Posts Tagged ‘Harper

Why Trudeau Is The Smartest Man In Canada

- September 27th, 2012

justin-trudeau-reuters

 

I swore to myself I wasn’t going to write about Trudeau — probably ever, certainly not now in the run-up to his coronation as leader of the Liberal Party of Canada.

 

So many other people are writing so many words about him right now — hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people writing millions of words — that I felt there was no need for me to write any words at  all. All would have been said before I got my two cents in.

 

I lied. To myself, of course, because I never actually told anyone else I wasn’t going to write about Trudeau. But it’s just too hard to resist. Everyone I’ve talked to in the past two days has some opinion — usually strong and sometimes multiple, contradictory opinions — about Trudeau.

 

So I’m writing about him for the same reason that everyone is talking about him at the moment — he’s interesting. His (unannounced) candidacy for the Liberal leadership is the most exciting thing to happen to Ottawa since St. Jack Layton led the NDP to the Promised Land — the Official Opposition — in the last federal election.

 

There is a buzz and electricity about Trudeau at the moment that no other politician in Canada currently has. You can’t buy that or manufacture it or negotiate it or finagle it. It’s there straight-up or it isn’t. And Trudeau has it in spades.

 

He hasn’t always had it (at least we haven’t been aware he’s had it). It’s something that has grown and developed in the past 17 months since the May 2011 federal election put what seemed like the final nail in the coffin of the old, worn-out Liberal Party of Canada.

 

Even during that election, Trudeau was seen by most people as the charming and handsome but lightweight and inexperienced heir to the most polarizing political family name in Canada.

 

Of the many disparaging tags tied to Trudeau since he first ran for Parliament in 2008, my personal favourite is “Teenage Jesus.” It nicely summed up the whole package of negative opinion about him — young, privileged, earnest but a little goofy, shallow and basically just a slacker getting an easy ride because of his family name and connections.

 

But things have changed.

 

If, in May 2011, I had written the name “Trudeau” almost anyone reading that word would immediately think of Pierre Elliott Trudeau, the 15th prime minister of Canada. His sons and his ex-wife might trail along as afterthoughts.

 

In this entire piece I have not so far used the name “Justin” once, only “Trudeau.” And I’m willing to bet the mental image that most people have had in their minds when seeing the word “Trudeau” is now Justin, the son, not Pierre, the memory.

 

Justin Trudeau has come of age. He’s taking over the family business — and name.

 

Win or lose in the next federal general election on (theoretically) Oct. 19, 2015, he’s making the right decision by running for the leadership of the fading, confused, broken Liberal Party of Canada now.

 

Why?

 

Because now is Trudeau’s time. Because there will be no Liberal Party of Canada left to lead after the next election if the Liberals don’t turn the tide of decline that’s gutted them in the past decade. (If the Liberals flatline again in 2015, the NDP will eventually take them over much as Reform took over the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada after the PC debacle of the 1990s.)

 

And because Trudeau has nothing to lose either. Most people (even his ardent supporters) expect that Trudeau will be chewed up and spit out in parliamentary debate by that heartless, steel-eyed Machiavellian schemer Stephen Harper. Whether they verbalize it or not, most people expect that a Liberal Party led by young, green Justin Trudeau will be outmanoeuvred, out-organized and out-dirtied by the well-oiled, ruthless, veteran Conservative Party war machine.

 

Don’t count on it — in either case.

 

A big step in the changing public perception of Justin Trudeau came with his surprise victory in a charity boxing match against Conservative Senator Patrick Brazeau on March 31 of this year.

 

We learned that he could take a punch and also dish it out. He won on a TKO in the third round. It was an unexpected conclusion and elevated many people’s assessment of Trudeau’s guts and stamina even though it was just a charity punch-up.

 

More telling than the outcome, however, was Trudeau’s analysis of the situation going into the confrontation.

 

Here’s what Trudeau told Maclean’s magazine writer John Geddes back in February 2012  as he was preparing for the fight against Brazeau:

 

“We actually weigh pretty much the same. My reach is significantly larger than his. The way things have been set up is everybody is convinced that this black belt in karate (Brazeau) with massive arms is going to clean up the pretty boy (Trudeau), because he grew up in the mean streets of Maniwaki and I grew up with a silver spoon in my mouth, you know? That’s what everyone says, right? So as it stands I can’t lose. Even if I do actually lose I know I will have gone in and people said, ‘Well, there wasn’t a chance anyway.’

