To Mulcair or Not to Mulcair?
That was the burning question being asked to the nearly 1800 delegates at the NDP Federal Convention in Edmonton this past weekend. Despite campaigning for change in the federal election, it turns out Mulcair was not the change the party had in mind. After a long speech by Mulcair aimed at convincing the party he was still the man for the job, the delegates voted 52% in favor of holding a leadership race to replace their leader.
The results were seen as a bit of a surprise since many party members, including Mulcair, had anticipated a better result. However, following the results Mulcair came back to address the crowd where he stated: "The only thing that’s important is that we leave here united." The defeated leader also confirmed that he will be staying on as party leader until a successor is chosen within the next 24 months.
How Did This Happen?
The results, as surprising as they were, clearly show a party divided. Such a division has likely been growing since the federal election in October. It was during this election that Mulcair and the NDP lost over half their seats and fell to third place when many had anticipated they would win the election and form the first ever NDP federal government. Such a disappointing result after so much hope is bound to create a divide amongst party members who now must decide which direction the party should go in order to stay relevant and competitive in the next election.
Some NDP members are pushing for the party to move further left on the political spectrum and have been urging the party to adopt what has been referred to as the Leap Manifesto. This proposed policy encourages a more drastic approach to such things as aboriginal issues and climate change, including a shift away from non-renewable resources altogether. The majority of delegates voted to debate the manifesto's ideas and proposals further in the future while other delegates (mainly from AB and SK) spoke openly against such a policy change, once again highlighting the ongoing divide within the party and the uncertainty that lay ahead.
I'm a Rock Star
Although he didn't say this exactly, I'm sure this is what Saskatchewan Premier, Brad Wall, was thinking after winning re-election by a landslide in the province's election last Monday. Wall and the Saskatchewan Party obtained 63% of the vote which awarded them 51 of the 61 legislative seats available. The remaining 10 seats were won by the NDP party which received a total of 30% of the vote. This is Wall's third consecutive majority win in the province as he remains the most popular premier in the country (according to recent polls).
After continuously calling out the Conservative Government and Stephen Harper for being anything but transparent, it would appear Justin Trudeau is now being secretive. In fact, the Parliamentary Budget Office (the independent group responsible for ensuring tax dollars are spent appropriately) called out the Liberal Government last week on its website. According to the online statement, the recently released Liberal budget is missing crucial data and doesn't quite add up when the numbers are crunched. It would seem as though the government purposely underestimated economic growth to the point of "excess" in the eyes of the PBO who also claimed the government was refusing to hand over the missing data.
After several days of negative publicity, the federal government finally handed over the requested data to the PBO. Unfortunately for the Liberals, the additional information did nothing but create even further confusion and prompted more questions. According to the PBO, the budget is still lacking clarity and appears to scale back major funding each year for programs such as those associated with providing breaks for the middle class. Without any explanation as to why certain programs are being scaled back over the next few years, it makes it very hard to understand exactly what the government has planned. It is hoped that the questions will be answered soon before the Trudeau Government starts to be seen as no more transparent than the government that preceded it.
In Other News...
A Former MP is Off to Jail
Yup, former parliamentary secretary to the prime minister and Conservative MP Dean Del Mastro was sentenced to one month in prison and 4 months house arrest for overspending in the 2008 federal election. The former MP was found guilty of violating the Canada Elections Act including exceeding spending limits, failing to report a personal contribution of $21,000 to his campaign, and for knowingly submitting a falsified document. Del Mastro will also have to pay $10,000 to the Peterborough Electoral District Association and serve a further 18 months of probation after his release.
If you still feel Dean deserves a second chance, you're in luck! He has only been banned from running for office for five years and can begin a new campaign in 2021.
A Current MP Wants to Stop the Shooting
Conservative MP for South Surrey–White Rock, Dianne Watts, has proposed a rather unique idea to help stop the ongoing gun violence occurring in her constituency. Watts has suggested that mothers be able to turn in their kids' guns to police without either party facing charges. She hopes that by ensuring the children will not face criminal charges, their mothers will be more likely to turn in their weapons once found. The proposal comes at a time where Surrey has seen over 30 shootings in just the past 3 months alone.
Thanks for reading.