Lose the Beard

On January 1st, many greet the New Year armed with a resolution meant to improve themselves. As people are creatures of habit they often fail, but there is surely merit in recognizing where you can improve.

In that spirit, I decided to start this year with resolution ideas for each of Canada’s three main national political parties. Greens you’re great, you do you.

Though a dedicated partisan I offer these ideas sincerely, in keeping with my own resolution to be more charitable. First up, the NDP and advice that feels more merciful than charitable.

The NDP’s New Year’s hangover began early, sometime around October 20th last year. They entered the election leading the polls, and perhaps got a little drunk on the prospect of finally forming government. All before enduring a disastrous walk of shame on election day. It is likely 2015 is a year they would like to forget. That’s fine, if they remember who was in charge, and make their New Year’s resolution choosing a new leader.

Mr. Mulcair took an official opposition leading in the polls, with an overwhelming number of the electorate wanting a change in government, and managed to lose the election and half his caucus. He also probably lost the best chance the NDP will have to govern for some time, but let’s stick with the tangible for now. The sheer totality of the failure Mr. Mulcair oversaw warrants his removal. Frankly, I would think it warrants his resignation but apparently he disagrees.

Die hard dippers, may console themselves in the notion they were outflanked on the left by the Liberals. Except that’s not exactly true. They opened their left flank to the Liberals with a centrist campaign. The balanced budget commitment created daylight between the two parties that had been less visible before. For a party which had never won federally it may have been good strategy to go moderate, except for one problem. Two, actually.

The same strategy failed, twice, just the year before. The Ontario NDP, and Olivia Chow, tried to be the progressive choice while running a moderate campaign and failed. It makes following the same approach a year later a baffling decision and for the man responsible, an unforgivable one.

It was the late Jack Layton, not Thomas Mulcair, who first sat as Leader of the Opposition for the NDP. If it had been, that achievement could balance this failure and you could make a better case for Mulcair staying. However it wasn’t.

Mulcair was chosen to finish what Layton began for the NDP. He not only failed but left the party worse off, with their caucus and outstanding parliamentarians like Peter Stoffer, and Megan Leslie in his wake.

That there may be no obvious replacement for Mr. Mulcair is irrelevant. Replacing Mulcair as leader, will make 2016 infinitely more successful for the NDP than 2015 was.

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