After my initial NDP leadership race rankings I was looking for an excuse to move Mulcair up my ballot.
While I had some worries about the potential for his leadership, I still somewhat agreed with the general consensus that he looked the most prime ministerial and would be one of the strongest to take on Harper. He seemed to have pretty good odds at winning, so my hope was primarily for him to win later on the ballot, which might require him to soften his stance a bit.
Mulcair’s awful video and unequivocal denunciation of any (pre or post) electoral cooperation have made me quite worried though. In addition to this, after watching the Vancouver debate yesterday I have a few more thoughts on the race that have affected my rankings:
- Mulcair is bad at giving speeches. He talks eloquently enough, but he read from his script in his opening and closing statements. He only looked up two or three times during the entire speech. It’s amateurish at best, disrespectful* at worst. He was also almost boring in his responses. He speaks softly and seemed to lack passion.
- Mulcair has no clue how to win the West. He stands firm on his plan to “adapt the language” to local campaigns, but seems to have no concrete proposals for what that would be. He says he’s travelled the country more than any other candidate – but has he actually listened to anyone in his travels?
- Brian Topp was far more charismatic than at the start of the campaign, and seems even more so in French.
- Paul Dewar’s French was almost painful to listen to.
- Peggy Nash was more inspiring than I’ve seen her. I’m still not sure she can connect well with individual members or with Western issues though.
- Martin Singh sounded like a Liberal when he criticized Niki Ashton for using “out-dated ideology” (re: creating a generic drug Crown corporation).
- Singh seriously ended the debate, in Vancouver – the country’s most secular city – with “God bless Canada.”
- Singh sounded more like he was running for class president than leader of the opposition. He tried to channel Jack by talking of “running for prime minister” but just came off insincere.
I would say the best performers of the debate were Ashton, Topp, and Nathan Cullen.
With all of this (and various other conversations and news items), I’m revising my rankings:
- Niki Ashton
- Brian Topp
- Nathan Cullen
- Paul Dewar
- Peggy Nash
- Thomas Mulcair
- Martin Singh
Were I to mark my preferential ballot (rather than voting round-by-round electronically during the convention), Singh and Mulcair would not appear on my ballot. I’m still undecided whether to keep Nash on there though.
Despite my continued opposition to Cullen’s specific joint nomination proposal, his heart is in the right place. He wants to see a progressive Canada built on positive messages of cooperation rather than divisive talk of “attacking Harper”. Hence, his movement up my ballot and Mulcair’s fall.
The only final comment I will make is that I do hope to see all of these candidates (except maybe Singh) in the first NDP government cabinet. They are all intelligent and committed people who want to make this country a better place.
*Disrespectful since he didn’t feel like preparation was necessary for a debate in the province with 1 in 3 NDP members.