 

“Neither of us have ever actually been in a boxing match before. I’ve trained in boxing all my life, my dad taught me how to box early, and through my twenties I trained at various sorts of rough gyms in Montreal, mostly as just a way of keeping in shape. I even boxed out in Vancouver for a while. But I never stepped it up to full-on sparring, or even a real bout. Pat’s been talking quite openly about the fact that he plans on taking me down early. I expect him to come in very hard, very fast. I plan on allowing him to, because I can take a lot, and use my jab to try and keep him at a distance, and out-think him.”

 

All in all, it was an astute assessment of the situation and a game plan that ended in an upset victory. Perhaps even more tellingly, it’s a good indication how well Trudeau is served by his opponents underestimating his ability, determination and intelligence.

 

Justin Trudeau freely admits that he doesn’t have his father’s ferocious intellectual fire: He acknowledges that he often leads with his heart. But he is smart, perceptive and engaged.

 

He’s also been in Parliament substantially longer than his father was before PET became Liberal leader and prime minister in 1968. As with many other aspects of his resume, Justin Trudeau’s “inexperience” is overplayed by his condescending critics — including me.

 

And he really does have charisma. Not the flukey brand of Trudeaumania his father rode into the PMO in 1968, although that could come over the next two years.

 

Justin Trudeau is a genuinely warm, appealing and very likeable person. People are drawn to him and enjoy his company immensely, no matter what their party affiliation.

 

He has decided that now is his time, despite the daunting odds facing the next leader of the Liberal Party of Canada. Much like his fight against Brazeau, Trudeau has decided he has nothing to lose and everything to gain.

 

And it’s a very freeing position to be in. The various factions and power bases of the Liberal Party of Canada know they are probably screwed in the next federal election without a major dynamic shift. The disasters of the Stephane Dion and Michael Ignatieff eras have ensured that Trudeau will pretty much get to call his own shots once he wins the leadership.

 

It’s probably impossible that anyone named Trudeau can ever again become prime minister of Canada, given the undying animosity against the family name in Western Canada and the divisive legacy of his father’s fight against separatism in Quebec.

 

But a Trudeau as leader gives the Liberal Party a fighting chance in Ontario and the Maritimes and a solid base in Quebec, all things that might not be true if a Trudeau wasn’t leader.

 

If he continues to surprise his friends and confound his enemies, Trudeau could actually pull off some kind of Rocky triumph. If that happened, I think Justin Trudeau would probably be an unmitigated disaster as prime minister. But that’s so far away from happening, I think we should just enjoy the ride for a while and see where it takes us.

 

The biggest pitfall that Trudeau has to face is the length of time until the next federal election in 2015 and the length of time until the next leader of the Liberal Party is formally chosen in April 2013.

 

That’s a long time in which we can all get mightily bored of Justin Trudeau.

 

The good thing is that I think Trudeau can stand up to the scrutiny and mind-numbing repetition of a long-haul political process, whether it be a leadership race or an actual election as leader.

 

The more we see and hear of Trudeau, the more he steps out from his father’s shadow, the more he takes chances and pushes boundaries, the more I think we’ll like him.

 

He may not be the saviour of the Liberal Party of Canada, but he’s no longer “Teenage Jesus.”

 

And Trudeau as Liberal leader makes the whole political process fun to watch again. It was getting kinda grey and monotonous. I can’t wait for the first time Justin Trudeau calls Stephen Harper a “piece of sh–” in the House of Commons.

Politicians In Cowboy Hats

- July 10th, 2012

Mulcair-calgary-stampede-sun

UPDATE: Look who’s wearing a cowboy hat — Tommy Mulcair. And he doesn’t look half bad in it.

 

Everybody loves the Calgary Stampede (except, of course, for  PETA and friends).

 

But few people understand the true catnip of that love affair. It’s got nothing to do with horses or cows or corrals or clowns (well, not in the rodeo sense). Nope. It’s all about the hats. Cowboy hats.

