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REPORTING · 28th July 2011
Merv Ritchie
Just as the Federal NDP Party finally established themselves as a real possible alternative to a century and a half of stagnation from the Liberal and Conservative party’s of the past, they stumble on their own shoelaces and fall smack on their face. It is a tragedy to be sure, Jack Layton’s need to remove himself to deal with his life threatening illness, but this decision to place Nycole Turmel at the helm, in his stead, is more than unfortunate.

In a news conference today she appeared to sound just like former Liberal leader Stephane Dion with his broken and difficult to follow English and even more disturbing, for those looking to see a real change in Canadian Politics, she droned on without any personal original strength, repeating the Party line. This was the attribute which had former BC NDP leader Carol James failing to capture the hearts of the BC citizenry. Two minutes into listening to the rehearsed repetitive boring speech one would find themselves thinking about what they were going to be doing later rather than listening to any of the content. Turmel even read directly from prepared text barely looking up at the cameras. The high pitched squawk now mixed with the Dion linguistics makes this entire NDP opposition a lost cause.

This may be a harsh assessment for the NDP die hard faithful, but from an outsider position it is a laughable start to the glorious potential.

And to cap off the issue, Turmel even showed signs of losing her cool when challenged by a reporter. The questioning was persistent regarding her competence in the English language, to do the job and why it was necessary to select an interim leader now when there were already two deputy leaders and Parliament wouldn’t be sitting for almost two months.

Layton would have quipped a one liner, as would Bob Rae, the interim leader of the Liberal Party. Turmel though was impatient and curt, cutting off the question and disregarding it with a small showing of temper. It was a revealing display of a dangerous decision Layton made, which has now been backed up by the Party.

Of course only time will tell but from this point forward I know I will have to concentrate to listen to this Party spokesperson. Just like struggling to understand Dion and struggling to pay attention to the drone of James this will be a double whammy loss to the huge advantage the NDP began with.

The NDP may hang onto their win in Quebec but I’ll bet dollars to donuts the majority of Canadians will be turning to Bob Rae and the Liberal party as fast as the Orange tide took over the Bloc.
Nathan Cullen for NDP Opposition Leader?
Comment by Stacey Tyers on 29th July 2011
I am so saddened to hear about Jack. He's such a nice man and he has the strength and fortitude to truly do the job that needs to be done.

But it does need to start being discussed, given his condition who ARE possible candidates to replace him, in the event that his health does not allow him to return. He really does need to put his health first.

Maybe I'm biased living in Nathan's riding, but I have talked to people in Vancouver and people in Ottawa who say Nathan gives them hope; inspires them that all is not lost in politics. He is an amazing speaker, he's young, vibrant and again, simply put, a really nice guy. He's likable.

I think he'd be a good candidate. None of the MPs will disrespect Jack by openly discussing any of this. But Nathan, there's a ton of people behind you, if the time should come. Jack has BIG shoes to fill, I say in this case, Nathan has big feet to fill them. :)
My observation.
Comment by Helmut Giesbrecht on 28th July 2011
She is interim. If Jack Layton can not return as scheduled, she won't be a leadership candidate. Appointing one who might be a replacement, if required, would give them an edge. That would make it an uneven playing field. She's very fluent in French which is where some building is required with a large number of new MPs. Most of the work in the House will probably fall to the veterans until Layton returns or a replacement is required. I hope the latter is not a matter that they need to deal with.