NDP ELECTIONWATCH 2017: The Indifferent Layperson’s Guide to the 2017 New Democratic Party Leadership Race (2/2)

For the first instalment in the thrilling saga that is Canadian federal party politics, click here.  

Part Four: Where Do They Stand?

Alright, so now you know enough about these people to vote for them completely superficially based on physical appearance, life story, and how much you wanna sex them up good. If that’s all the information you need to make a decision, more power to ya. All three of you who want to make a more informed decision based on principles would probably rather learn a bit more about their actual platforms. How do they plan to combat inequality? What’s their plan for success in 2019 and beyond? How often do they say the word “neoliberal” in a mocking fashion? Do they want to kill the bourgeoisie, or merely maim them and slowly and painfully torture their children in front of them? All valid questions.

In order to determine the most relevant questions surrounding the candidates, I went through their platforms and picked out the issues that two or more of them mentioned. That way, I hope to include more pertinent, occasionally overlapping discussions like how to best implement electoral reform, and not so much something more niche, like abolishing the monarchy, or abolishing Victoria Day and replacing it by enshrining Corner Gas Day as a federal holiday. Still waiting on people to sign my petition, by the way.

great_crowd_front
Our Cheers, basically.

No doubt that I will end up missing parts of every candidate’s platforms. In those cases, feel free to look up their specific platforms for more detail. This is meant to be a slightly in-depth, yet broadly general overview. I’m sure there’s somebody who actually knows what they’re talking about who can explain these much better than me, but I make dick jokes, so, y’know, the choice is obvious.

CIVIL RIGHTS / SOCIAL JUSTICE

mouseland_ashton
…What the FUCK am I looking at???

Right off the bat, we can tell that most of the candidates have similar, if not identical positions on many issues. Four people loudly agreeing with each other don’t always make for the most entertaining debates, but it makes my job a whole lot easier, so I ain’t complaining.

Angus: Aside from his emphasis on indigenous issues (which we’ll get to in a little bit) Charlie Angus’ online platform is not particularly civil rights-centric, but I feel reasonably certain that he’s not a closet member of the Ku Klux Klan, considering that he allowed himself to denied communion from the Catholic Church over his support for gay marriage.

mac01_charlie_angus_post01
I mean, just look at the “WAKE UP” sticker on his bass guitar! I rest my case. 

However, he has released a platform for social justice in which he details plans to ban the practice of carding (in which an individual’s information can be taken down by the police without due process) and abolish the No-Fly list (exactly what it sounds like: a list of people barred from flying on airplanes in Canada due to possible threats to national security). He has also developed a robust platform on seniors’ rights. In his Dignity and Justice for Seniors policy, Angus outlines his plans to ensure a comfortable living for pensioners, including protecting pensions from corporate fuckery, and amending the Bankruptcy Act and Companies’ Creditors Protection Act to the end of protecting senior’s pensions when their employers go bankrupt.

Ashton: Niki Ashton is described/criticized by many as/for being the most vocal candidate when it comes to issues of social justice (or if you’re old, white, and cynical “identity politics”). A lot of this stems from her unfortunate if exagerrated role in Elbowgate (more on that later), and that time she described herself as an “intersectional eco-feminist”, which didn’t play super well with the “I’m not sexist, but…” crowd.

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Note to self: Don’t look up “Niki Ashton social justice” on Google if I value my sanity.

One SJ policy plank of hers is A Vision for an Accessible and Inclusive Canada for Persons with Disabilities, which aims to combat “systemic discrimination” faced by disabled people by, among other things, work with provinces and municipalities to end discriminatory hiring practices, make American and Quebec Sign Language available in all federal government offices, and increase accessibility for disabled people within the NDP.

With regards to sex and gender non-conformist Canadians, Ashton’s Justice for LGBTQ2+ Persons includes plans to expand health care accessibility for trans people, provided the option to list a non-binary gender identity on federal identification, and work with the provinces to ensure that the rights of sexual minorities and all gender identities are protected.

