Friday, 19 August 2016

Nova Scotia's NDP are losing their minds !

Pulling up signs and ignoring political convention is a sure sign of a desperate party 

(A stock photo interpretation of the Nova Scotia NDP's supporters)
A story from the east coast caught my attention this week, regarding a provincial by-election which is being held in the “Needham” riding of Halifax Nova Scotia, and provincial NDP supporters stealing their opponents election signs. Before we get into the meat of the issue a little context is necessary.

The NDP in Nova Scotia had for a long time played third fiddle to the provincial Liberals and the NS Progressive Conservatives. Starting in the early 2000’s they started capitalizing on the urban support in the developing city, and by 2003 though they came third in the popular vote, but still won more seats than the Liberals making them the official opposition. This catapulted their popularity, and by 2009 for the first time in Nova Scotian history the NDP formed government, and a majority government at that. The NDP bubble wasn’t built to last however, and after a series of bad PR moves, and an inability to follow through on large campaign promises the urban support for the party absolutely collapsed. Proof of this came shortly after in the 2013 general election. Although the NDP’s support only went from 31% to 26.8%, in terms of seats they went from holding enough for a majority government  (31 out of 52 seats), to holding the same number of seats as a standard minivan (7 out of 52 seats). The leader of the party Darrell Dexter, was one of the many NDP members to lose his seat, essentially spelling the death of the party.

The last two bits of context we need are from April when the NS NDP elected a new leader, and one of the few people to survive the 2013 election, interim NDP leader Maureen Macdonald retired from the Halifax Needham riding she held for the last 18 years.

The problem with Garry Burrill is pretty simple, he isn't currently an elected MLA. Now this isn’t crazy, parties do sometimes elect a leader who doesn’t have a seat, and even if it appears his caucus doesn't support him, i’m sure that won’t be a big deal, so lets move on for the moment. Ms. Macdonald retiring from her long held (and presumably safe) riding shortly after Burrill was elected seemed like a perfect twist of fate. Most assumed the party would adhere to political convention and parachute their leader into the first available seat? Nope. Turns out the NS NDP isn’t even together enough to do that. Here’s a quote regarding Maureen Macdonald and the newly elected leader running in her former riding:
“At her resignation announcement, MacDonald didn’t directly endorse Burrill for her seat, and also wouldn’t commit to campaigning for him”

If you don’t get the subtext, the NDP MLA who held the riding, one of the only MLAs to hold her riding when the NS NDP collapsed electorally in 2013, won’t commit to campaigning for the newly chosen leader. If that doesn’t show a lack of faith and reek of a desperate party, I don't know what does. 

Lack of support from the former MLA aside, the party itself is taking the diss to their leader and choosing not to run their leader in the first election available (as is convention) but rather to wait till the all but assured fall general election. That's their defence of this action anyway.

However NDP insiders see what has really happened: the party has no faith it can win ANY NS riding, even a "safe" riding its held for eighteen years. 

Former NS NDP Finance minster Graham Steele wrote an entire op-ed for CBC basically saying the same thing. It was titled “Win or lose, Liberals win in Halifax Needham byelection”. The most interesting part of the article is where Mr. Steele drops the fact that the candidate who is running in the Needham by-election, Lisa Roberts, was the only candidate to be nominated. Here’s the quote from the article:
What this means is that interest in running in one of the safest NDP ridings on the east coast was down to literally one person - a political newbie/former CBC journalist with nothing but being a mother, and some community organization under her belt. The leader of the NS NDP himself, had no interest in legitimizing his status by running in the formerly safe Needham riding. In my opinion, the NS NDP absolutely reeks of a desperate, dying party.

When the party as a whole reeks of desperation, its not surprise that  desperation begins to trickle down to their supporters. The man pictured below is named Ken Clare, and he has recently decided to commit several acts of vandalism, in the name of the NS NDP 
(You can see Ken's subtle affiliation with the NS NDP
in one of his Facebook profile pictures)

Ken has taken it on himself to steal and presumably dispose of Liberal party election signs he feels aren’t legally placed 

(In this Facebook post, Ken brazenly admits to interfering with the Needham by-election)

The problems with his action being first of all, he's wrong :
“Halifax spokesperson Tiffany Chase said in addition to private property, signs are allowed on municipal right-of-ways — which includes sidewalks, roads, and grassy medians in between.”
Not only that but as can be seen in the previous image, Ken worked for the NDP and therefore should have some idea of the legality of what he did.

The Nova Scotia NDP refuse to abide by political convention and run their un-elected leader in a by-election partly because no one wanted to run in the “safe” riding, and partly because the former NDP-er who held said riding refused to endorse the un-elected leader. 

To top it off, party supporters have become so desperate that they have taken to committing acts of vandalism in the name of their party.
This is clearly the death rattle for the Nova Scotia NDP. On August 30th when the by-election occurs, and the NDP lose their “safe” seat we will see the beginning of the end of the NS NDP. 

When the general election occurs and the party slips from a minivan’s worth of seats, to the same number of seats as a smart car, maybe without even finding a seat for their leader to win, that will be the final sign the NS NDP is dead. In the meantime, their supporters will continue to go crazy and commit vigilante acts that attack free and fair elections.

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