NDP sets two nomination meeting dates as Conservative deadline approaches
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With the Liberals formalizing their selection of former Viau MNA Emmanuel Dubourg in Bourassa riding over the weekend, the nominated tallies are now 2 Greens and 1 Liberal across 4 vacant federal ridings. But that's about to change this weekend, with the Toronto Centre NDP and Liberals both picking their candidates Sunday, as the deadline for Conservative nominations looms tomorrow and the NDP set another two meeting dates in Brandon-Souris and Bourassa.
Here's the latest round-up of by-election news, working from east to west.
A room of 200-250 older Liberal Party members met Sunday to endorse the widely-expected candidacy of Trudeau ally Emmanuel Dubourg. The now-resigned provincial MNA cut a charming figure as he effortlessly worked the room of older italian and french residents, and younger Haitian professionals. Dubourg drew a warm reception for addressing the crowd in italian, as well as french, english and creole. His decisive win over lawyer and first-time nomination candidate Joseph Di Iorio was greeted with a phone call from Liberal leader Justin Trudeau while Dubourg was still giving his victory speech, followed by a cacaphony of kazoos and vuvuzelas forming a receiving line off the stage. In a scrum afterwards, Dubourg gave well-prepared answers to questions about the severance controversy, and was non-committal when asked whether it was appropriate for Trudeau as a federal leader from Québec to comment on the Québec values charter issue. Trudeau visited the riding Tuesday, appearing with Dubourg at a news conference to open his campaign headquarters and react to the release of the charter.
|Emmanuel DUBOURG||ELECTED – Former Viau MNA, Haitian emigré||Profile|
|Joseph A. DI IORIO||Lawyer practising in QC and ON|
No vote totals were released, but Dubourg won a substantial majority of the 193 votes cast. There had been 412 eligible members on the list as of the cut-off at 5 PM on Monday, August 12, but canvassing was said to have identified many of them as being octogenarians, I was told.
A drop-in visit on our way home to Green Party candidate Georges Laraque's campaign headquarters, located across from "Parc Ottawa" on Saint-Michel, revealed a few experienced organizers and a coterie of volunteers spending Sunday evening on campaign preparations. The party started seriously researching and thinking about a bid for him in Bourassa last spring in the expectation of an earlier call, and decided mid-summer to press their early nomination advantage, given the demonstrated profile of their candidate in the riding. Laraque, they found, has strengths other Green candidates might not for the party. But if his first leaflet is anything to go by, the environment issue itself is not one of them, for it contains not a single word on that subject, choosing to emphasize job insecurity, thinking big, and being a role model for young people instead. Leader Elizabeth May is scheduled to be in the riding September 27 and 28.
|Georges LARAQUE||Former NHL player, Deputy Green leader||@GeorgesLaraque||Page|
Late last week, I also attended a "Café-Causerie" event put on by NDP nomination candidate Larry Rousseau – sort of the ultimate round-table discussion where the whole room was asked to sit in a circle to have a dialogue with the candidate. I'm not a big process person myself, but Rousseau was able to engage many of 40 or so residents in a back and forth with him and others in the circle, billing himself as a "rassembleur" (an adjective that also surfaced in Dubourg's speech on Sunday), in search of "common solutions" for the riding. Though recently an Ottawa resident, Rousseau has lived more of his life in Québec, his campaign says, and he demonstrated a good familiarity with the community organizations active in the riding over the course of the evening, no doubt the result of his having worked the riding actively the last four months or so.
A reception the week earlier hosted by lawyer and musician Stéphane Moraille revealed a candidate with a dynamic personality, and the support of several more caucus members. Julie Demers also launched a Facebook page late last week, and is having a campaign launch event this coming Thursday at 3 PM.