In Racial Justice: Dignity and Respect, Ashton calls for the institution of a right to citizenship for refugees, migrant workers and Temporary Foreign Workers, and the abolition of Bill C-51, an anti-terrorism bill passed by the Harper government that allows for expanded surveillance. She also advocates for an end to “racist policing practice”, to bar employers from asking about criminal records from non-violent crimes, and an end the practice of “no-fly” lists.

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That’s three uses of the word “justice” in any given platform so far! We must be off to a good start!

Ashton’s Ending Gender Violence and Discrimination (Oh my god, she has so goddamn many of these) calls for  $500 million federal investment into programs aimed at combating gender and sexual violence (almost five times more than the Liberal government’s investment), and expanding “gender-affirming” health care for women and trans folks.  She also advocates working with provinces and post-secondary institutions to implement higher standards for anti-gender violence education.

Caron: A policy wonk with a laser-focus on economics, Caron hasn’t included much civil rights policy on his website, aside from his indigenous policy, which we’ll get to. Again, his rhetoric has been progressive enough during debates when the topic has come up so I wouldn’t hold it against him.

Singh: Unusually enough for an NDP candidate, Singh has actually come under fire for his statements on civil rights, mainly because of a combination of confusion about his religious beliefs, and vague comments made by the Brampton MPP that tried to balance support for a progressive sex education bill proposed by Kathleen Wynne’s Ontario Liberal government, with criticism for the provincial government’s presentation of the bill to immigrant and ethnic communities.

For whatever my opinion’s worth, I doubt Singh has an ounce of sexism or homophobia in him. Sikhism is relatively progressive on social issues compared to most other major religions, as the universal goal of the Sikh faith is to live life without hate or animosity for anyone, regardless of factors beyond their control. And maybe I’m being too lenient, but a clumsily worded statement does not a closet bigot make, in my opinion.

Singh’s platform is possibly the most social justice-heavy, rivalling Niki Ashton’s campaign, hitting on extremely similar policy points in his LGBTQI2S+ Initiatives. In fact, his platform seems almost lifted from Ashton’s (albeit, written with quite a bit more detail), advocating for the end of carding, the removal of kids from the no-fly list (in contrast to Ashton’s call for abolition), aggressive policies against gender violence, and the expansion of healthcare for women and non-binary folks. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and his perspective as a Person of Colour is certainly worth taking into account, it’s just so similar that it’s not really worth inflating my word count over. I’m almost at 5000 words, people, we’re already beyond pushing it.

CLIMATE CHANGE / ENVIRONMENTALISM

Again, not a whole lot of variance here. Nobody’s denying the existence of climate change, or blaming gay people for hurricanes, as entertaining as that would be.

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Part of me kinda wished Kellie Leitch had joined the NDP and ran for leader. If only because I could’ve gotten some delightful material out of it. 

Angus: With an eye on meeting the obligations in the Paris agreement, Charlie Angus’ Climate Change policy aims to create both a national carbon budget (“a legislated cap on carbon emissions”) and to create a National Carbon Council made up of environmentalists, economists, and stakeholders. He would also create a new Crown corporation to help fund green energy projects, and eliminate subsidies for the oil and gas sector, replacing them with incentives for meeting emission targets. He has also been endorsed by David Suzuki, so take that as you will.

Ashton: Calling for “Environmental Justice”, Ashton proposes a “New Deal” for a Green Economy (Because FDR is really connecting with the kids these days) that includes diversification from an economy based on fossil fuels to one based on alternative sources of energy. Along with a carbon budget and adherence to the Paris Agreement, The “New Deal” will consist of the creation of two new institutions, a Crown corporation known as “Green Canada” (a stand-in name, hopefully) and a public investment bank that will help fund this transition through Advisory Boards and the promotion of Green jobs for youth. Under Ashton’s leadership, Canada would strive to get gas and diesel vehicles off the road by 2040 (because Canadian governments always stay in power for that long) and unequivocal rejection of the Kinder Morgan pipeline and any natural resource projects that do not have the consent of locals and the indigenous people affected.

Anybody considering calling Ashton a lightweight on policy can take it up with my carpal tunnel-ridden hands.

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My hands at around word 5000. I am twenty years old. 

