It is now clear that NDP interim-leader, Nycole Turmel, was a member of two separatist parties, the Bloc which she left only in January of this year and Quebec Solidaire, of which she is still a member.
Turmel, a former labour leader, explains that she identified with the social democratic aims of these parties but she never supported their separatist options. Furthermore she has been a member of the NDP for 20 years. Is that explanation good enough?
Not for the editorial page of this morning’s Globe and Mail, it isn’t. The Globe opines: « Not since Lucien Bouchard and Gilles Duceppe has someone whose loyalty to federalism appeared so tepid and fair-weather served as leader of her Majesty’s loyal opposition. »
The issue of course is not about Turmel’s changing parties. Many politicians have done that. Winston Churchill himself switched from the Conservatives to the Liberals, and then back again to the Conservatives. He famously remarked: « Anyone can rat, but it takes a certain amount of ingenuity to re-rat. »The issue is whether Turmel’s federalist commitment is solid. She says flatly she has always been a federalist when it comes to the separation of Quebec.
But will that declaration be sufficient, say, for NDP supporters in the West? Maybe not. The Globe ends its editorial on this matter this morning with a snarky comment: « …. the NDP’s suitability for the role of government-in-waiting is at best tenuous, unless the government in question is that of a sovereign Quebec. » Ouch!
By the way, Liberal leader Bob Rae was a member of the NDP for more than 20 years. Does that mean his commitment to liberal principles is tenuous?
Should the NDP cut its losses and ask Turmel to step down?
Or should the NDP circle the wagons and continue to support her as interim-leader?
What do you think?