The NDP has just scheduled its nomination meeting for Wednesday, September 25. Following the 14-day membership cut-off rule in the federal party's Québec wing, that puts the close of membership sign-ups at midnight Wednesday, September 11.
|Larry ROUSSEAU||PSAC Reg VP, long-time StatsCan emp||@larryrousseau||Profile, Page|
|Mario LECLERC||PSAC Staff Rep||@007Leclerc||Profile|
|Stéphane MORAILLE||Lawyer, musician/singer||@S_Moraille||Profile, Page|
|Julie DEMERS||2011 NDP candidate in Bourassa||@TweetJewels||Profile. Page|
Still no word from the Bloc Québécois or Conservatives, though Gazette columnist Don Macpherson has come to the same tentative conclusions as the NDP about the possible implications of a weak Bloc performance in the riding.
Toronto Centre, ON
We now know that the Green Party found a candidate the week it opened up nominations, and one that fits with the Media Party mantle this riding is starting to assume. Former Toronto Star reporter John Deverell was handing out flyers at the Cabbagetown Festival last weekend announcing his candidacy, and advocating a Green vote as the best way to bring about a more representative system of government, urging voters to "forget the Senate babble". Deverell has taken an interesting path through various political parties over the years. Originally a member of the Waffle, he left the NDP to join the Toronto Star as a labour reporter, and was a founding treasurer of the advocacy organization Fair Vote Canada, which advocates for electoral reform, especially forms of proportional representation. Later on Deverell supported the Green Party, while simultaneously advocating against vote-splitting as one of the originator of the strategic voting group "Catch-22". Subsequently he joined the Liberal Party to support the leadership candidacy of Joyce Murray, serving on the Pickering-Scarborough East EDA executive. This candidacy marks a return back to the Green Party for Deverell.
|John DEVERELL||Former journalist, democratic reform activist, lives in Pickering||@Dev4TOCentre||Page|
The Conservatives had a tent at that Cabbagetown Festival, but no evidence of candidates beyond Geoff Pollock. As with the two Manitoba ridings, Pollock reported on Twitter that nominations in Toronto Centre would be closing on September 11, and indeed he couriered his nomination package to party headquarters on Monday, after running into a few of his potential opponents over the weekend (left, under an obviously *very* big orange tent at the Cabbagetown Festival Saturday; and, right, at the Day of the Homeless on Tuesday).
While there's no evidence of another Conservative here, that doesn't mean there isn't one in the wings, I'm told. I guess we'll see Wednesday at 5 PM Eastern.
|Geoff POLLOCK||Lawyer, Churchill devoté||@geoffpollock||Profile|
The three Liberal candidates will be appearing at a meet and greet with the Ontario Liberal Women's Commission this coming Wednesday, which could entice me down to Toronto for a quick visit before returning on the weekend for the Liberal and NDP nomination meetings. Also meeting and greeting both Tuesday and Wednesday are the three NDP nomination candidates, Tuesday with the U of T New Democrats, and Wednesday at the behest of their riding association executive. I ran down the itinerary of the two parties' nomination meetings in my last post.
Chrystia Freeland's campaign got a boost from former MPP George Smitherman, who sandwiched in an afternoon canvass session with his newly-endorsed favourite in Regent Park, between trips away. We are all hoping for the best possible outcome in the case of Smitherman's husband Christopher Peloso, who police confirm has been missing for the past 24 hours.
Meanwhile Diana Burke picked up new endorsements from former Royal Bank executive Charles Coffey and – no surprise to anyone who's heard him on SunTV's Battleground – former John Turner aide Ray Heard.
|Todd ROSS||Former Smitherman aide||@tejross||Page|
|Diana BURKE||Former IT exec at RBC, Jamaican emigré||@TeamDianaBurke||Page|
|Chrystia FREELAND||Journalist, editor, Alberta-born Rhodes scholar||@cafreeland||Page|
There's been some griping in Liberal circles about the retroactive membership cut-off and the number of memberships left hanging in the balance as a result – estimated to be as many as 400 or more. The federal party is left in an awkward situation, because they have to follow the existing rules, notwithstanding changes to the rules they anticipate to be adopted at their next convention. I'm told that – short of by-elections – the party will not be lifting its nomination freeze until at least January of 2014, so that future nominations can be held under these new regulations.
