Sunday, July 12, 2009

Parkdale-High Park goings on

Just a quick post to note a development that took place this week. Peggy Nash, former NDP MP for Parkdale-High Park, has decided to run for the presidency of the NDP and will be up for that position at their Halifax convention in August. As Linda Diebel wondered on Friday, might this move by Nash have some longer term implications?
Is this the first step of a plan to run for the national leadership at some point?
As noted in the press release:
As President, Nash would fulfill the role of party spokesperson and would be responsible for chairing all New Democratic Party national meetings. Working with Jack Layton and senior officials, Nash would also contribute to the overall party policy and direction and would represent the NDP at local and international meetings and conferences.

“I was a Member of Parliament and I’ve had a long career in the labour movement, but I’ve also worked extensively in the women’s movement, and been a long time peace and human rights advocate,” noted Nash. “My work has taken me across this country and to nearly every continent. It has given me the opportunity to see how economic and social policy impacts Canadians of all stripes. I can’t think of a better time to put that experience to use.”
Interesting speculation that would make sense. Nash is popular in her party, at least that's my impression from the outside, and is generally well-regarded.

What might this mean for politics in this riding? Nash has no doubt made a calculation about the prospect of challenging Gerard Kennedy again. It wasn't really as close a result as had been predicted in October (Kennedy 43%, Nash 35%). With the advantage of incumbency and Kennedy's popular appeal, a second fight would be much tougher. So, assuming Nash were to win the NDP presidency, Liberal Gerard Kennedy's next election looks to be less taxing than the last. It's not likely that there will be a candidate of Nash's stature up for the NDP next go round. And given the hopelessness of the Conservative cause in the riding, Kennedy's main opposition will remain the NDP. Situation...very good for Kennedy.

Whether this speaks to any wider trend among NDP candidates and their willingness to run at the moment, will leave that to others more seized in that party's present fortunes.

Update (8:55 p.m.): Thinking way down the road, if Nash were to win the presidency of the NDP then even further down the road, became leader of the NDP...then she'd need a seat again. Whether that would be Parkdale-High Park once again, guess we'd have to see. But that's a lot of contingency, isn't it? Oh well, it's Sunday and all...