Caron: Beginning with the shocking affirmation that climate change is, indeed, real, Guy Caron’s Climate Justice platform calls for a $10 billion investment into electric public transportation, a gradual increase in the price of carbon to $150/tonne by 2030, the phaseout of fossil-fuel dependent cars by 2031, overhauling the National Energy Board to assure for the achievement of the goals agreed upon in the Paris Agreement, allow for better oversight of natural resource projects, and to seek consent from affected indigenous peoples on every such project.

Singh: The Green Economy & Climate Agenda calls for similar plans to the other candidates (noticing a pattern?), aiming to put Canada on a path to a 90% reduction in carbon emissions by 2050. This would be done by implementing a National Public Transit Strategy to help fund public transit in urban centres. As well as opposing the Kinder Morgan and Energy East pipelines, Singh government would also aim to phase out coal by 2030, reduce methane emissions, and phase out emission-producing vehicles. His most ambitious proposal is a “Renewable Energy Supergrid” to link the country’s resources and allocate them to where they are most needed. How would he accomplish connecting the largest country in the Western Hemisphere, with notable geographical and provincial divisions from region to region to one super grid, you ask? Good fucking question! If only his platform gave some insight into that!

curnsrawiaestrg
Artist’s representation. 

 

DRUGS & THE POLITICS OF GETTING HIGH

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Alternative title: Pass the Dutchie on the LEFT– hand side.

Angus: After Jagmeet Singh needled him about it in a bizarrely aggressive manner, Charlie Angus released his position on drug decriminalization as part of his Social Justice in the Justice System platform. Long story short: He supports ending the War on Drugs, and will follow the recommendations of an all-party task force put together to “design a made-in-Canada model of decriminalization”.

Ashton: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Alright, alright, that’s a little unfair. She has appeared open to drug legalization, but aside from increased support for safe injection sites as a way of stopping the spread of HIV, there isn’t very much about drug legalization in her platform, beyond the immediate decriminalization of marijuana, which is a neat thought, but it’s already gonna be legalized (God willing) by 2019, so I’m not sure what that’s supposed to accomplish, unless the pot legalization ends up ridiculously convoluted and botched, which is certainly a possibility.

Ralph Goodale Jody Wilson-Raybould
*Eyes Goodale suspiciously*

Caron: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I just like using this emoticon, honestly.

But yeah, see Ashton’s entry. Although, again, he seems open to the idea of looking into decriminalization of all drugs.

Singh: ¯\_(ツ- Oh shit, nevermind, there’s actual policy here!

Jagmeet Singh’s Decriminalization and Harm Reduction Agenda calls for immediate decriminalization of cannabis (yeah, I dunno), and a reparatory justice program for individuals under the age of 30 who have been negatively affected by cannabis possession charges. He will also take inspiration from Portugal and establish a task force to figure out a path towards decriminalization of all drugs. He also calls upon the federal government to work with local governments to effectively combat the opioid epidemic.

ECONOMIC, LABOUR & JOB REFORM / COMBATING INEQUALITY

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TL;DR

Is this where we get to massacring the bourgeoisie? I’ve got my pitchfork ready and everything.

Angus: Going into the campaign, Angus, a longtime party insider, had attained the reputation of being something of a moderate, having signed off on the removal of “socialism” from the party’s constitution, and appeared somewhat disdainful of the concept of re-adopting the left-wing Regina Manifesto (the guiding principle of the CCF until the Red Scare) during a debate. However, while he’s not coming to debates carrying an investment banker’s head on a pike or anything, he did come out with a surprisingly left-wing platform (Owning Our Economy) that included investment in cooperative enterprises. Most prominent among these: his proposal that, upon a company’s failure, the option be presented to the workers to seize control and run it as a cooperative.

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I think I blew my wad on Soviet propaganda posters a bit too early. 

As his folksy background and demeanour would suggest, Charlie’s bread and butter are issues relating to the working class, so it makes sense that the most robust section of his platform is his Better Deal for the Working Class. Among other things, Charlie proposes raising the minimum wage to 15$, reforming the labour code, expanded pharmacare, protecting pensions, and making the federal government the country’s “largest employer”.

Ashton: Oh boy, you can tell that Niki Ashton’s about to hit you with a wall of text when “Justice” is in the title of a category. Never let it be said that she’s not passionate about what she does.