|Jennifer HOLLETT||Former Much VJ, CBC/CTV journo, Harvard MPA||@JenniferHollett||Profile|
|Linda McQUAIG||Toronto Star columnist, author||@LindaMcQuaig||Page|
|Susan GAPKA||Housing and trans rights LBGTT activist||@SusanGapka||Profile|
With Conservative nominations closing Wednesday, Ted Falk is looking likely to be acclaimed the government's standard-bearer here. Terry Hayward remains unchallenged to date for the Liberal nomination, and no names have surfaced for either the NDP or Greens.
|Ted FALK||Business owner, credit union pres||Profile|
|Terry HAYWARD||Retired public servant, ex-farm org pres, lives in Anola||@TerryHaywardMB||Profile|
The day after our last look in to Brandon, a new Liberal nomination candidate emerged to challenge Rolf Dinsdale. Frank Godon has had an interesting and varied background from serving as a US Marine, to teaching Canadian aboriginal culture in St. Petersburg, Russia, to running for president of the Manitoba Métis Federation, to operating a restaurant in Killarney. Godon, a Métis who was raised in the Turtle Mountains and lives in Boissevain, MB 15-minutes north of the US border, calls himself a fiscal conservative and social liberal who wants to move his party "back to the centre", as he told the Brandon Sun. No indication when the Liberals will close nominations here, or hold their nomination meeting.
|Rolf DINSDALE||Media exec (Walrus, Facebook, Blue Ant Media), political family from Brandon||@RolfDinsdale||Profile, Page|
|Frank GODON||Former teacher & US Marine, Métis heritage, lives in Boissevain||@FrankGodon||Profile, Page|
Meanwhile, the NDP has now fixed its nomination meeting date for Thursday, October 17, putting it in the middle of the Commons Thanksgiving week break (assuming the House reconvenes by then), and giving nomination candidates John Bouché and Cory Szczepanski another week to sell memberships before the September 17 30-day cut-off.
|Cory SZCZEPANSKI||Welder, Labour Council pres (USWA), lives in Wawanesa||@Corythewelder||Profile|
|John BOUCHÉ||Op. Eng, Union Staff rep (Teamsters), Thompson MB-born, ran 2008-11||Profile|
And Conservative candidates Chris Kennedy, Len Isleifson and Larry Maguire will be selling memberships down to the wire Wednesday at 5 PM local-time, for a meeting to be held at least 21 days later.
|Chris KENNEDY||Tweed's former EA, Souris-born||@ChrisKennedy2|
|Len ISLEIFSON||Brandon Ward 9 councillor, Brandon-raised||@LenIsleifson||Profile, Page|
|Larry MAGUIRE||Arthur-Virden MLA, Souris-born, lives in Virden||@LarryMaguire4MP||Page|
No Green candidate as yet, though I hear the party is closer to finding one here than in Provencher.
Let's update the readiness table from a few weeks ago, to see where the parties are across the four ridings.
|Bourassa, QC||Sept 25 meeting with 4-way contest||Deputy leader appointed candidate July 9||Dubourg wins Sept 8 2-way contest||–||Leader has ruled out a run for himself|
|Toronto Centre, ON||Sept 15 meeting with 3-way contest||Deverell named candidate Sept 9||Sept 15 meeting with 3-way contest||1 declared candidate; nominations close Sept 11|
|Provencher, MB||–||–||1 declared candidate||1 declared candidate; nominations close Sept 11|
|Brandon-Souris, MB||Oct 17 meeting with 2-way contest||–||2-way contest||3-way contest; nominations close Sept 11|
That's all the federal by-election news for now, but stay tuned for a Nova Scotia version of the Pundits' Guide database, due out later this week.