 

Taking part in the Calgary Stampede allows everyone from royalty to the Dalai Lama to Joe Schmoe from corporate accounting in Mississauga to strut around town wearing a cowboy hat without feeling like a freaking idiot — a freaking, make-believe, wanna-be idiot at that.

fergie-andrew-1987

DaliLama-CalgaryMayor-DaveBronconnier-2009

Basically, the only way you stand out in Calgary during Stampede is by NOT wearing a cowboy hat. (NOTE: It really, truly has to be a Stetson™ to feel right on your head; I’d substitute “Stetson” for “cowboy hat” in this piece but some jokers out there haven’t got the message and are wandering around in knockoffs — and they can’t figure out why they’re feeling like jerks.)

 

Anyone can get away with wearing a cowboy hat during Stampede. Just look at this silly fellow.

harper-hat

The hat fetish is very much a case of living out childhood fantasies for most of us. In general, the cowboy hat’s pull has far more to do with Saturday afternoon movies and backyard gunfights than it does with any sort of modern reality.

 

But that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

 

A healthy fantasy life supposedly keeps us sane and balanced as we slug through the daily drudge of life. Just don’t confuse fantasy and reality.

 

In that regard, I have more than a little trouble with politicians (of all stripes) who flock to the Calgary Stampede just so they can wear cowboy hats. Or, more precisely, so they can be photographed and videotaped wearing cowboy hats.

 

Because everybody loves a hero, too. And nothing says hero like a white cowboy hat.

Trudeau-Cal-Sun-Stampede-2012

Of course, there are those rebellious punks who wear black hats just to cock a snoot a society and say “I’m an outlaw in my heart — just like Willie and Waylon.”

Harper-Cowboy-Hat

Or maybe the black hat just says Snidely Whiplash, the nasty mortgage-flaunting banker who wants to get his hands on Sweet Nell’s, um, homestead.

Anyway, politicians flock to the Calgary Stampede every year like mice to cheese so they can gladhand and backslap and smile for the camera. But most importantly, I think, so they can wear cowboy hats without looking like complete fools. Most of them fail in that regard. But here’s a selection of our boys and girls trying their best to look like Western heroes and heroines.

chretien

 

Trudeau-lariat

martin-stampede

ignatieff_cowboy

hat-redford

hat-clark

may

naheed-nenshi-calgary-stampede

Jean_Charest

JackLayton

Well, Jack Layton looks the best of the bunch (Redford and Trudeau — dad — are pretty good, too). I wonder if we’ll ever see Tommy Mulcair wearing a Stetson in Calgary? Come to think of it, I’ve never seen a photo of Mulcair wearing a hat — of any kind.

But then, some people just shouldn’t wear hats — of any kind.

Willem-Dafoe-hat

Canadian politicians aren’t the only ones who glory in the macho image a cowboy hat imparts. Wearing a cowboy hat is just part of being an American president.

obama_cowboy_hat

Cowboy_George_W_Bush

Cowboy_Bill_Clinton

RonaldReaganCowboyHat

 

LBJ-stetson

nixon-lone-ranger

Eisenhower-Wearing-Cowboy-Hat

fdr-stetson

calvin-coolidge-stetson

Roosevelt

Even American presidential wannabes use the cowboy hat.

herman-cain-in-cowboy-hat

 

And presidents of other countries — like South Sudan and Ethiopia.

Salva-Kiir-with-Ban-Ki-Moon

Ato Girma Wolde Giorgis-Ethiopia-prez_cowboy

And prime ministers of countries other than Canada.

winston-churchill-wearing-hat

And, of course, royalty.

kate-and-william-in-cowboy-hats

But nobody does it better than the Duke.

John-Wayne-in-True-Grit-1969

 

 

Why NDP Leader’s Oil Sands Attack Is Smart Political Strategy

- June 20th, 2012

Mulcair-in-Commons

Let’s get a couple of things straight right off the bat:

 

1. I used the word”attack” intentionally. Although Thomas Mulcair and the NDP insist they are not against the Alberta oil sands themselves (just the way the Harper government currently allows them to be operated), Mulcair’s stance is very much an attack on the status quo of the oil sands.

 

2. This piece is not about the rights and wrongs of oil sands development. Don’t come at me with long screeds on how the oil sands are the economic engine of Canada or how Big Oil and a lapdog federal government are engaging in environmental vandalism: It just doesn’t matter in this context. Oh, those issues will be debated ad naseum in the next three years, but right now I’m talking solely about whether or not it is GOOD POLITICAL STRATEGY for the NDP to attack the Alberta oil sands.