The most vocally left-wing of the candidates, Ashton has made the rise of precarious work a major focus of her campaign. For the sake of salvaging whatever sense of brevity this piece has left, I’m gonna try to make this short.

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Because that’s gone well for me, so far. 

In her Economic Justice platform, Ashton advocates for the creation of a “Good Jobs-Stable Jobs” program with a goal of full unemployment and the end of precarious work. She also advocates the institutionalization of Affirmative Action and a “Canada First” economic strategy to protect Canadian jobs through the rejection of “job-killing” trade deals. Ashton supports an ambitious reform of the tax system to “assure that corporations and the wealthy pay their fair share”. Other initiatives include the creation of a national post office bank, a national pharmacare program, and lowering the cost of prescription drugs.

One of Ashton’s main policy points, however, is the elimination of tuition fees for post-secondary institutions via an economic transfer to the provinces to offset any potential loss of funding. This is ambitious, and would surely ease the lives of students across the country. It is also just about damn near impossible to implement in a federal system, where education is the responsibility of the provinces, and it’s unlikely that every province will agree to free tuition without a fight. 

Caron: Guy Caron is the most economics-heavy of the candidates, there is absolutely no doubt about that. Hearing this guy talk about finance reform makes me want to care about math again. Just kidding, math is an abomination that has only impacted humanity for the worst. But Caron makes it tolerable.

pythagoras
I’ve never seen Pythagoras and Jack the Ripper in the same room. Just saying. 

As part of his  Workers First platform, Caron proposes an alternative to the Trudeau government’s infrastructure bank (which Caron and the other candidates have characterized as a “privatization scheme”), Caron proposes investing $90 billion into a “Job Action Plan” that would help fund infrastructure projects “required to transition to the green and automated economy”, including retrofitting buildings and public transportation with environmentally-friendly technology. Caron also supports amending the Canada Labour Code to replace the 8-hour workday with a 7-hour workday (without wage loss) to help combat job precarity, and to reflect the reality of an economy that is rapidly becoming automated.

Along with a thorough tax reform that includes prosecution of tax crimes and the closing of stock option loopholes exploited by CEO’s, Caron’s main policy plank, aimed at the reduction and elimination of extreme inequality and poverty through the introduction of a taxable basic income supplement.

Essentially, every single Canadian living under the region-dependant “low-income cut-off” (LICO) line would receive a “top-up” from the federal government in order to get them up to their region’s LICO line, help them meet basic necessities, and ease the burden on overtaxed social services as, Caron states, poverty costs the healthcare system $7.6 billion annually. Assuaging fears that this would mean cuts to other social programs, Caron insists that they will all stay intact and co-exist with a basic income.

God, I love this man.

I’m not hiding my bias very well, am I?

guy-caron

Singh: Compared to the other candidates’ (some would say misplaced) ambitiousness in their economic policy, Jagmeet Singh’s economic policy is almost disappointingly typical for the NDP. (15$ minimum wage, renewed Labour Code, expanded benefits, progressive taxation, etc.) Which isn’t to say that it isn’t left wing or anything, it’s still unquestionably left-of-centre, it’s just definitely the most moderate of the four.

One policy plank that may give dyed-in-the-wool NDPers some pause is his proposal of a “Canadian Seniors Guarantee”, which aims to merge Old Age Security, the Guaranteed Income Supplement, the Age Credit and the Pension Income Credit into one income-tested benefit.

Whether this is a good idea or not is up to you, but the “income-tested” nature of the proposal has given pause to those who think universal benefits should be, well, universal regardless of somebody’s income (or abundance thereof). Add to the equation the hostile defensiveness he showed in the debates when pressed on it, and it hasn’t come across as well as it maybe should have.

Congratulations on soldiering on through that technical jargon! Here’s a picture of an existential kitten to reward you!

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“Existence is a trek towards the void. We are all dust in the end.”

ELECTORAL REFORM

SPOILER ALERT: THEY ALL HAVE THE SAME ELECTORAL REFORM PLATFORM.

