Monday, August 29, 2011

Where do they go from here?

After a week of tributes and mourning, the talk in Ottawa is sure to turn to "what now" this week, as the NDP begins the process of replacing Jack Layton.

Of course, some did not wait that long. Anonymous NDP insiders let it be known that Brian Topp was the "front runner" to replace Layton the day after he died, showing us that anonymous NDP insiders are as reliable and as politically astute as anonymous Liberal insiders. Seriously, it boggles my mind how anyone could think a move like that would help Topp.

Since leadership speculation is now in full swing, here's my run-down of the prospective field. Keep in mind, Layton was elected straight from City Council, so the NDP may very well opt for an outsider again.

Brian Topp

PROS: Played a key role in Layton's revival of the NDP. Very punable name (“Topp spins scandal”, “Topp on top”, “Topp falls to bottom of pack”...the possibilities are limitless for headline writers).

CONS: No elected experience.

Thomas Mulcair

PROS: The party's most respected MP in Quebec. Like Layton and most good socialists, has facial hair.

CONS: Unlike Layton, has never smiled in his life.

Gary Doer

PROS: Accomplished, moderate, well spoken

CONS: Has said he won't run. I believe we have found the NDP's very own Frank McKenna.

Bill Blaikie

PROS: Meets facial hair requirement. Well respected. Experienced.

CONS: Retired.

Paul Dewar

PROS: Comes from deep NDP roots, and has shown himself to be a strong performer in Ottawa.

CONS: Less name recognition than Brian Topp.

Anne McGrath

PROS: Close to Jack Layton. Comes across well on TV.

CONS: Fun fact about Anne McGrath - she once ran for the Communist Party. Didn't know that? Well, you will after the 200th CPC attack ad on the subject airs.

Megan Leslie

PROS: Young, articulate, and seen as a rising star on Parliament Hill

CONS: Fun fact about Megan Leslie - there are no fun facts about Megan Leslie.

Ruth-Ellen Brosseau

PROS: Name recognition, and media enjoy writing about her. Given her complete lack of interest in politics before being elected, odds are she has never been a member of the Bloc Quebecois. Luckiest person on the face of the earth.

CONS: Weak french.

Rocco Rossi

PROS: Described by Rocco Rossi as a star candidate. Will be looking for work come October. A Forum poll shows him as the frontrunner in the NDP race.

CONS: Hasn’t switched to the NDP – yet.

For a more serious look from someone inside the NDP, Greg Fingas has the run-down on 20 possible candidates.

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