It is. And here’s why:

 

Oil-sands-Syncrude_plant

A few relatively mild comments on CBC radio last month made New Democratic Party Leader Thomas Mulcair the Most Dangerous Man in Canada™ (for a while anyway, until Luka Magnotta became a household name).

 

Mulcair must be doing something right to arouse that much clamourous indignation.

 

From a long-term strategic perspective, he is. Mulcair has picked a battleground and intends to push. The game is on.

 

That recent flurry of ruffled feathers and regional hubris was just a sideshow, but a bit of the underbrush needs to be cut back before we can clearly see what this situation will mean when it really counts — at the next federal election (tentatively scheduled Oct. 19, 2015).

 

Let’s let the CBC’s Rex Murphy lead the charge for a while. Here are a few things Murphy has had to say about Mulcair in heated commentaries last month:

 

“It is the most divisive debut of any opposition leader I can recall and potentially very dangerous to Confederation.”

 

and

 

“These remarks have been his biggest mistake since becoming national leader.”

 

and

 

“This game of playing one part of the country against another — which effectively is what Mr. Mulcair’s statements do — is of no value to anyone.”

 

and

 

“(A) deliberate, antagonizing and quarrelsome bent toward a whole section of the country … Blaming a prosperous region for the temporary weakness of Central Canada is willful shortsightedness.”

 

Joining Rex Murphy in the attack on Mulcair were (not surprisingly) members the Harper government and (perhaps surprisingly, perhaps not) Liberal Interim Leader Bob Rae, who accused Mulcair of having double standards over issues that affect Quebec and Western Canada.

 

The premiers of Alberta, Saskatchewan and B.C. piled on, appearing to deliberately misinterpret Mulcair’s direct challenge to the prime minister to take great offence on various levels of personal, provincial and regional pride.

 

What beastly, nation-destroying things did Thomas Mulcair actually say to warrant this volcano of vitriol and venom?

 

Not much, actually, and nothing he hasn’t been saying for years.

 

His basic argument was that he wants the Harper government to enforce long-standing laws it is sworn to uphold, for the good of the people of Canada now and in the future.

 

Really. That was the central thesis of his remarks to interviewer Evan Solomon which ran on CBC Radio’s The House on Saturday morning, May 5.

 

Here’s a link to the interview  (the whole programme, actually) if you’d like to hear exactly what was said for yourself. The Mulcair interview starts at the 9:00 mark and goes to 17:30.

 

Solomon brought up “the Dutch disease” issue, noting that Conservatives were attacking Mulcair for mentioning it in an article published in the March 2012 issue of the journal Policy Options.

 

The discussion swayed into the Alberta oil sands around the 12-minute mark when Mulcair said, “The point I’m making is not that we should be against development  of the oil sands, but it has to be sustainable development.”

 

And then he launched into an attack on the Harper government for not enforcing Canadian environmental protection laws in regard to the oil sands and hammered on a “Polluter Pay, User Pay” theme.

 

“The way we are exploiting and developing the oil sands is causing an imbalance in our economy,” Mulcair said.

 

The core thesis was that Big Oil should be paying more now to cover the future costs of Alberta oil sands cleanup and that, because the oil industry is not paying a realistic price to extract and sell that oil, the Canadian dollar is artificially inflated, which in turn has a negative impact on the Canadian manufacturing sector’s ability to sell our goods abroad.

 

Ignoring the current imbroglio and the rights and wrongs of various positions as they exist in June 2012 (because they will be long forgotten by the time the next federal election rolls around in October 2015), here’s an analysis of why Mulcair has picked a high-grade battle issue from a strictly pragmatic, real-politik strategic perspective:

 

1.  This is an issue with staying power and growth potential.

 

As Mulcair told the Globe and Mail during the May hubbub:

 

“You realize that it’s not a three-day debate, it’s not a three-week debate, it’s not a three-month debate, it’s a three-year debate … We’ll just keep coming back with what the real issue is. The real issue is polluter pay. People in Alberta believe that polluters should pay. People in Saskatchewan believe that polluters should pay. People in B.C. believe that polluters should pay. It’s a consistent thing across Canada.”

 

And this is what he told Tom Clark of Global News around the same time:

 

“This is a fight we’ve been looking for. We see this as a defining element of the next election campaign in Canada.”

