Thursday, November 17, 2011

Asymmetrical Federalism

The NDP has made a lot of noise arguing Quebec deserves a fixed percentage of seats in the House of Commons. At the same time, they continue to move full speed ahead with a leadership race where Quebecers will be little more than an afterthought.

After some enthusiastic headlines about the party's membership numbers "soaring" and "tripling" in Quebec earlier this week, comes a dose of reality:

The NDP has attracted 11,200 new members since the launch of its leadership race in August, with the addition of 3,900 new card holders in Quebec providing the biggest boost.

Overall, the party has now 95,000 official supporters, up from 83,800 when Jack Layton died three months ago.

Still, Quebec continues to be under-represented in the race to find a new party leader with just 5.9 per cent of the party cards in the one-member, one-vote leadership race.

The 5.9% figure isn't the worrisome number for the NDP - that number is due to the fact that no one (not even some of their MPs) had membership cards in Quebec a few months ago. What's more relevant is that Quebecers made up just 35% of the new members the party has signed up during the leadership race. If the NDP keeps adding 12,000 members a month, with 35% coming from Quebec, Quebecers are going to cast just 15% of the votes in the leadership race.

This from a province home to over half the NDP's caucus. This from a province the NDP has recognized as a "nation" deserving special status in all areas...except leadership races apparently.

Maybe that's fair, but it's certainly not good news for a party hoping to build an organization in Quebec. And it's certainly not good news for Thomas Mulcair, who hopes to ride Quebec to victory.



  • It's stunning that the NDP bigwigs just don't get it.

    Jack Layton's breakthrough will go down in history as a flash in the pan, not because of his actions, but because of his successors' inaction.

    Good news for the Liberals, but let's hope the Bloc does rise again.

    By Blogger CuriosityCat, at 9:00 p.m.  

  • It's interesting you didn't address the point that weighting the various provincial sections creates a disincentive to signing up new members.

    The current situation is argued to create an incentive to sign up members in areas needing growth.

    Conversely, some people argue that the weighted arrangement creates an incentive to sign up the next member in an overweighted province.

    I guess we have the next four months to see what incentives the unweighted approach created.

    By Blogger The Pundits' Guide, at 2:39 a.m.  

  • What the current OMOV situation does is to encourage "shenanigans" in the darkest corners of the country - as a single illegally-cast ballot in some ill-informed riding is worth just as much as a legally-cast ballot in the most scrutinized ballot box nationwide.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:20 a.m.  

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