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UPDATED: A Tale of Two Leadership Races

[Welcome, National Newswatch readers!]

Satellite trucks filled the parking lot at Mississauga's International Centre to see nine candidates at times stumble their way through the first real debate on their way to picking the leader of the third party in the House of Commons.

The combative and fast-paced format was designed to see which of the federal Liberal leadership contestants could master the art of the pithy clip in today's rapid-fire media environment, while still conveying something of substance or connecting to a deeply held value. The answer: very few of them.

Many have still not answered the very simple question of why they are in the race at all, what their unique selling proposition or positioning statement is, or how specifically they plan to lead the party back out of the wilderness. Others are unconsciously channelling the very tabloid TV format they nominally object to, trying to interrupt or take cheap shots in service of landing some mythical punch that would become the clippable moment of the debate.

[Click on image to play CBC-The National's story on yesterday's debate]

CBC "The National": Liberal Leadership Candidates Face Off, Saturday February 16, 2013

While it's become fashionable to champion the value that political neophytes could bring to our system of governance, yesterday's debate clearly demonstrated how politics is a trade that takes considerable skill and experience to do well in; and that not enough of those on stage have completed a sufficient apprenticeship inside or outside of politics to pass muster for the top job. They will need to sharpen up their offerings considerably to justify the expense and effort of staying in the race. It could be that their best contribution to party renewal at this point is to withdraw.

The vacuous but earnest hejiras of several entrants should end now, as should the preening ego trips of others. Meanwhile, the cryogenic candidacy of Martin Cauchon, who still has evident political skills but hasn't had time to update his content or frame since the last decade, needs more resuscitation than time will probably allow at this stage.

Deborah Coyne, I believe, is being unfairly lumped in with the no-contribution candidates, as she shows up well-prepared for every debate, and is clearly the candidate of the strong central government wing of the federal Liberal tradition. She's running a cost-effective campaign suited to its more modest goals, and contributes points of substance with dignity and without personal attack.

Likewise, Joyce Murray has enhanced her reputation as a serious candidate by gracefully defending her controversial "cooperation" proposal for joint nominations with the NDP and Greens against some pretty ham-fisted and clunky attacks from the political amateurs on the stage. A proposal, by the way, that may enjoy more support amongst grass-roots Liberal members than amongst the political operatives who have been attending the leadership debates (h/t @Impolitical), and so should be accorded the respect of a well-considered response.

The gentleman from space, former astronaut Marc Garneau, is probably in the best position of any candidate to give Justin Trudeau's candidacy the kind of dignified vetting it so clearly needs. But Garneau will need to retool his attack a little, as when you criticize another candidate for lacking substance, you better have a quiver-full of your own proposals ready at the tip of your tongue, in order to make the contrast. Having supporters post links to your website on Twitter after the fact just dulls the impact.

Which brings us to the incompetent, nasty and probably career-ending political attack from Martha Hall Findlay yesterday, when she questioned Justin Trudeau's use of the phrase "middle class" based on a personal attack of his family's wealth. If you are going to shoot the King, you do not miss. If you are going to attack, for heaven's sake game out the likely response. Unlike the interesting chess moves we saw in last year's NDP leadership race (see: "The Push, the Pin, the Polls…"), here the Queen just attacked the King from the square right next to him, and was promptly removed from the board, suddenly undoing all the good work she had done to resuscitate her reputation within the party after two other disastrous strategic moves in the past (leading the charge to back Stéphane Dion in 2006, and then spending most of 2011 campaigning in ridings other than her own, which she had told everyone was "safe" but lost narrowly as a result). I do not see how Hall Findlay recovers from this misstep, but if Stephen Carter is as good a political operative as he says he is, he'll have to be proving his worth over the coming weeks.

INSTA-UPDATE: Almost as soon as this blogpost went to press, I noticed that Martha Hall Findlay had posted an apology to her website. It must be getting a lot of traffic, because I can't currently load the page, but I'll comment further if there's anything to add once I can.