 

Mulcair may be under attack right now, but his position is one that will stand up to scrutiny — not against oil sands development, just Tory mismanagement and lack of oversight — and one that can grow stronger with time.

 

2. Mulcair is focused and he’s not going off-message.

 

“My fight is with Stephen Harper’s Conservatives,” Mulcair told Global News. “So when some of them started suggesting I was anti-Western Canadian, which, of course, I’ve never even talked about, my reaction was, ‘Look — let me deal with the person who’s responsible for the problem I’m describing.”

 

“We’re leaving the largest ecological, economic and social debt in our history in the backpacks of young people and we’re telling them they’ll pay for it,” he told CTV News. “We’re going to be the first generation in Canadian history to leave less to the next generation than what we ourselves received if we continue this way.”

 

3. Mulcair really doesn’t care how his message plays in Alberta or Saskatchewan — it’s all about Quebec and Ontario … and B.C.

 

He’s making nicey-nice with the Western premiers right now, but that’s just for show and doesn’t matter — except for B.C. where Liberal Premier Christy Clark will be replaced by a majority NDP government on May 14, 2013 if pretty much every poll taken in the province in 2012 holds up (although Clark says those polls are fatally flawed). Don’t forget: B.C. is the province of David Suzuki as well as Christy Clark.

 

Mulcair was quick to add in forestry and fishing — primary B.C. sectors — as well as manufacturing when he talked about industries hit by an inflated Canadian dollar.

 

The NDP has a grand total of one (1) seat in all of Alberta and Saskatchewan (Edmonton-Strathcona). In the next federal election, the NDP could pour more money into Alberta and Saskatchewan than it will spend in the rest of Canada and it might gain them only one or two more seats. That situation is not going to change for a long, long time despite Saskatchewan’s historic legacy as the home of Tommy Douglas and medicare. So, in a strategic electoral sense, It doesn’t hurt the NDP at all to alienate Alberta and Saskatchewan — as long as that stance translates into support for the party further east (and west, in B.C.).

 

Eighty of the NDP’s 102 seats are in Quebec and Ontario. Throw in B.C. and you’re talking 92 of 102 seats.

 

That enormous, unexpected, unbelievable bulge of 59 NDP MPs from Quebec is the party’s Achilles heel — it could recede in 2015 just as easily as it magically appeared last year.

 

So a primary battle cry that is both ecologically hip and implies that reining in the excesses of Western Canada will benefit Eastern Canada is a platform that will sell well in Quebec. And, if Ontario’s manufacturing sector continues to decline over the next three years, the “Dutch disease” mantra may have a stronger resonance —it doesn’t have to be right, it just has to feel right in the gut of someone who’s on the edge of losing his or her job.

 

To put it another way, Alberta has become too successful and too single-minded for its own good. That economic power (which turned regional alienation into regional arrogance) and a blanket electoral loyalty to the Conservative Party also make Alberta a target. Because, even though Albertans now have great economic and political clout, the political power exists only because riding-rich Ontario decided in the last election to side with Alberta’s view of the world. Ontario being Ontario, the pendulum could just as easily swing to the left in the 2015 election if Ontarians think they’re being left behind economically.

 

If the NDP can make a breakthrough in Ontario and hold two-thirds of their unexpected Quebec support from the last election, you could be talking Prime Minister Mulcair in 2015, not Prime Minister Harper.

 

4. What’s wrong with divisiveness, anyway?

 

Let’s rewind Rex Murphy:

 

“It is the most divisive debut of any opposition leader I can recall and potentially very dangerous to Confederation.”

 

Let’s rewind even further to 2000, when Stephen Harper had this to say:

 

“I, too, am one of these angry Westerners … We may love Canada but Canada does not love us … Let’s make (Alberta) strong enough that the rest of the country is afraid to threaten us.”

 

Well, maybe fear is a legitimate basis for a good relationship — but I think even Rex Murphy would have trouble defending the paranoia of that 2000 Harper statement as less divisive than “Polluters Pay.”

 

Harper also advised then-premier Ralph Klein to build a “firewall” around Alberta to protect it from the depredations of ROC ( that’s the Rest of Canada if you don’t remember Alberta’s 1990s separatist rhetoric.)

