Monday, May 16, 2011

Come On Joe Comartin. You're Better Than That

I like NDP MP Joe Comartin very much. Decent and hard working, I thought he'd make a great party leader when he challenged Jack Layton for the job in 2003.

But I take offense to a recent ad hoc jab at the Liberals. The story that four former Liberal leadership contenders, still owed money, is sad but not shocking. It's expensive to run a campaign and when there were so many hopefuls then, not as much money to go around.

This was especially difficult, since the Harper regime had just changed the rules limiting donations to $1,000, (eventually catching themselves in the trap).

But Comartin responded to the story by saying that he had little sympathy.
"The Liberals, unlike ourselves and the Conservatives, have not expanded their base for the smaller donations, the $100 to $200 or $300 ones," he said. "The candidates are part of the same problem, because they never developed that capacity to do that."

He argued the Liberals also have a history of extravagant spending. "The Liberals, as a party, as individuals, have this expectation of grandiose events and they spend a heck of a lot more on their campaign than even our winning candidates do in the NDP," he said. "I think there's a change of culture that's needed within that party."
"Unlike ourselves and the Conservatives"?

Are the NDP going to pick up where they left off, spending all of their time bashing the Liberals while giving the Conservatives a free pass? If that's the way they want to play it, fine, but it's time for a little reality check.

The last election that shows expenses (2008), reveals that Joe Comartin spent more on his campaign than the Liberals and Conservatives combined. A total of $67,618.87. And he received 128 contributions for a total of $29,415, meaning an average donation of about $230, hardly chump change for the majority of Canadians.

Unfortunately money talks in politics.

And painting the Liberals as "elitist" is simply playing into the dumbing down of politics, and puts Comartin in the same playroom as Jason Kenney, who recently stated that the only Toronto area ridings that the Liberals held are " typically high social-economic status professionals in core urban areas ... a pretty narrow base."

Kenney also needs a reality check. Their own Toronto ridings were won by a combined total of just over 6,000 votes. Only vote splitting gave the Conservatives an advantage.

Both of these parties have to remember that they still have to be accountable to Canadians, and if the NDP want to stay on the good side of the 60% of us who didn't vote for a Harper majority, they'd better change their strategy.

This is a progressive country, despite our regressive government. We don't stomp on those who believed in themselves and thought they could do something for our country.

And you Joe Comartin should know that.


  1. You are strong in the ways of the force!

  2. The business media will continue to pillory the Liberals and the NDP by feeding hostility between these camps. The Globe & Mail, The Hill Times, Canwest and other business media have an interest in glossing over real critiques of the Conservatives and feeding hostility and a perception of bickering between the NDP and the Liberals. I'm not saying there aren't real disagreements and real challenges here. I'm just asking that we view business media narratives with extreme skepticism. Many voices attacking the Conservatives will be lost in the corporate media narrative.

  3. Isn't this just part of the NDP sucking up to the Harpies, Emily? One of these days, they'll be sorry, when Harper squishes their party like he did the Liberals. He wants to be the only game in town, and NDP members like Comartin are playing right into his hand.

  4. You're right Sherwin. But if we want to change the way politics are done in this country we have to start calling people out.

    Reality check: WE ARE THE PEOPLE. You work for us. We pay the NDP to hold the government to account. End of.