From my perspective, the GTA debate was a turning point in the leadership race. I doubt there is anyone left with the ability or organization to catch Justin Trudeau, and very few are left with the legitimacy to vet him. Trudeau took the political openings his inexperienced opponents left him yesterday, and when Hall Findlay foolishly teed him up for the big moment, he hit it out of the park. (Sorry to mix the sports metaphors there.) Garneau has yet to really land a glove on Trudeau, and in fact was forced to defend the young dauphin after Hall Findlay's assault on him proved so unpopular with the audience.

Liberals do not want to see personal attacks against the man who will almost certainly become their leader, and whose persona invokes the hope that better days are returning for their once-great party. They need to give him the chance to improve quite a bit more and lose a bit of the swagger. But more importantly, they need to hear more from him about how he'll lead them out of the wilderness than has yet been on offer. If Justin Trudeau won yesterday's debate, it was only because most of his competitors lost it so badly.

———————————–

Meanwhile in Saskatoon, far from the radar of the national media, four leadership candidates completed the fourteenth and final debate in a six-month race to pick the next provincial leader of the NDP opposition, and likely the next premier of Saskatchewan.

Saskatchewan NDP Leadership Candidates Face Off, Saturday February 16, 2013; credit: Greg Pender, Saskatoon Star Phoenix

[Photo credit: Greg Pender, Saskatoon Star Phoenix]

Like the federal Liberal Party, the Saskatchewan NDP had used its glory days as a crutch for one leadership campaign too many in 2009, when its old boys network engineered the installation of former deputy premier Dwain Lingenfelter as "the only one who could win". But a series of clumsy attack ads against the province's popular premier Brad Wall, coupled with Lingenfelter being the wrong leader to sell a decidedly left-wing opposition platform in the fall 2011 campaign, led to predictable results, and the party is now having the wide-open race it needed four years ago.

Featuring two MLAs with backgrounds in teaching (Trent Wotherspoon) and the provincial public service (Cam Broten), along with a medical doctor whose 2009 leadership run nearly caught Lingenfelter (Ryan Meili), and a nationally known labour economist (Erin Weir), the competitive race has featured a detailed and for the most part gentlemanly contest of ideas about resource royalty rates, the provincial tax system, rural farm ownership, the determinants of health, uranium mining, the emerging role of first nations youth in the province's economy and society, and lengthy discussion of how to rebuild and reinvent the party from the ground up.

While fundraising totals and social media counts give some indication of how active the various campaigns are on the ground relative to each other, in fact it possible to see a path to victory for nearly every candidate in the race, as two different recent polls suggest.

[Click on image to open full-sized version]

Leadership Contestant Fundraising, Expenses and Cumulative Balance, Sask NDP Race, Sept 2012 - March 2013 (reporting to end of January, 2013)

The amounts being raised and spent are small by national standards – although it's fair to say that some of the provincial NDP candidates will have raised more than some of the federal Liberal candidates to date – but they're being reported on every month. And the number of eligible voters stands at 11,000 – not large, but likely greater than the number of federal Liberals enrolled in the province, and showing a large increase in the number of youth members. On the other hand, the lack of diversity in the Saskatchewan race – four white male candidates in their thirties – stands out starkly against the range of candidates seeking the federal Liberal helm, and is the all-too-predictable result of years wasted not recruiting sufficient numbers of women and diverse candidates in that section of the party, who would then be ready to step forward.

All four candidates are using NationBuilder as their website and online-organizing platform, by the way; a fortuitous coincidence that should assist the party in integrating the data from all four campaigns afterwards to help the rebuilding process.

It will be interesting to look back in five years, and see which of the two leadership races produced the greater change in their party's rebuilding and growth prospects.

—————————————————

UPDATE: Here is the text of Martha Hall Findlay's apology from her website, during the 5 minutes or so when it came back up for air over the past hour:
 

2013 – MHF Comment – Leadership – An Apology, and the “Middle Class”

There are some who believe that I overstepped a line in the Leadership debate yesterday. To Justin, his family and to those who were offended, I apologize. My comments were not meant to be personal, in the sense of being in any way a comment on Justin’s character – indeed, I have the greatest respect for Justin’s passion, enthusiasm and commitment.

