Who but the most ardent partisan would not be ‘gob smacked’ by the recent
implosion of the NDP?
As charges, criticisms, apologies, denials and mistrust entangled after each newscast it was tempting to conduct a recount of the NDP
Caucus. Was it possible that the rancor was
coming from just five people?
publicly aired, it might simply be “disappointment”.
importance of what has occurred. It speaks to a loss of trust. It conveys recognition that high hopes were,
in fact, too high.
traditional parties or that its supporters unwittingly assert the potential to perform
fiscally implausible feats. There are other considerations, too.
|NDP Leader Lorraine Michael
Photo: The Canadian Press/.Paul Daly
The people who comprise the NDP Caucus seem normal, reasonably
intelligent, decent and honest folk, representative of the new middle class
that the Party largely attracts.
while still among us, and the election of two MPs to the House of Commons. Yet, no one will deny that Lorraine Michael also
attracted voters and inspired them with the confidence of one who is skillful,
passionate and an able communicator.
and out of power, won only one seat more.
Tories saw public support migrate not to the Liberals, at least not early on,
but to the party of Lorraine Michael whom successive Polls confirmed as
enjoying high personal popularity.
the North-east Avalon, was entertained; a seat in The Straits-White Bay North
suggested a larger rural foothold was not beyond reach. Long days in the political wilderness were seemingly
at an end.
Liberal Party, moribund and uninspired, had begun to turn-around.
inspires trust, or if the whimsical youthfulness of Pierre Trudeau’s son has
stolen the ‘Layton effect’ or that Kathy Dunderdale has driven away even core Tory supporters, all are debatable.
What is certain is that the ascension of the NDP trend line had come to a
halt. The question being asked,
including by this Blog, is whether support for the NDP has stalled or that, possibly, its potential has been reached for now.
were so unwell inside the NDP Caucus. Silence
had characterized their media relations lately.
Then the sky fell.
unity be mended? What does the ruckus imply for the future of Lorraine
Michael? What does it mean for the
Province and for the New Democratic Party?
stronger candidates, for greater financial support, a place where a larger
organization is being sculpted. Readiness suggests the leader is better prepared,
scripted, disciplined and is supported, not just by her Caucus, but by an
increasing groundswell confirmed by pollsters, pundits and the media.
inspection. It must not be just able to win. It must show a capacity to govern.
handled, the public might have forgiven Members’ high spirits. A letter of demand,
sent by email, to the Leader, leaked to the media, its intent disavowed by two,
supported by the two others, apologies, regrets, cries of intimidation and
betrayal, all make great television – if you are into soap operas.
or good judgment. The very idea of emailing Ms. Michael, what in essence was a
letter of rebuke, is its own sad appraisal.
just back after a month in India, ought to have been an invocation of the
“high-souled” qualities of Mahatma Ghandi.
Instead, she expressed unbridled outrage through the media. There is no one who believes the broadside was unexpected. She ought to have invited enumeration of her
own shortcomings, assuaged bruised egos and moderated unbounded expectations in
the more collegial and private chamber of the caucus room.
late. Talk about amateur hour!
unaccountable, and intellectually bankrupt administration, unworthy of
governing a decent people in a democratic society, why would we even notice the
five member caucus of the NDP?
driver and two teachers suddenly and collectively confirmed their incapacity to
meet the minimum expectations of running a political party? We would not.
leader will be or how much baggage will follow him/her in the contest’s aftermath.
home. That is not the same as saying
they would not vote NDP. Against a
Liberal Party of uncertain outlook why wouldn’t voters give the NDP a chance? At
a minimum, public desperation over the alternatives may drive them to seek a
quantum of solace. There is no dishonor in that calculation, though the Party
should rightly feel the sting of missed opportunity.
Party, her admirers may have refused to accept and lauded her selflessness.
On Saturday she indicated that she would ask the Executive to conduct a Leadership review at the Party’s next convention. In so doing Ms. Michael has only invited disunity and mistrust to fester for another full year. This Caucus, already a spent force, will not last that long. She compounds an earlier bad decision.
promise of the NDP evaporated one week ago.
The response of Ms. Michaels was all about survival… even if it meant the demise of the party she has spent a considerable amount of her time building. There were concerns within her party, her membership.
Just as the group of 4 should have talked to Lorraine first, so too should Lorraine have talked to them. Instead she went to the media, and effectively branded the group of rebels as Judas himself.
This was all about survival. She may have won the war, but her actions to maintain her position, at the expense of her peers, and her party, will undermine her in the future.
She is done.
The NDP, as a political entity, became a spent force with the revelations of the past week. Many had privately wondered about the wisdom of an older, although passionate and articulate debater, being at the forefront of a party whose star had risen. Ms Michaels is indeed a strong voice but, as the events of last week demonstrated, yet another in a long line of politicians and political entities who fail to give opportunities for full disclosure to their followers.
It is partly the fault of members and the electorate, as we deify these leaders and let them operate in a vacuum that excludes any soul-searching on a regular basis. It is seen as a sign of weakness when the leader elicits the opinions and ideas of the mere ranks….an absolute abomination for a dictator….but anathema to real leadership. We not only elect leaders with dictatorial tendencies, we want dictatorial leaders who will be decisive and bold.
While this may makes us feel good and confident in their bold decisive style….when they are so frequently wrong or biased in a certain way….we ultimately pay the price. This was never more apparent than during the tenure of Danny Williams and the leadership vacuum he left behind. His followers tried to emulate what was, for him, a winning formula, but have come off looking like idiots. The fact that they display dictatorial powers while having none of the wisdom of a Gandhi is more than troubling. Hence, we get a disaster in the making in the form of Muskrat Falls and the squandering of untold billions to puff up the legacy of a former party leader.