 

But regional tension and economic envy and sibling rivalry have always been part of the Canadian mosaic. It’s nothing new, it’s constantly evolving and — so far — we’ve survived and thrived (relatively speaking).

 

5. The unspoken element of jealousy.

 

This is a subtext of the “divisiveness” issue. Nobody will actually talk about it (at least in public) but regional jealousy will always be there in the national debate: You have more than I do, I want what you have, and I don’t like you because you have what I want.

 

It’s a terrible worm in Canada’s gut but to deny it is to deny reality. The best leaders in Canada’s history recognized it was there and did their best to control it (none ever did completely) by trying to get Canadians to think in terms of national good instead of provincial and regional well-being. But when the divide between haves and have-nots (in both economic and political terms) becomes too great, the worm turns nasty.

 

We’ve seen Quebec use its electoral numbers to lash out in that situation. And Atlantic Canada would have done so over the past half-century if it could — but it just didn’t have the political numbers and so was forced to suffer in sullen resignation. The Conservatives are now in power in Ottawa because Harper was able to harness that worm in the West over the past decade and subdue it, at least temporarily, in Ontario. It’s hard to think of used-to-have-it-all Ontario in those terms, but the worm is there now.

 

If that worm is still in Ontario’s gut in three years time, the big numbers there spell trouble for Harper and Alberta. In Quebec, the NDP could very well ride a wave of resentment and jealousy into another strong showing. Nobody will actually talk about something as petty and base as jealousy, but recognizing (and accommodating) that unspoken element could be the hidden key to the NDP retaining a substantial part of its very fragile support in Quebec and making gains in Ontario.

 

Most voters wouldn’t admit the motivating factor of jealousy even to themselves. But if it’s there, they will find an issue to support, even an excuse, to feed that worm. And make themselves feel better, if only for a while.

 

6. It’s now a two-way fight between the NDP and Conservatives. The Liberals have been marginalized in the debate.

 

I’m not sure what Bob Rae was thinking when he joined the attack on Mulcair for being somehow anti-West. One or two or three years down the road, this debate is going to clarify along the lines of Big Business Profit versus Common Canadian Good (if the NDP has its way — and I think they have a good chance of pounding home their message.)

 

The Conservatives are going to be on the big business side of the proposition because that means prosperity, jobs and security. The NDP are going to be on the other side of the equation because the oil sands offer enough financial leeway that they can sell a game plan offering (less) prosperity but ecological and generational responsibility at the same time.

 

And where are the Liberals in all this? Nowhere. Yapping around the edges of the debate without a clearly defined profile.

 

If environmental responsibility and a legacy mandate become the central issues of the 2015 election, the Liberals will be left in limbo, trying desperately to create a relevant position. They sure aren’t doing that right now.

 

7. And it all comes down to how the economy is going in 2015.

 

We’re not talking about the well-being of corporations or Charles CEO — we’re talking about Johnny and Jacques Paycheque. The bottom line of the oil companies and the banks won’t matter. What will matter will be the bottom lines of Canada’s working families — especially in Quebec and Ontario.

 

If the economic engine of the Alberta oil sands is not able to create jobs and security in Ontario and Quebec over the next three years, then the NDP message is going to find fertile ground in those riding-rich provinces.

 

And that is why Stephen Harper is afraid of Thomas Mulcair — or should be, if he isn’t already.

 

If the Conservatives could form a majority government in 2011 with less than 40% of the popular vote and only five of the 75 seats in Quebec, surely it would be possible for the NDP to form a majority government in 2015 with only one or two of the 42 seats in Alberta and Saskatchewan.

Thomas_Mulcair_wiki

The next federal election will be determined by whether the Conservatives can hold on to their gains in Ontario and/or the NDP can hold on to their gains in Quebec while improving their position in Ontario.

 

One way or the other, the Alberta oil sands are going to determine how voters in Ontario and Quebec cast their ballots in 2015.

 

If, in the end, the 2015 election boils down to something as crude as the Conservatives representing the dreams and power of the West and the NDP representing the fears and needs of the East, then the numbers favour the NDP.

 

No matter what, Thomas Mulcair did not make a political blunder by attacking the Alberta oil sands. Whether you agree or disagree with him, you have to admit it makes perfect political strategic sense for Mulcair and the NDP to stake out that position.

 

It will be an interesting three years.