My concern is what I have been saying from the beginning: that to lead the Liberal Party and to lead this country, particularly when the economy is the most important issue facing Canadians, we need leadership that not only understands the many challenges facing Canadians, but also understands how to meet those challenges.

When choosing a Leader, it is a person’s record of experience, substance and achievement that are important, regardless of the circumstances into which that person was born.

I am proud of my educational achievements, my background of success in law and business, my record of fulfilling responsibilities to my employees and to my family. I agree with other of my co-candidates, that platitudes and lack of concrete policy ideas are not enough. We all have lofty goals, but it’s how we plan on achieving them that is critical.  Clear ideas, clear goals and clear plans of action are what we need to regain the trust and confidence of Canadians.

A comment on my concern over the use of the word “class”:

We all know that we have economic disparity in Canada – too much. We have lower income people who struggle to make ends meet, a great many who get by with the basics, and people who are well-to-do. We also have a great many who, by dint of hard work, improve the situation they started with for themselves and their families. We all know that our society is made up of people of a variety of income levels. But for me, the words “middle class”, “lower class” and “upper class”, although we hear them often in the US and the UK, are terms that carry with them a societal judgment, connotations of social ‘standing’ that I would prefer we not have in Canada.

My objective is to improve access to opportunity for all Canadians, whether it’s a kid at Jane and Finch in Toronto, in Attawapiskat, or in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. We cannot ignore the income disparities that we have – indeed, our focus must be on increasing equality of opportunity. All Canadians want jobs. All Canadians want a better future for their kids. All Canadians want to be proud of their country.

My colleagues in this race have all come from different backgrounds, and have had access, in different ways, to the great opportunities this country can afford. I myself had the benefit of excellent education, opportunities and role models when I was young.

This campaign will have its moments, some we might regret, and we will all face challenges and criticism. It is politics. I will say, though, that if there is a Liberal in this country who doesn’t believe that the next leader will come under intense scrutiny from the Conservatives, the NDP and the Green Party they are mistaken. We need a leader who has the ability to withstand that inevitable scrutiny, to take them on, and indeed – take the fight to them.  I have the ability and the commitment to do just that.

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39 Responses to “UPDATED: A Tale of Two Leadership Races”

  1. Chris says:

    I hear that 20% of Saskatchewan NDP members have already voted in advance. It will be interesting to see what the turnout is (and what that will mean) by the time the leadership convention arrives in a couple of weeks.

  2. Jordan says:

    It’s a shame for Martha Hall Findlay, she’s obviously talented and I think it could be argued that she has the best resume to be leader. I will say that I don’t think she’s had an overly great run so far. For someone who prides herself on substance I think she’s lacked it at times. She has talked about raising the GST and income taxes on the rich, but when challenged to provide detail about it she backed away from those ideas. I also don’t know how her attacks on the party works for her, she’s really running as an outsiders even though she was an insider. She criticizes the party for voting for things they didn’t believe in, because they were to afraid not to, but she still toed the party line.

    She was my favourite going in but hasn’t done great IMO. Stephen Carter has been a lot quieter then some of the other campaign managers, which may be a good thing.

    I will add though that under the management of Carter, Alison Redford managed to win the provincial election after one of her members attack Danielle Smith for not having children. Some thought that was he end of the campaign.

  3. I tried to follow the National Newswatch link to Marthas apology too, with equal lack of success. Boy she really stepped in it there… I do not think that thinning out the field is important at all. Each of the candidates will be spending $75k for their ten minutes of fame, so let them have it. The supporter category is indeed a game changer, and, as was the case with Cullen, I will bet that there are a few surprises in terms of supporter sign-ups yet to come. (Takach maybe, and Murray almost certainly). Cauchon should not have run after all, he came in too late to have a snowballs chance, and his lack of preparation shows. In the interests of following through on the impact of free memberships, I hope they all stick it out. The reason I say that the Liberals can afford a crowded field is because we are probably 2 years away from a general election, so creating momentum and exciting slugfests are close to meaningless. Building membership and capacity is way more important, and the more candidates are doing so, the better.

