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Accidental Deliberations: On parity

Jason, Scott and Joe Couture have all discussed the first month’s financial reports from Saskatchewan’s NDP leadership campaign. But I’ll add a couple of other points that jump out at me.

First, the fund-raising numbers show just how different this leadership campaign will be compared to the 2009 version.

While the official reports don’t seem to be available anymore, I wrote about the numbers just a month away from the last leadership vote. At that time Dwain Lingenfelter held a massive lead, while the other three candidates had raised a little over $42,000 combined – or an average of

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Accidental Deliberations: Leadership 2012 Lessons Learned – Party Edition

I’ll close off my discussion of the NDP’s leadership campaign with another lessons learned post – this one from the standpoint of the party in administering the campaign.

For the most part, the campaign seems to have thoroughly served its purpose in allowing candidates ample opportunity to showcase themselves without going into the debt that’s dogged the Libs’ recent leadership candidates for years. In particular, I doubt anybody would argue that the $500,000 spending cap substantially affected the candidates’ ability to present themselves to actual and potential members.

There might be some room to quibble with the timing of the

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Accidental Deliberations: Leadership 2012 – Candidate What-Ifs

Following up on this post, let’s look at a few what-ifs from the NDP’s leadership campaign in retrospect – this time wondering how the outcome might have changed from the perspective of the candidates based on choices made during the course of the race. And it’s fairly easy to narrow down the list based on those whose campaigns ran about as smoothly as could be expected (Niki Ashton, plus Peggy Nash minus her convention presentation), those who figure to have achieved all they could realistically have hoped for (Martin Singh) and the actual winner (Thomas Mulcair).

Having pared down

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Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Susan Delacourt notes that while the NDP’s leadership convention points out some of the risks of online voting, the real problem lies in the people working to block democracy through any available means: While those who use computers have become accustomed to the system-fail message about files being corrupted, we’re talking here about a different type of corruption.

The cyberattack on the NDP was apparently deliberate and orchestrated. As well, it’s looking like the ever-widening robo-calls investigation will reveal something a little larger than mere, one-off mischief.

The worry is that it isn’t

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Accidental Deliberations: Leadership 2012 Lessons Learned – Pundit Edition

With a week’s perspective on the NDP’s leadership campaign, I’ll take a quick look back to see – particularly in comparing my own impressions as to how the vote might play out to what actually happened.

To start off with, let’s note that of all the publicly-available metrics available to evaluate the race, none served as a particularly useful means of evaluating first-ballot support. The only ones which correctly pegged the two top of Thomas Mulcair and Brian Topp were fund-raising and endorsements. But the former suggested a much tighter five-way race than proved to be the case, while the

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Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Fred Wilson weighs in on Thomas Mulcair’s mandate as the NDP’s new leader: (M)any progressives with no interest whatsoever in a “Blairist” agenda had found their way to the Mulcair camp. They supported Mulcair for two reasons — to maintain the party’s base in Quebec, and to immediately step up to the role of Opposition Leader in Parliament and Prime Minister-in-Waiting.

Of course, there are also some in the party and labour who see the Mulcair win as an opportunity to realize a long-held goal of a “big tent” centrist party. But this

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Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Afternoon Links

Assorted content to end your weekend.

- pogge rounds up last week’s news on the Robocon front – while the outside attack on the NDP’s leadership vote suggests that the block-the-vote crowd isn’t limiting its work to general elections.

- Meanwhile, Dave connects some dots between the Harper Cons, the B.C. Libs and two IT service providers.

- Gerald Caplan points out that it’s the most amoral gamblers earning the largest returns from our current version of casino capitalism.

- Finally, in other NDP convention followup notes, Cathie is optimistic that Thomas Mulcair can fight back against the Harper

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Accidental Deliberations: Leadership 2012 – Third Ballot Endorsement

The second-ballot results leave little room for doubt as to the ultimate conclusion of the NDP’s leadership campaign – with the main question now being whether there will be a fourth ballot to determine the party’s leader. And after two ballots of working on shaping the issues drawn from the leadership voting results, I’ll now endorse giving the MP who did so much to build the party in Quebec the leadership role in doing the same across Canada.

And so, my third-ballot vote goes to…Thomas Mulcair.