Okay, there is SOME minor variance, but every candidate wants a mixed-member proportional (MMP) system with regional representation to replace the current First-Past the Post (FPTP) system. All candidates except Ashton mention holding a referendum after two MMP elections in order to ratify the new system. Caron has been the most adamant about the necessity of electoral reform, stating that it would be the first bill introduced in a Guy Caron premiership, and/or would be a necessity for NDP support of a Liberal minority government. Angus, however, has proposed some interesting ideas in the form of the possibility of “treaty region” seats in order to reflect First Nations, Inuit, and Métis participation in the democratic process.

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Translation: “Plagiarize the hell out of New Zealand.”

FOREIGN POLICY

Angus: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Might wanna get on releasing that foreign policy plank, Charlie Boy. 

(In absence of an actual platform, it should be noted that Charlie Angus has seemed to toe the NDP line of “peacekeeping, not intervention” and “fair, eco-friendly trade, not free trade” in debates)

Ashton: Niki Ashton has likely been the most consistently vocal of the candidates with regards to foreign policy, especially regarding the situation in Israel and Palestine, in which she has become a strong advocate for the rights of the Palestinian people. However, any reference to Israel and/or Palestine has been removed from her A Just Peace in the Middle East platform, so take that how you will, I suppose.

Caron: Like Angus, Guy Caron doesn’t have any links to foreign policy on his website. However, he has talked in debates and interviews about returning to a peace-keeping centric, non-aggressive military strategy, and a need to bring about a peaceful solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through fostering links with progressive elements in both countries.

Singh: Something something peacekeeping, something something fair trade.

I haven’t slept in a week. Somebody send help. 

INDIGENOUS ISSUES

Or, “Mitigating the Insurmountable Effects of Centuries of Institutionalized Cultural Genocide, for Dummies.”

One common element of all their platforms is the signing of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People (UNDRIP). Let the fact that we haven’t already signed that symbolic, non-binding document sink in.

Angus: Charlie Angus’ riding of Timmins-James Bay is home to the Attawapiskat First Nation, which has become the poster child for Canada’s ongoing saga of atrocious living conditions for indigenous people, complete with extreme poverty and a recent suicide crisis. As such, Angus has, quite passionately, placed quite a focus on indigenous issues, releasing a policy plank entitled Indigenous Children First calling for the establishment of an Indigenous Children’s Ombudsman, and auditing and dismantling Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada, ensure accountability among federal bodies dealing with the First Nations.

His riding is situated on Treaty 9 land.

Ashton: Churchill-Keewatinook Aski, by far winning Ashton some points for “coolest sounding home riding”, as a federal riding has the highest percentage of Aboriginal peoples in Canada at 61.1%, and the highest rate of Cree language speakers, with 16.6% of its residents using Cree as a home language. As such, one would expect Ashton to put an emphasis on indigenous issues. And one would be right because I’m not into bait and switches.

In her Justice for Indigenous Peoples platform, Ashton calls for increased “accountability in the funding relations between the federal government and indigenous communities”. She also calls for a national action plan to address violence against indigenous girls and women, invest in affordable housing in Northern communities, ensure access to clean water, food, healthcare and sanitation for affected communities, and address the disproportionate representation of Aboriginal people in Canadian prisons.

Her riding is situated on Treaty 5 and Treaty 9 land.

Caron: In Guy Caron’s Nation-to-Nation platform, he gives a laundry list of proclamations, reviews, and consultations to be undertaken, being the unflinching technocrat that he is. He would expand the scope of a National Inquiry into addressing issues of discrimination against indigenous girls, women, and LGBTQ2S folks, as well as provide funds aimed at aiding engagement and consultation with said affected individuals. He also pledges to provide clean water and an annual standardized zero-emission housing fund to every community, increase funding for education, healthcare and the preservation of Aboriginal languages.

Singh: Jagmeet Singh’s Indigenous Justice Agenda (NDP members like to throw the word “justice” around with a frequency that would put Bruce Wayne to shame) proposes the removal of funding caps on indigenous education, introduce an Indigenous Languages Act to halt the decline of Aboriginal languages, expand the mandate of and create national advocacy centres for the inquiry into the missing women, and investing $250 million into facilities providing women’s shelters for rural and Northern communities.