  4. Observant says:

    To policy or to not policy, that is the Liberal question?!

    Most party Liberals still live under the delusion that the Liberal brand still has cashay[sic], and Canadians will snap out of their Conservative miasma to return to the soft, warm and furry embrace of their au naturelle governing party… once their messiah-leader rises and leads them out of the ashes of defeats thrice.

    What we are witnessing now is the frustration of some leadership hopefuls who can’t seem to resonate within the Liberal party ranks or the youthful or aged masses. They are relative nobodies with the ego of peeved politicians!

    Martha and Marc “out-class” Justin in every way except one; “poopularity” (in the voice of Jean Chretien;). So their frustrations bubble up and they take their shots at the “shiny pony” (in the voice of Ezra Levant)!

    What is this mojo that Justin possesses that has some Canadians going gaga in their mania? What does he do to turn on the electorate.. male and female because the guy is genuinely liked/loved depending on your gender and political bent?

    Everybody in the election business knows that elections can be won solely on personality and lacking that, on policy convictions that resonate with the beleaguered taxpayers. Justin eschews policy so it must be popularity!

    Undeniably, women vote emotionally while men attempt to vote intellectually, unless the candidate is a female and then the men merge with the women and vote emotionally too. (Some believe that’s how Kathleen Wynne won over the male voters.. go figure!)

    In conclusion, and finally, if Justin does win the Liberal leadership and on the first vote, the Liberal party will be shaken to it’s roots as old dog Liberals who can’t swear fealty to the New Trudeau Era leave rather than get pushed out by the “generational change” young guns plunging the dagger of change into the old Liberal Beast and letting the political jackals finish of the carrion. You can’t just paint a jalopy and call it a Ferrari.

    Heed my words, Alice… because I was correct when I predicted that true and loyal Canadians in the RoC (excluding Quebec) had to elect a majority Harper Conservative gov’t… and they did (but to my surprise it was because les maudites quebecois drank Ste. Jaq’s l’Orange Crushez koolaid). Now we watch the lugubrious Liberals resurrecting their next leader, the Son of PET… this Easter, well almost. Luv ya Alice….

  5. I don’t know where you get off with the sexist generalization that “women vote emotionally while men attempt to vote intellectually”, but you’re certainly entitled to your point of view, however misguided.

  6. Dan Calda says:

    I chuckle when I hear partisans attack Mr. Trudeau for lack of policy, being a lightweight, etc. The absolute same can be said for Mr. Harper.

    Takes a big man to defer all costs to our children. Fairly simple to keep the economy chugging along when you charge everything to the taxpayer visa card.

    Mr. Harper has no interest in governing…it is all about playing the game of politics…I would take a “lightweight” over a political hack everyday….pot meet kettle.

  7. hollinm says:

    To suggest that the next leader of the NDP will be the next premier of Sask. clearly indicates the writer does not live in Saskatchewan and doesn’t know what he is talking about. Wall is popular and will be re-elected without difficulty. Now like MHF I await your apology for insulting the people of Sask.

  8. Come, come, hollinm. Brad Wall is very popular and might very well be re-elected in the next provincial election, but he won’t be premier forever.

  9. Joel says:

    Yep, the Sask Party won`t stay in power forever, and the only other party that even runs candidates in every riding is the NDP. It`s maybe not quite inevitable that the next NDP leader will be Premier, but as a person from SK who has been involved in politics there, I would agree with Alice that it`s likely.

  10. Observant says:

    Dearest Alice…. wanna bet that Justin’s supporters are overwhelmingly female, and the same as when his father Pierre was elected and re-elected by the easily scammed women of the hippie and disco era (1960′s to 70′s) and revived in the 80′s? I know because I was there.

    Women are superficial when making their voting decision, while men are deceived in self-interest. Politicians know this only too well and exploit the masses accordingly.

