Attacks on federal NDP come fast and furious

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As soon as it was clear that the NDP had ousted the Liberals as official opposition to the federal government in the House of Commons, the media decided that the NDP were the enemy of the people.

First, it was the attack on the NDP for having such inexperienced candidates running for office, who won seats no less. Second, it was another attack for having a Anglo-phone candidate running in a predominantly French speaking constituency in Quebec – and wasn’t well spoken in the local French language. Now the attack is based on an allegation that she may have submitted falsified nomination papers…apparently, one of the locals wasn’t able to tell the difference between an electoral nomination form and a petition. Although it is a serious allegation, and if true, the winning NDP member could be disqualified from her seat and a by-election called.

The media played a central role in electing Jack Layton’s NDP to the opposition bench. They were soft on the NDP, hard on the Liberals, and fairly soft on the Conservative. They played along with Stephen Harper’s strategy to destroy the Liberals…too effectively. The NDP were in striking distance of winning the election – winning 30% to the Tories 39.5%, any more of a shift from the Liberals could have produced an NDP led minority government.

But back to the attack on the inexperienced NDP candidates. I remember when the Reform Party was elected in western Canada in 1993. Western Canada sent 53 Reform MP’s to Ottawa, and many of them had absolutely no experience in electoral politics. One of them was Nanaimo-Cowichan MP, Bob Ringma. This MP’s claim to fame was his comment in a media interview about how he felt it would be justified for a business owner to ‘move to the back of the shop..’ or fire any black or gay employee that the shop owner felt were offensive to a bigoted client.

Bob Ringma only lasted one term, he was replaced by MP Reed Elley for Nanaimo-Cowichan. The point is that the massive win by a new party, or the stunning growth of a party that had little success previously was bound to have some inexperienced candidates who probably didn’t think they’d win.

And given the xenophobic, racist comments by some of the more outspoken Reform MP’s as rookies, I’d gladly take the innocent inexperience of a new, young MP who will learn the job properly.