QUEBEC

q111
Come for the lower drinking age, stay for the incessant constitutional crises!”

After the collapse of the NDP’s Quebec vote in 2015, all of the candidates agree that the path back to respectability is through becoming the dominant party in Quebec once again. They agree that the way to ensure this is through an aggressive strategy in the tradition of Jack Layton’s 2011 campaign, and through respect and recognition of Quebec’s unique status within Canada. What the latter essentially boils down to is “we’re not huge fans of the whole ‘telling women and people of colour what to wear’ deal, but we’re gonna make vague statements about secularism and respecting sovereignty as long as you vote for us”.

Actually, Jagmeet Singh doesn’t seem to be a huge fan of that last part. I wonder why that is?

jagmeet-singh-ndp-mpp
Truly, one of the great mysteries of our time.

DEBATE PERFORMANCES/PERSONALITY/ “ELECTABILITY”

Deservedly or not, people are gonna judge whoever becomes by their personalities, their charisma, and how well-spoken they are. All these qualities have approximately jack-shit to do with being a good leader and/or Prime Minister, but they also have the capability to make or break a public servant’s career. Politics are confusing.

Angus: The most Albertan person to not actually come from Alberta (and not be a member of the Conservative party). If you were to look up the definition of “folksy” in the dictionary, I’m pretty sure that Charlie Angus’ amiable mug would show up, possibly as he’s holding an acoustic guitar, or while he’s talking about an experience he had talking to one of his constituents, likely a downtrodden miner at a Tim Hortons in Moose Retina, Northern Ontario. Favouring straight talk and emotion over political jargon, this sort of demeanour could come across as being inauthentic with many other people, but Charlie Angus comes across well in debates and doesn’t come across as duplicitous, or like a substanceless populist. His pain is real when he talks about the situation in Attawapiskat and the fact that he’s been agitating for progressive causes since the last Ice Age is another point in favour of his authenticity.

On the downside, his French is worrisome. He gets his points across alright, and he’s improved over the course of the campaign, but if elected leader, he would likely have to work hard to improve the party’s standing in Quebec, because right now, he sounds like my high school principal when he tried to talk to the French Immersion kids.

ho lynch.jpg
“Comment sah vah, mess infants?”

Ashton: Niki Ashton is kind of an interesting one in this respect. A solid, considerate debater, she strikes a confrontational, academic, and unapologetically leftist, feminist tone that either passionately speaks truth to power, or is self-righteous, depending on how many times you’ve unironically said “I believe in equality, but…” in the last year.

Ashton’s behaviour during the infamous Elbowgate incident, (in which she described Justin Trudeau accidentally bumping into NDP MP Ruth Ellen Brosseau as being “assault”, in which case, I have some clumsy LRT passengers to sue) is usually brought up by her many critics as an example of her being opportunistic and hyperbolic. To be fair, that is a principled, progressive stance also taken by leftists such as Conservative MP Peter Van Loan, Conservative MP Lisa Raitt, and Interim Conservative leader Rona Ambrose, so, y’know, maybe we should give her some cred- hey wait a minute…

trudeau-elbow-elbowgate
OH, THE HUMANITY!!!!!

To be fair, the “debate” Elbowgate as a whole was a meaningless waste of oxygen, and I don’t think it’s fair to single out Ashton for her eye-rolling comments when people from both major opposition parties were making comments that were just as dumb. Other than that messiness, again, she’s a solid debater, and generally comes across well, but she does lean a bit heavily on repeating clichéd statements to the point of being predictable. If I have to hear her say that “growing up in a union town, you know which side you’re on” one more time, I may jump off of the High-Level bridge. 

Caron: To say that Guy Caron is lacking in charisma is… Well, it’s a bit unfair to say. He’s a funny dude and can hold an entertaining conversation. It’s just that he comes across a bit more “technically minded” than the others if that makes any sense. He’s by far been the best debater, I think, but he lacks the down-to-earth relatability of somebody like Charlie Angus, or the raw sex appeal charisma of, uh, other candidates.

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Unrelated Jagmeet Singh photo. 