    Justin smiles a lot and whips his tousled about to all the ooohs and aaahs of the female observers. “Oooh, I could vote for him, aaah.” Get the point?

    Very few women are capable of making an informed voting decision; it’s all about appearance. Men posture and pretend to know but only vote for self-interest and money.

    Of course there are exceptions to my sexist generalizations, but on the whole, I’m confident in my not-misguided assessments. I try to take an asexual pov so that my analysis is untainted… try it…

  11. Observant says:

    Opps.. correction… that should be: “Justin smiles a lot and whips his tousled ‘hair’ about…”

  12. Well, this might be superficial and emotional of me, Observant, but kindly go jump in the lake with those sexist opinions, or I will have to unleash the full force of Michelle Rempel on you.

  13. Nick J "Teddy" Boragina says:

    What justification do you have for calling the Sask NDP leader the next Premier? Wall has won two elections, and usually, after doing so, leaders of unpopular parties step aside (Bernard Landry, Ernie Eves, Roger Grimes, etc) so I’m wondering what the justification for this claim is?

  14. Well, Nick, the NDP doesn’t usually eat its leaders. The Saskatchewan section of the party seems pretty clear that it is picking a leader for the long haul. Brad Wall might indeed win the next election, but sooner or later the Saskatchewan Party is going to lose government, and when they do, it surely won’t be the Saskatchewan Liberal Party that replaces them (not even the Liberals would argue that).

    Hence I assert that the next leader of the Saskatchewan NDP will almost certainly be the next non-Saskatchewan Party premier of Saskatchewan. Don’t tell me a noted “predictor” such as yourself is unable to see beyond current circumstances to the next frame?

  15. George Pringle says:

    Rather than just say I massively disagree with Observant, we should look a Premier who took over a couple of years before an election and made the focus of her campaign women oriented and “Family Friendly” as women would be so helpless to their emotions that they would have to vote for her.

    Of course, the polls show that her support by women has dropped considerably.

  16. Craig says:

    I was aware that Martha Hall Findlay narrowly lost her seat in Willowdale in 2011, but I assumed she was just a victim of the orange wave like many other Liberals in the GTA. I didn’t know she had spent so much time outside the riding or claimed that it was ‘safe’. Where did she say that? If that is the case it was obviously unwise since until the Liberals get back in the game they cannot take any ridings for granted as ‘safe’.

  17. Shadow says:

    Dan Calda i’m interested to hear your thoughts on the specific and weighty policy decisions taken by Mr. Harper on such things as limiting the future increases in medicare transfers to the provinces, matching EI payouts and immigration intake to labour needs, and raising the retirement age to 67.

    It is generally agreed that of all the leaders he has ran against Mr. Harper has advocated the least expansionary fiscal policies.

    There is plenty to criticize.

    What won’t get you anywhere is pretending Harper is a lightweight who lacks a specific body of policy decision making.

    That is, however, one of the most trenchant criticisms leveled against Mr. Trudeau to date.

  18. Craig, Ms. Hall Findlay said it to several people that I’m aware of, who reported it to me. She was also reported to be canvassing in Trinity-Spadina and Parkdale-High Park amongst other ridings during the last election.

  19. Shadow says:

    Alice I think you’re going way, way overboard in calling Martha’s comment “probably career-ending”.

    Realistically the leadership has always been Trudeau’s unless he imploded and to date he has not.

    So unless you think he or his people would hold such a grudge over this comment to not sign her nomination papers in 2015 then i’m not sure what she stood to lose in taking her shot, she certainly needed a game changer.

    However, I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if she pulled a Tony Genco and ran for the PCs in Ontario.

    Or even ran for the CPC in ’15.

    She certainly has been drifting right since the last election and over at Sun News they are loving her attack and running with it …

  20. Mike Burton says:

    The next Premier of Saskatchewan will almost certainly be whomever takes over for Brad Wall as the next leader of the Sask. Party. The person the NDP choose as a leader may or may not eventually be Premier (I’d lean towards may) but coming back will not be easy.

