Monday, June 27, 2011

How the parties stack up on experience

After their stunning electoral breakthrough, the New Democrats now have four years to prove to Canadians they are a legitimate government-in-waiting. But an analysis of the governmental experience of the NDP caucus shows they lag well behind their two main rivals in the House of Commons.

You can read the rest of the article on The Globe and Mail website here. There is also an excerpt and infographic in the print edition this morning.

With the filibuster that ended late on Saturday, the parliamentary experience of the parties has certainly gone up a notch. But what I think this piece highlights is how the Liberals have been reduced to mainly their core MPs. Whenever you see a shot of the party in the House of Commons, you usually see Ralph Goodale, Stéphane Dion, Scott Brison, Carolyn Bennett, etc. all in the same frame. If they are to rebuild the party, they do have a foundation of experience.

As the New Democrats have never formed government at the federal level before, they will always be an inexperienced governmental party until they do form government. While this will be new to Canada, which has been governed by Liberals or Conservatives since Confederation, every country has gone through this at some point or another. Labour formed government in the United Kingdon for many decades of the 20th century, but that first Labour government after World War I was a shock to the system.

I also have an article in The Hill Times this morning. Though you need a subscription, you can read it here or buy it on the newsstands in Ottawa. It focuses on the NDP in Quebec, comparing the recent Léger poll to the unreleased regional and demographic breakdowns of the last Léger poll conducted in Quebec just days before the last election.

16 comments:

  1. Did you not include Judy Foote as one of the Liberal MPs with provincial cabinet experience? She spent 7 years in cabinet between 1996 and 2003.

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  2. Right you are, will fix.

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  3. You list is missing a good chunk of caucus. "Caucus" technically included both members and senators, and once you add the senate, Liberal numbers go way up.

    Off the top of my head: Sen. Callbeck was the Premier of PEI, Senator Smith was Trudeau’s Minister of Small Business and Tourism, and Senator Art Eggleton held a bunch of top-level ministerial portfolios for Chretien, including Treasury, Infrastructure, and Defence. I think Senator Joyal was also a Minister of State back in the day.

    I suspect there are more on both sides of the Senate.

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  4. We could say this of every Opposition - check the record of Harper's Ministers circa Jan 2006.

    But experience does not equal good govt. Many experienced Govts are turfed out. In the last election many experienced BLOC and Liberal MPs were replaced - some in ridings where they had long held (experience). The new crop of NDPers were there participating in the filibuster debate and they did a stand-up job under the circumstances.

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  5. "The new crop of NDPers were there participating in the filibuster debate and they did a stand-up job under the circumstances."

    Really? I never watched much of it but from what I heard from pundits many of the new Dippers spoke horribly and embaressed themselves.

    The Liberals will soon be seen as the Official Opposition, just like Joe Clark and the PCs were in the 1990's.

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  6. One feels that in fact "experience" may be overrated?

    Firstly the Govt has to rely on the civil servants to keep things running and they don't change if a Govt changes.

    Secondly when Govt's change there is a period of time during which the governing party and the civil service work out how things get done and what changes are to be made.

    The real place where "experience" comes in is in crafting legislation to do some specific thing. That's where "time served" has it's biggest affect !!

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  7. "The Liberals will soon be seen as the Official Opposition, just like Joe Clark and the PCs were in the 1990's. "

    I beg your pardon? The Tories never did better than 5th place after the 1993 massacre. Joe Clark led them in just the 2000 election and they took 12 seats - behind the NDP with 13 seats and way behind the BQ and the Canadian Alliance" as well.

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  8. I watched a great deal of the debate as an interested party; internet small business AND retired letter carrier. The new New Democrats did a wonderful job. I think many of the old fogies on the Con side embarrassed themselves. With all their life experience, they should have been able to string a few coherent sentences together for debate rather than spout party talking points and spin. AND speaking of the Harper side, what a generational contrast to the NDP ... it's obvious where the future will be. Let's see the rookies in four years time.

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  9. "Let's see the rookies in four years time. "

    Yes indeed. Had sort of ignored/missed that but it is a very good point.

    Meanwhile the Tories continue to age and some of their spokespeople are even more annoying than they were before the election !!

    However it seems Eric, we've lost Polievre and I really can't cry over that ??

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  10. What do you mean, Poilievre was re-elected.

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  11. Yes he was re-elected BUT !!

    He lost the job as PMO Spo0kesperson !!

    Has to be good IMO !!

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  12. He's still a parliamentary secretary to the transport minister. Dean Del Maestro is now the parliamentary secretary to the Prime Minister.

    But who knows, maybe Poilievre wanted a less grueling job. Or maybe this was to give him some preparation for a real cabinet minister portfolio in the future.

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  13. What I had heard via the grapevine is that he managed to piss off a number of high ranking Tories and this is a disciplinary action !!

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  14. "I beg your pardon? The Tories never did better than 5th place after the 1993 massacre. Joe Clark led them in just the 2000 election and they took 12 seats - behind the NDP with 13 seats and way behind the BQ and the Canadian Alliance" as well."

    Joe Clark was ranked as the most effective opposition leader, and likely just to annoy other parties Chretien would refer to him as the Leader of the Official Opposition.

    Just because a party is larger doesn't mean they'll be more effective. There's likely more people within the Liberals who are allowed to talk then within the NDP.

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  15. Anon what old foggies on the Tory side are you talking about ?

    This issue was handled by young mother Lisa Raitt. Its clear woman like her are the future.

    You need some smarts in politics. Ruth Ellen Brousseau was just brutal up there !

    CTV's Question Period journalist panel gave Raitt big props for making a hardline position sound very reasonable.

    Labour Minister was seen as a demotion after her "sexy" troubles at Natural Resources.

    After he amazing job with these issues its clear she's back on track to being a major power player. Expect her to be moved to a more serious role in 2 years time !

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  16. "I beg your pardon? The Tories never did better than 5th place after the 1993 massacre. Joe Clark led them in just the 2000 election and they took 12 seats - behind the NDP with 13 seats and way behind the BQ and the Canadian Alliance" as well."

    I think what 3rd Anonymous meant was that they'll be a more effective opposition, albeit not "official" and on the subject of Joe Clark and the PC's during the '90's, Bloc was a party of Quebec, Reform/Alliance was a party of the west, PC's were a national party. I think we'll see the same happen this time around. NDP has become the new mouthpiece for Quebec. yes, the NDP have seats in Atlantic Canada, Ontario, and the West but if they didn'y have Quebec behind them, they'd be no where. What'll happen if Quebec and Newfoundland get in a fight again? I think the 59 Quebeckers will outweigh the 2 NLers at caucus meetings. And what'll happen during a Quebec provincial election? Will the NDP support the Liberals? (the only federalist choice) Or will they support seperatist parties? (PQ, ADQ, Quebec Solidaire). These next 4 years will be very interesting...

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