The fact that he’s French-Canadian is unfortunately relevant too, especially in regions of the country who tend to resent being “controlled by Quebec and Ontario”. He should theoretically be able to expand the NDP’s seat count in French Canada, but he’ll likely have his work cut out for him in the Prairie Provinces.

Singh: There’s no real way around it: Aside from being young, energetic, and passionate, Jagmeet Singh is a pleasant dude to look at. The man is easy to talk to, and charisma comes naturally to him. He is also popular among young people, has an impeccable sense of fashion, is trained in combat sports, and is incredibly selfie-friendly.

Now I’ll give you a guess: What famous contemporary Canadian political figure does that remind you of?

200_s
…What? No.

Justin Trudeau. It’s Justin Trudeau.

It’s probably unfair to Singh to immediately equate him to the Prime Minister, whether fair or not, people have compared him to Trudeau, and they’re gonna keep comparing him to Trudeau, so we might as well get through it now. Seeing how Justin Trudeau is a controversial figure, especially among NDP circles, it’s no surprise that Singh has also become polarizing for both his photogenic nature and his relatively moderate policies, especially his ambiguous remarks on Old Age Security. He would also not be able to take a seat in the House of Commons until 2019, which has ruffled the feathers of those who would like the leader of a major party to physically be in Parliament.

It doesn’t exactly help matters that Singh has been pushed as a sort of “Second Trudeau” by the media. Or that he’s a poor debater that has come across as aggressive and kind of arrogant. My mom has called him a “jerk” at some point. This is clearly not a good sign for him.

There’s the rub, though: Singh is popular. Like, to the point where he has received the most endorsements from federal MPs, and he’s the frontrunner. So, he’s clearly doing something right. His relentlessly positive campaign and viral response to a heckler who accused him of being “in bed with the Muslim Brotherhood” can’t have hurt, either.

image1
Fun fact: this woman later defended herself claiming that she’s “not racist”, and that she “strongly supports the Hindus”. It’s like she’s doing my job for me. 

Conclusion/Editorial: Who Should be Leader?

Let me get one thing clear: I am, by no means an expert. I’m just a kid with access to WordPress, a morbid curiosity about federal politics, and way too much free time. And I have no delusions of grandeur: I’m here to educate. Not to be the grand arbiter of who deserves leadership. My opinion should not sway yours. Do your own research.

I should preface this by saying that I like all the candidates. Charlie Angus’ emphasis on class consciousness and ideas of collectivization are a breath of fresh air. Niki Ashton’s unapologetic commitment to social justice is something that is invaluable to the NDP.  Guy Caron has made the nitty-gritty details about finance and economics interesting for me, a feat that I thought damn near impossible. And Jagmeet Singh’s passion and ability to appeal to new members are great to see.

Which isn’t to say that they don’t have their flaws, either. Charlie Angus’ relative lack of policy and possible lack of interest from French-Canadian voters are causes for concern. Niki Ashton has confusing ideas about provincial jurisdiction, and can sometimes favour broadly socialist rhetoric (despite being more of a social democrat than a democratic socialist, like all the other candidates) over actual concrete policy. Caron can sometimes seem like too much of a technocrat, and Singh’s more relatively centrist policy might not be the best route to go after the 2015 election.

In the end, it kind of comes down to what you want in a leader. Is it the candidate who believes in more of the same things that you do? Is it somebody who has a broad enough appeal to get more votes in the next election? I don’t know if I can answer that. That’s up to each individual to decide, I suppose.

With that said, this is how I ranked my ballot.

  1. Guy Caron
  2. Charlie Angus
  3. Niki Ashton
  4. Jagmeet Singh

 

le-depute-du-npd-guy-caron-2920269
AND IT’S CARON WITH THE STEEL CHAIR AND SOUND FISCAL POLICY!!!

So, there it is. This was your guide to the 2017 NDP election. It may have been way too late, but what I like to tell myself is that I’d rather be perfect than be punctual. Whether I was either of those things is up to you.

THE END (UNTIL TOMORROW AFTERNOON, I GUESS)

 

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2 thoughts on “NDP ELECTIONWATCH 2017: The Indifferent Layperson’s Guide to the 2017 New Democratic Party Leadership Race (2/2)”

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