    As for the leadership race, I’m curious about what you think Justin needs to be challenged over? There are certainly too many candidates in the Liberal leadership but I think how the candidates finished, especially after Justin and Marc, will surprise people. The influx of Lead Now/Fair Votes supporters will certainly push Joyce into third, IMO, and may allow her to challenge Marc Garneau. Anyways, it will be interesting to see.

    Thanks for your indepth coverage.

  21. Shadow, I was in the room in Mississauga, and I can tell you that the boos and jeers for Ms. Hall Findlay’s comments were wide-spread and heartfelt, and that the cheer for Trudeau’s response was resounding. She has to win a nomination before her papers can be signed, and right now, people are pretty angry.

    Mike, I’ll defer to you on the timing. My general point is that the Saskatchewan NDP are the alternative governing party in that province, and there are no other pretenders for that throne currently or on the horizon.

    I am not sure what the influence of LeadNow.ca will be on the Liberal leadership race, but I think its eventual impact on the NDP race was less than it claimed, numerically.

  22. Shadow says:

    Alice I don’t dispute that the reaction in the room and after the fact has been extremely negative.

    But possibly career-ending ?

    I remember the Clintons getting extreme blowback for any criticisms they’d make against Obama during the 2008 primary.

    Now, in the fullness of time, it is water under the bridge.

    Heck even attack lines that get replayed non-stop in future ads like Ignatieff telling Dion “we didn’t get it done” are given a pass.

    Leadership races and primaries are moments in time. People say nasty things they don’t really mean but at the time think they do.

    Once everybody stands on stage together all is forgiven.

    Its part of the theater of politics.

    Perhaps this is a case where being in the room wrapped you up in the emotion of the crowd and prevented you from taking the long view on this specific point.

  23. hollinm says:

    Pundit…I agree Brad Wall will not be premier forever but to suggest he will not be premier after the next election shows a lack of understanding of what is happening in Sask. these days. Your political bias was showing when you made the comment. Should have just stuck to the analysis of the moribund NDP which is going nowhere fast in Sask.. Something like the Liberals federally despite the fact the coronation of the man child is at hand.

  24. Nick J "Teddy" Boragina says:

    A few things.

    I note you’ve changed “next premier” to “likely next premier” which is better :P

    Second, I do “Projections” not “Predictions”

    Third, I’ve all but ‘retired’ from that, as nobody seems to care about that sort of thing anymore

    Also, the Saskatchewan NDP ate up it’s last leader, Lingenfelter, though from what I saw of him during the election (blaming the voters for not voting NDP) he did not impress me.

    Lastly, there’s a good chance Wall could win the next election, or even, the next 2.

  25. But I did not SAY “after the next election”, did I. Tou read that in, hollinm. I believe I understand what’s going on right now in Sask perfectly well, thank you. Just don’t put words in my mouth, and we’ll be fine.

  26. Nick, I never changed a word of that sentence, by the way. It always read: “to pick the next provincial leader of the NDP opposition, and likely the next premier of Saskatchewan”.

  27. Edmund O'Connor says:

    Wall will not be around forever. Even his biggest boosters do not ascribe him immortality. Neither is his record unblemished, nor is the Saskatchewan economy going to keep rising on its upward trajectory forever and ever (I suspect Wall betting the farm on potash revenue is something that is going to come and bite him sooner or later). If you add in the fact that the last time Saskatchewan got a new premier without an election was back in 1962 (Woodrow Lloyd), then Alice is being quite reasonable in saying that the *likely* next premier will be whoever leads the NDP. Personally, I can see Wall winning in 2015 (and maybe even 2019, purely because compared to Devine, Wall is much smarter politically), but if the sins of the Saskatchewan Party’s time in power don’t catch up with it eventually, it will be the first time in history.

    I make these comments as someone who worked the last SK election, and someone with more a few contacts on the ground in SK.

    By the way, I will be intrigued to see if the Saskatchewan Party would survive a post-Wall future, as the various components of the party currently in thrall to Wall might well realize that they don’t like other that much. Given its background of being cobbled together out of the ashes of the SK PCs and much of the Liberals, they don’t have much of a common mission in life beyond stopping the NDP.

