Friday, June 01, 2012

Mulcair The "Statesman"

Mulcair's rushed visit to the oilsands has served him well. While the polls remain firm- even downright extraordinary in a historic sense for the NDP- there is no doubt the quickly planned visit to Alberta was part a realization of particular problematic themes developing. We are in the midst of a complicated debate, how that discussion evolves will determine whether Mulcair's "gambit" as I've called is an electoral success or an albatross. If Mulcair can confine the debate to an economic discussion, intervowen into environmental realities, I actually see a supportive constituency. However, if we are reduced to bombast and insult, then Mulcair will look the divisive loose cannon, a practical threat to Canadian unity. Should this unity question be the dominant path, then this issue is a loser all day long for the NDP, of that I have little doubt.

I would categorize Mulcair's visit to the oilsands a complete success. I watched most of Mulcair's presser and came away thoroughly impressed by the tone, this is the pocket he must remain within for his arguments to pierce through the counter fear mongering:
Mr. Mulcair was more statesman than firebrand in his whirlwind tour of Edmonton and Fort McMurray...
And herein lies the gist of the issues swirling around. If Mulcair belittles Premier's with reckless rhetoric, raises the temperature, he will get lost in muck and never look Prime Minister in waiting. If Mulcair makes his points, patiently, in measured tones, intellectual concerns articulated reasonably, then he will resonate. I thought Mulcair looked quite firm and confident, while many may disagree with his position, he appears a man with the courage of his convictions, a trait which can serve him well.

People will note, that Mulcair has moved away from the "dutch disease" angle, not shying away, but the emphasis is more environmental sustainability, upholding existing federal laws and polluter pay. Of course, this isn't a change per se, Mulcair has spoke on this topics repeatedly. But, there is more nuance now in how this argument is presented, something that was sorely lacking a couple weeks ago when Mulcair was shooting from the hip like a political amateur. Reasonable people see the reason behind his concerns, juxtaposed with a government who is so one sided in its vision, Mulcair is probably closer to the majority.

I have to hand it to the NDP brain trust, they've handled this controversy quite well. Getting Mulcair out to Alberta in quick fashion, using more diplomatic language and a bit of message reframe have served him well moving forward. The tour isn't about winning over the oil sands lobby, the Conservatives base, it's about looking rational and principled to the moderate middle. In this regard, watching how Mulcair handled this visit, I'd say this tour was an unqualified success.

13 comments:

John Prince said...

Excellent post and summary. I totally agree with what you say and believe a four year wait before Mulcair can take the helm is way to long.

Steve W said...

So when are you gonna abandon the HMCS Fumble and come join the crew on the winning team? ;-)

Chris said...

Great post. I think Mulcair's debate on the sustainable development might be a gambit, but it has the potential to grow the NDPs base to the size it needs to be to form government. The key is keeping the focus on the economy, and not just the environment.

Dame said...

I am no Mulcair fun BUT he did this whole thing in a First class way and expect him now really lead ...

Tomm said...

Steve,

Conrad Black had this to say about Thomas Mulcair:

"...For a federal leader such as Thomas Mulcair to turn on one region of the country he seeks to lead, and excoriate Alberta’s prosperity as if Canada were a zero-sum game and Alberta’s wealth were wrung from the sweat of the faces of Quebecers, was as shabby a piece of demagogic hypocrisy as I have seen from any politician in this country. And I have been following these things closely since the piping days of Maurice Duplessis, W.A.C. Bennett, and Joey Smallwood."

I happen to agree with him.

liberal supporter said...

Yes, Conrad Black is always classy. He is above the usual nazi lover accusations our unimaginative CPC is so enamored of making.

Instead, he is like the silver tongued pitch man who regales you with tales of great import while your wallet is surreptitiously and often blatantly emptied.

Note my use of metaphor, to render litigation proof any criticism of the Lord.

Mulcair, meanwhile, is forcing the CPC and the currently cowed Ottawa pundits into debating, instead of their usual masturbating, over actual issues. It could well be that the Dutch disease phenomenon is not in play here, but there is certainly reason to consider it. Considering is what our leaders are supposed to do. The current ones don't.

I don't like Mulcair, but who else is actually debating, instead of simply trying to shout down and shame anyone who disagrees?

Please tell us all about how Meany Mulcair once referred to some premiers as Harper's messengers, and then explain how this is 10 times worse than every insult the virtuous Harperites have hurled at, well, just about everyone for the last 6 years.

Steve V said...

Wow, someone outside of the media who cares what Conrad Black has to say. Who knew.

Tomm said...

Thomas Mulcair is happily willing to rip this country apart for the sake of political power.

Are you willing to support that, just to get your revenge on Harper?

Steve V said...

You've been supporting that for over six years you stupid hypocrite. Honest to goodness, you people can turn yourselves into pathetic knots for dear Leader.

Tomm said...

Harper has been ripping this country apart?

In what way?

His comments about all regions, while Prime Minister, have been very temperate.

He was the one that apologized to aboriginal Canadian's about the residential schools. He was the one that proposed that Quebec was a nation within Canada. He also supported Quebec's insistence on a fiscal imbalance and has stayed out of dabbling in provincial jurisdictions.

Just because you don't like his political programs doesn't mean he has been mean spirited and specifically hurtful to any region.

He has been hurtful to his political adversaries, and has a social agenda that is being designed to make adults less dependent on government.

Don't confuse the two.

Steve V said...

You live in a dreamworld. Yawn.

liberal supporter said...

No, Tomm is right, Harper has been even handed to all of Canada. He hates all of it, and intends to make us all dependent on the voluntary largesse of his corporate buddies, instead of having a social system from a government elected by all of us. We literally won't recognize Canada after he's done, just as he's said he would do. Some will thrive and be the poster children for Harperism. Others will die and it will be forbidden to speak of them or to criticize the Harper Government. I'm sure we'd have received a heartfelt apology for the massive bank bailouts and losses had we followed his economic wisdom and deregulated the banks as he demanded for so long. After apologizing for residential schools, he sends a third party manager into Attawapiskat. I suppose he feels the residential education was so bad, the aboriginals couldn't possibly be trusted to manage their affairs.

Mulcair is pointing out economic problems caused by greed trying to socialize the losses caused by unbridled oilsands development. By demanding polluters pay, instead of the rest of the nation, Mulcair is in fact nation building. While Harper is simply building a police state.

Tomm said...

Liberal Supporter has it somewhat accurate.

Harper is a clear capitalist. He also is quite unhapy with our "red tape" wrapped environmental laws. He is a little bit of a libertarian.

He seems to be supportive of social programming where it supports children and families, but not so much for adults, who he expects to support themselves. He has been dismantling what some conservative's have called the "Nanny State".

I am shocked that you think Chief Theresa Spence was actually competent? From which media report did it appear to you that she was either competent and/or not feathering her own nest? Her people were living in appalling conditions and at no point did I ever see her show something she had done anything significant to alleviate it. It was just blame, blame, blame.

In regards to Mulcair being a nation builder, how does picking regional scapegoats do that? He clearly said that our petro dollar was hollowing out our economy. He was actually just mimicking Brian Topp, so with all candor, it appears to be an NDP problem. He also clearly personally insulted the 3 western most premiers.

You would prefer this man leading our government?