Accidental Deliberations: Leadership 2012 – Second Ballot Endorsement

First-ballot results are here. My quick read is that three candidates have a remaining path to victory (no, I can’t see any chance for Peggy Nash when even her vote combined with Dewar’s wouldn’t vault her ahead of Brian Topp), and one of those fits with the themes I most want to see emerging from the convention.

Which makes my second-ballot choice a fairly easy one: Nathan Cullen.

Accidental Deliberations: Leadership 2012 Roundup

A few of the more interesting pieces of news from the NDP leadership campaign as it culminates in today’s voting…

- For those looking for a rundown of the contenders in the smallest possible number of words, John Ibbitson’s tip sheet has what you’re after.

- A couple of late-campaign interviews worth noting include Brian Topp’s talk with Aaron Wherry, as well as Planet S’ discussion with Peggy Nash and Niki Ashton.

- Steve theorizes about the magic number for Thomas Mulcair to have a virtually inevitable path to victory – which is certainly a topic ripe for discussion, though

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Accidental Deliberations: Musical interlude

In keeping with the convention theme…KTA – Longer than a Lifetime

(And if anybody has audio of the song from Jack Layton’s tribute, feel free to pass along the link.)

Accidental Deliberations: Leadership 2012 – First Ballot Endorsement

The NDP’s leadership campaign has presented such a wide variety of opportunities and questions for party members that it’s been difficult to decide who to endorse – and I’ve reached my own first-ballot decision only after taking time to see how those have been balanced out in this afternoon’s leadership showcase. But for what it’s worth, here’s my endorsement for the many members who have chosen to wait to decide for themselves.

To start with, I’ll be shifting my first choice from my preliminary endorsement – not because Brian Topp’s positive message is any less important than it’s always been,

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Accidental Deliberations: The rainbow coalition

I noted a couple of days ago that Stephane Dion’s Lib leadership campaign offered some cautionary tales for the NDP’s contenders. But one of his more effective strategic choices has been embraced wholeheartedly.

At the Libs’ convention, Dion’s green theme set his camp apart in a sea of red. But the NDP’s candidates have chosen a wide array of colours to similarly show momentum: Ashton blue, Topp yellow, Cullen green, Nash purple and Mulcair black are all distinct presences throughout the hall.

Of course, no single candidate will stand out as much for that diversity. But the symbolism of bringing

Accidental Deliberations: Leadership 2012 – Policy Highlights

With the NDP’s leadership convention set to start tomorrow (and assorted hospitality suites already starting up tonight), I won’t be able to finish off my initial plan to put together full policy reviews for each of the candidates. But instead, I’ll take some time to highlight a few innovative ideas which haven’t received a lot of media attention, but stand out as deserving more discussion within the NDP regardless of who wins the leadership.

Judicare, proposed by Niki Ashton: Ensuring that all Canadians are genuinely equal before the law starting by creating a dedicated federal transfer for “judicare”, modelled

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Accidental Deliberations: Leadership 2012 Roundup

I didn’t think much could come along at this point in the NDP’s leadership campaign to significantly change my voting considerations [edit: other than the type of organizational problem discussed here]. But the CROP poll published in Le Soleil may well do just that.

No, it isn’t a surprise to see Thomas Mulcair well ahead of the field in Quebec. But for all the best efforts of the rest of the campaigns as well as two debates centred on the province, not a single other candidate ranks ahead of “none of the above”. And while I’ve emphasized the importance

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Accidental Deliberations: On warning signs

It may be that upwards of 70% of the NDP’s leadership votes are already in before the convention this weekend. But here’s another suggestion as to why it’s worth being in the minority who wait for all the available information before casting a ballot – as well as a cautionary tale in what to look for from the convention presentations.

Much of Stephane Dion’s tenure as leader of the Libs was defined by a basic inability to handle even relatively basic planning and message coordination when it counted – ranging from his campaign interview false-start, to the late-delivered and poor-quality

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Accidental Deliberations: Leadership 2012 Roundup

Another day, another set of NDP leadership campaign stories.

- Niki Ashton won the support of the NDP’s Socialist Caucus.

- Nathan Cullen expanded on his joint nomination proposal with a far more appealing discussion of co-operation in general: Cullen isn’t shy about what he has in mind.

“If the explicit question is put to me: Am I willing to work with the Liberal party in a coalition government, then yes. I was last time.”

Moreover, he said the parties should make it clear while they are seeking votes from Canadians that a coalition is a “possible scenario.”

