were too moral/ethical (which given the tendency towards the NDP in both leadership and base to a degree of sanctimonious political holier-than-thou purity about themselves this way makes them particularly susceptible to such) than because your side/leadership ran a bad campaign which caught up to it and/or wasn't what the public was really looking for, especially when that young opponent of yours who you all dismissed as empty-headed hair that walks clobbered you.

I'd apologize for being so harsh about this, except I am very tired of watching this self deception going on in NDP circles. I want a healthy NDP out there, and this is *NOT* the way to get there. Mulcair ran a bad campaign, made several bad strategic mistakes as well as was a poor campaigner, and his campaign staff also made matters worse and bad decisions. This in turn led to the weakening of support that caused the implosion, and even if for the sake of argument the Niqab was the actual trigger, it would not have had the power and potency it did were the ground already not so very shaky underneath Mulcair and the NDP's feet. Why that ground was so shaky has been totally ignored by those that use the Niqab as the catch-all answer, and that does the NDP nor the wider national political environment any favours IMHO and needs to be properly dealt with as the dodge and deflection that it is from the real issues the NDP had and has.

The NDP needs to take that long dark tea-time of the soul reflection on what happened, and it cannot afford to allow its desire to see itself as some sort of tragic knight that died on a hill of principle to get in the way. Mulcair may well be one of the greatest opposition leaders Canada ever saw, but as a campaigning party leader leader he was a disaster. Despite there being massive evidence of a powerful anybody-but-Harper sentiment out there, despite being the side best positioned to capture that win in his party's sails, Mulcair time and again made himself in tone and position look far too much like Harper. For that alone one can make the case for incompetence! Combine that with the policy strategic errors and you have, as I called it already, a shit-show of a campaign, and one that directly rests on the campaign leadership aka McGrath, Levigne, and of course Mulcair!

Owen Gray said...

I believe that Mulcair's support for the niqab hurt him among certain groups in Quebec, Scotian. But, if he had sought the support of the niqab fanatics, his party would be finished. What truly hurt him in the last election was his acceptance of Harperian economics.

Lots of traditional Dippers knew their party had lost its way.

Anonymous said...

Mulcair and the NDP did not accept Harperian economics. They opposed the treasonous TPP, proposed an increase to corporate tax rates, promoted an increase to the federal minimum wage and proposed a new affordable daycare program.

The Liberals, on the other hand, opposed all of that and supported, and continue to support, almost all of Harper's economic policies. Yet, they were smooth enough to hoodwink the public into thinking that they were the real progressive voice. What a farce and a tragedy.

Owen Gray said...

When Mulcair pledged that his first budget would be balanced, Anon, voters understood that Mulcair's NDP was not the NDP they knew -- or preferred.

Scotian said...


They did however accept Harper budget numbers and built their initial costing framework on them, and they built their premise of a balanced budget in the first year on Harper numbers. Which given it was clear even when the budget was first dropped that those numbers were way overly optimistic and unrealistic showed a real question of competence on such regarding the NDP, and it did make them look more in line with Harperian economics than the Libs. Mulcair chastising Trudeau for the deficit promising right along with Harper in the election also furthered that impression. So sorry there, but whether you like to accept it or not Mulcair and the NDP clearly did give Canadians good reason to believe they did accept Harperian economics more than you want to acknowledge.

Anonymous said...

The Liberals based their platform on the same numbers. During the campaign, Trudeau kept using a line something like "you can't have a Tommy Douglas plan on a Harper budget", which was deceptive nonsense. Douglas balanced budgets, but Harper did not. Liberal government economic policies are almost indistinguishable from Conservative government economic policies. They both prop up the rich and well connected, and throw everyone else on the scrapheap.