  28. hollinm says:

    Now Alice you are playing with words. You did say the next premier of Sask. Here is the comment “to pick the next provincial leader of the NDP opposition, and likely the next premier of Saskatchewan”. Full stop. To any thinking person that means the next provincial election. You can’t honestly expect us to think you meant perhaps three elections down the road.

  29. Thank you so much for this well thought out analysis. As a newly resigned public servant, I am “testing the water” when it comes to expressing ones opinion publicly. As a person who has been known to jump into the deep end before understanding what she was getting herself into, I can say I couldn’t be happier. I support Martha but we all know it is a ranked ballot. I think Canadians have a really good chance to relearn to love their Prime Minister and their cabinet once again.

  30. On the Ground in Saskatchewan says:

    Actually, hollinm, most thinking people would NOT necessarily read in “after the next election” as you thoughtlessly did. Indeed, there are many committed New Democrat partisans who are quite convinced the next election is a long shot for the New Democrats, having blown the chance for any real renewal in 2009.

    Alice didn’t say “after the next election.” No literate person can honestly claim she meant “after the next election.

    And yes, to be clear, I’m calling you both unthinking and illiterate.

  31. Edmund O'Connor says:

    Actually, hollinm, I am a thinking person (a BA and MA to my credit) and caught exactly what Alice was saying. First, she was using the qualifier ‘likely’. Second, premiers in Saskatchewan are fond of running for re-election, and often win. There is nothing in Alice’s piece which suggests that the NDP will win the next election. Look at the facts: no other opposition has seats in the legislature to stage a Wildrose-style sweep into power, nor is any likely to at the moment; and that SK has not had a new premier who had not just won an election for over 50 years. Therefore, Alice had ample evidence for her assertion. It’s simple electoral/political logic.

    I think it’s just about possible that Alice is not the one playing with words here.

  32. Shadow says:

    Edmund there is not “ample evidence” or “simple electoral/political logic” to back up Alice’s comment.

    She is at her best when she leaves predicting the future to the hacks who run projections.

    To say the NDP leader is “likely” to be the next premier is a stretch considering there are countless other plausible possibilities involving the retirement/resignation of Mr. Wall.

    Not to meniton the possibility of the retirement/resignation of the NDP leader.

    So barring scandal, sudden death, retirement, transition to a new leader within either party there may or may not be a good chance that the NDP leader will be the next premier.

    But likely ?

    Didn’t know y’all had crystal balls …

  33. Shadow says:

    And since i’ve left a few critical replies i’ll leave off with one more saying how enjoyable this political reporting is.

    Keep up the good work PG !

  34. Craig says:

    To those predicting that Martha Hall Findlay might become a Conservative if she doesn’t win the Liberal leadership, that is premature speculation. She’s a right-of-centre Liberal, yes, and she will be disappointed not to be leader, but crossing the floor would be unlikely.

    Findlay only narrowly lost in 2011 and only has to do slightly better next time to win back Willowdale. She also could damage her credibility by becoming a Conservative because she might end up being mistrusted by the electorate. Only a small number of people are able to successfully get re-elected after they change parties – Scott Brison is one of the few to do it. Others like Tony Genco and Wajid Khan have not been as fortunate.

  35. hshields says:

    How much traction is the federal Liberal leadership race getting? Can you compare it to say the NDP race that happened last year? Can you compare it to card-carrying members v. the general public. I see the federal race consistently the third or fourth story on evening news telecasts – is this an accurate representation of the general interest in this race?

  36. chg says:

    hshields, for the 3rd party still a couple months away from the leadership vote, it seems to me that they are getting quite a bit of press. I expect it will ramp up close to the vote. But, I don’t have anything quantitative and it would be interesting to know how it compares to last years NDP race.

  37. David Young says:

    I see that George Takach has withdrawn from the campaign, and announced his support for Trudeau.

    The first of others?

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