Federal Politics: Federal NDP Leadership Convention Toronto 2012

By on March 27, 2012

By David Murray. I attended my first NDP Federal Leadership Convention this past weekend in Toronto Ontario. Having just gone through three months of cold rainy weather in Pitt Meadows, I expected to step off the plane in Toronto and have it be minus 10 degrees.

Paul Dewar backed by his supporters at the NDP Leadership Convention

What a surprise. It was 27 degrees celsius. I was dressed in a very warm jacket and took it off the minute I went outside to hail a cab .

Our group from B.C. had came to this convention to support our Federal Leadership candidate MP Paul Dewar. (The Dewar Team) Ron Johnson, Paul Barnett, Alexandra Taylor, Kristen Keighly-Wight and myself had something to do our first night. Paul Dewar was hosting a party at the hotel where we were staying at. The party featured MP Charlie Angus singing and rapping. Also in attendance was MP Romeo Saganash ,BC MLA Mable Elmore, as well as MP Hoang Mai .
Campaign manager Michele Girash did a fantastic job of hosting the event.

The first day of convention came early. Three hour time difference. I had to be at convention by 8:00 am to get my credentials for the convention (5 am Vancouver time). Alexandra Taylor and I were near the front of the line and when we got our media and delegate credentials proceeded to the Dewar campaign office, from there we went to the top of the convention escalator where we handed out buttons, swag and invitations to another Dewar party that was happening that night (The Paul Dewar parties were great) they gave everyone two free drink tickets who attended. Some of the other candidates who hosted parties on the second night were charging $9.00 for one drink.

Paul Dewar party at the 2012 NDP Leadership Convention

That day at convention (Friday) all the candidates had a certain amount of time to present a speech , video or presentation for the 4,500 delegates in attendance. Nathan Cullen pulled up a stool and just talked to the crowd, he actually did a nice job engaging with the crowd. Paul Dewar gave a masterful heart-felt speech. Charlie Angus rapped and sang. Paul was also featured in a video presentation. Brian Topp brought in Tommy Douglas’s daughter Shirley as an endorser. Peggy Nash had her microphone cut off for going too long on her speech. Thomas Mulcair wound up rushing his speech. While Martin Singh and 29-year old Niki Ashton both did a great job delivering a timely and spirited speech.

The evening featured Olivia Chow speaking to the delegates followed by a Jack Layton tribute.

The next day (Saturday) started off with so much promise. The Dewar supporters were stunned when the first ballot results came in. In last place was Ashton, then Singh, Dewar, Nash, Cullen, Topp and then Mulcair. Our candidate Paul Dewar dropped out at that point and let his supporters go to whatever camp they felt like supporting.

Federal NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair

The next ballot had Peggy Nash drop off, leaving only Cullen, Topp and Mulcair to fight it out. This information from the second ballot took three hours to get to the convention floor. We found out later that there was some kind of cyber attack which reeked havoc with the organizers who tried hard to combat this. They wanted to make sure every vote would be counted so this process took a long time.

The third ballot didn’t come in until about 5 pm which eliminated Nathan Cullen only to leave Brian Topp and Thomas Mulcair to fight it out for the Leadership. Approx 8:30 pm EST on the fourth ballot, Thomas Mulcair was announced the winner and leader of the NDP Federal party with 57 % of the vote.
The day was a long one but it was within minutes of the final results being tallied you could see the party was excited about putting their support behind Mr. Mulcair.

In his closing speech he reminded all NDP delegates that the job of taking on Stephen Harper and the Conservative party will require a unified effort by everyone!
For me personally my highlight was meeting and talking to Jack Layton’s son and daughter Mike and Sarah Layton.

Mike Layton-David Murray-Sarah Layton

They told me that Jack talked a lot about Abbotsford and was very happy to see the great result that happened in that riding (Abbotsford had the biggest percentage gain of any riding east of the Quebec border)

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