Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Ashton, Dewar, and Paillé pick up new endorsements

Manitoba is putting its weight behind two candidates for the race to be the next New Democratic leader, though that hasn't changed the breakdown of the three frontrunners, while the Bloc Québécois moves into the final days of its leadership campaign.

Niki Ashton is this week's big mover, as she has picked up the endorsement of a smattering of Manitoba MLAs (including her father) as well as the MP for Joliette, Francine Raynault. Ashton has jumped up 7.5 points in the endorsement rankings, now giving her a total of 17.5 points, or 4.0% of the total. She has moved from seventh to fifth in the rankings.

Paul Dewar is also up this week, thanks to more endorsements from the Manitoba NDP. He also picked up the endorsement of Catherine Bell, former NDP MP from British Columbia. This puts him up 5.5 points for a total of 16, or 3.6% of the total. He is still in sixth.

Also moving this week but not due to any new endorsements is Robert Chisholm. The Nova Scotia MLAs who endorsed him along with their premier, Darrell Dexter, have been added to the endorsement rankings. This does not move Chisholm from fourth, but gives him an extra 4.5 points for 4.4% of the total.

Moving downwards is Nathan Cullen, who has dropped from fifth place to seventh in the endorsement rankings.

These are small movements when taking into account the gap that exists between the top tier candidates (Brian Topp, Thomas Mulcair, and Peggy Nash) and the second tier candidates. With the endorsement of Pierre Ducasse (who I haven't added to the rankings, as he doesn't fit into any of the categories), Nash is looking like a good compromise candidate if the party splits between Topp and Mulcair.

Chisholm, Ashton, Dewar, and Cullen look to be the second tier candidates, with Chisholm getting much of the Atlantic Canada vote, Ashton and Dewar the Manitoba vote, and Cullen some of the British Columbian vote. This puts Ashton and Dewar at a disadvantage, as they appear to be fishing the same pond, though Dewar is likely to get more Canada-wide support as well.

There has also been a little movement in the race for the Bloc Québécois leadership. The last debate was held last night, and for all intents and purposes the campaign is as good as over. The deadline for submitting the mail-in ballot is Monday.

The only change this week is Daniel Paillé's pick-up of former MP Raynald Blais. This might seem relatively mundane, but it is a more important endorsement than it appears at first glance.

Blais was the MP for Gaspésie - Iles-de-la-Madeleine before the 2011 election, and he also had the good sense to resign before the debacle. He doesn't have the stigma of having been rejected by the voters, but more importantly he is a former MP from the Gaspésie, the same region as Jean-François Fortin. The Gaspésie is a close-knit community, so for Blais to opt for the Montreal-based Paillé rather than a fellow Gaspesian is not insignificant.

(Click here for a description of the point system, and here for a breakdown on how points are assigned.)

But though the Bloc Québécois race is coming to an end, the New Democratic race is just getting started. The first debate is scheduled for next month and attention is going to turn from these preliminary maneuvers to the nitty-gritty. It should be an interesting contest.


  1. Nikki Ashton probably ran for leadership knowing she could have backing of many in the Manitoba NDP. I believe her father is also a provincial MLA, so that may help with her race.

    I'm surprised that only a few Ontario MPs and MPPs endorsed a candidate so far. Politicians from B.C. and Manitoba are very quick to back a candidate.

    - Maple

  2. I still don't quite understand the consistent claim that Mulcair and Topp are the official front runners. They may have had some top supporters, but look on social media, look on the ground, the grassroots seem to be in Peggy and Paul's corners.

  3. "...but look on social media, look on the ground, the grassroots seem to be in Peggy and Paul's corners."

    That may be true, however, given that most of the NDP seats are in La Belle Province, how do you think Paul Dewar, a man who doesn't speak French, or at least, not enough to maintain Quebec support? He wouldn't be able to communicate effectively with them, that's for sure. Otherwise, he's a great candidate.

    Peggy Nash, who is bilingual, may have a shot in Quebec--it's no worse than the chances of Brian Topp and Thomas Mulcair.

    This all is probably moot, anyway--I believe that Brian Topp, being the establishment candidate with the big Broadbent and Romanow endorsements, will win leadership. Though, that may well backfire.

    Contrary to popular belief, Jack Layton, and Jack Layton, alone won over la Belle province, not Thomas Mulcair. In fact, it would be interesting to ask someone all the way up in Abitibi-Temiscamingue, or Lac-St-Jean, or the Gaspesie who Thomas Mulcair is...odds are, not a whole lot.

  4. There was an article on the Bonaventure by-election in La Presse over the weekend. The journalist was speaking to one resident. Here's my translation (and paraphrasing) of the exchange:

    "I voted differently in the last election and support the ADQ."

    "Do you mean the NDP?"

    "That's right, the party with the man who died."

    I expect you may be right that Thomas Mulcair isn't exactly a household name in parts of Quebec.


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