SHOULD NDP LEADER, TURMEL, STEP DOWN?

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?

6 Comments »

  1. 1
    jim Says:

    I can’t think of any circumstance, at this late stage of the happenings in the back rooms of the NDP, of what has already transpired, for them to reverse any decisions. If anyone can think of one, don’t do it. . Layton should hurry up and die or hurry up and resign and get on with Mulcair running for, or accepting, the leadershjp. History tells us that interim appointments, such as Turmel’s rarely turn out where they become the pernanent leaders.Therefor any insults to voters political beliefs will be avoided because it will not be apparant that she was bounced. I think that replacing a Quebecer (Turmel) with a Quebecer (Mulcair) will sell nationally. Finally although I voted for Layton for the first time I was having some misgivings with him lately when he was running around town , post election, mumbling the words “Quebec”, “nation” and other words akin to them. Did these words rub off from Turmel, a ‘maybe’ member of the 5th column. The NDP will have to walk stealthily for the remainder of this year when making statements to the public , otherwise they will be hoisted by their own petard.

  2. 2
    Cate McB Says:

    I agree with the following sentiments expressed at rabble.ca today:

    “The current frenzy against Turmel reveals a corporate elite in Canada desperate to undermine support for the NDP by portraying her as a “traitor” to the Canadian state and unfit to lead a national federalist party. This strategy hopes to bolster the loyalty of working people in English Canada to Canadian pro-business Conservative and Liberal politicians while simultaneously weakening prospects for working-class resistance to the accelerating austerity agenda. Effective resistance is predicated on unity between English and Québécois workers, which is why Canada’s ruling elite is so determined to break it.”

  3. 3
    Neil McKenty Says:

    Should Mulcair replace Layton? Maybe. Maybe not. I know Mulcair. He is very bright. He also is very arrogant. Maybe he has a lot to be arrogant. He certainly has never seen a camera he didn’t want to cuddle up to.

  4. 4
    Cate McB Says:

    Its far too early to ask who should replace Layton.

  5. 5
    jim Says:

    xxxxx

  6. 6

    I read where she said that she only got the Bloc membership to support a friend.

    Well, that’s a very shallow reason. And, in a way, it demeans the political process because it gives a lie to what a party is supposed to be about: its policies. Now, you may disagree with the Bloc but it has the right to advocate and hold as its main policy the independence of Quebec, which it has always had. And if she didn’t hold that very fundamental view she had no right joining the Bloc.

    If Turmel did not share this fundamental desire with the Bloc she should never have joined. So either she is a separatist — in which case it disqualifies her from being both a member and a leader of a federalist party — or she is an insincere politician who callously and selfishly joins political parties for the wrong reason — in which case it disqualifies her as a leader of a political party (and, in my eyes, disqualifies her being an MP, to boot).


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