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Accidental Deliberations: Leadership 2012 Roundup

A quick look at the latest news as the NDP’s leadership convention approaches.

- Alice’s latest Power Play appearance saw her discuss Nathan Cullen’s campaign:

Meanwhile, Cullen received an endorsement from Murray Dobbin – which is particularly noteworthy since Dobbin had previously lined up behind Peggy Nash.

- Paul Dewar’s interview with Jessica Bruno included this on his top three priorities: What are the top three policy issues you think the NDP should focus on? Why?

“Retooling our economy and fixing up the mess being brought in by the Conservatives. Over the past six years, the Harper government has been

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Accidental Deliberations: The decisive question

Following up on my candidate questionnaire and previous posts about party organization, I’ll offer my own observations on the final two questions I posed to the leadership candidates.

I start from the premise that the primary goals of a leader are to serve as the party’s public face and chief strategist. And while all of the candidates have shown at least some obvious ability in either or both of those areas, the biggest issue facing members this week will be to sort through the fact that there’s such a wide range of strengths which may not all be applied under

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Accidental Deliberations: Leadership 2012 Roundup

With the NDP’s leadership campaign entering its final week, it’s no great surprise to see plenty more punditry than usual surrounding the race. But what might influence the ballots cast this week (which may end up making all the difference)?

- The most attention over the last day or so has gone to Doris Layton’s letter in support of Brian Topp – which certainly offers a stronger and more sentimental appeal than a lot of the other late-campaign messages. But given that her endorsement had already been announced, I’m far from convinced the latest appeal will make all that much

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Accidental Deliberations: Leadership 2012 Candidate Rankings – March 18, 2012

Since last week, we’ve seen the NDP’s leadership campaign win plenty more attention in the media. But has any of the news managed to change the positioning of the candidates?

1. Thomas Mulcair (1)

Well, we’ve certainly seen Thomas Mulcair under the microscope more than he’s ever been. But while the week gave rise to a couple of points which may not help his cause (with controversy over his positions on marijuana decriminalization and Syria among the points which may lose him later-ballot support), he still looks likely to hold a significant first-ballot lead over the next tier of

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Accidental Deliberations: Leadership 2012 Questionnaire Response – Niki Ashton

Finally, Niki Ashton had this to offer in response to my party organization questionnaire: 1. As leader, what changes (if any) would you seek to make to the NDP’s:(a) caucus management and discipline?

Caucus members are elected as New Democrats, and I believe that, where there is a clearly established party policy, they are obliged to vote accordingly. That was the case, for example, with equal marriage rights for same sex couples. But on issues where there is no party policy, the issue needs to be open to debate; it should not be up to the Leader’s Office to

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Accidental Deliberations: Leadership 2012 Questionnaire Response – Paul Dewar

While noting the resources involved in responding to a request for information delivered late in the NDP’s leadership campaign, I have to be impressed when a candidate who could easily enough have pointed to a well-publicized platform plank instead deal directly with the specific issues raised in a questionnaire. And the final two responses get extra points on that front – starting with Paul Dewar. 1. As leader, what changes (if any) would you seek to make to the NDP’s:(a) caucus management and discipline?

I know that as a big tent, our party includes a diversity of opinion. As

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Accidental Deliberations: Leadership 2012 Questionnaire Response – Thomas Mulcair

Here’s Thomas Mulcair’s response to my leadership questionnaire on the NDP’s party organization: 1. As leader, what changes (if any) would you seek to make to the NDP’s:(a) caucus management and discipline?(b) membership engagement and organizational structure?(c) policy development process?(d) candidate recruitment and nomination process?(e) relationship to other political parties?(f) relationship to traditional allies in the labour, environmental and social justice movements?(g) relationship to interests not traditionally allied with the NDP?

2. As leader of the NDP, what roles would you anticipate within the partyfor:(a) each of your fellow leadership candidates?

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Accidental Deliberations: Leadership 2012 Questionnaire Response – Peggy Nash

Last week, I crowdsourced some questions to the NDP’s leadership candidates about their plans for party organization. (Unfortunately the comments have disappeared, and I’m still working on getting them to reappear – but as you’ll see I incorporated changes into my draft version.)

Obviously it’s been a busy time for the campaigns, and so I greatly appreciate that four have been able to provide at least some response so far. And I’ll give them each a post to highlight the response and my own quick analysis – starting in reverse alphabetical order with Peggy Nash. 1. As leader, what

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