Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Nycole Turmel and the NDP's Achilles Heel

NDP interim leader's history comes back to haunt her

With NDP leader Jack Layton's health having taken another turn for the worse, many Canadians are wishing him a speedy recovery and return to the political battlefield.

But certainly almost none more than his followers in the NDP. Now more than ever.

Although the NDP made a decision not to diclose interim leader Nycole Turmel's memberships in the Bloc Quebecois and Quebec Solidaire -- both separatist parties -- to the public, it turns out that the Globe and Mail found out anyway. What has emerged since are numerous questions about Turmel's loyalties.

With whom do her loyalties lie?

Turmel says she is not a separatist. Despite her membership in two separate separatist parties, that is enough for this author. As it turns out, there are many reasons than just her flirtations with separatist political parties to doubt her loyalties.

In 2006, while Turmel was National President of the Public Service Alliance of Canada, PSAC endorsed a number of Bloc Quebecois candidates in the election.

“Bloc candidates are better prepared and more willing to cooperate with PSAC in furthering our causes,” PSAC declared during the 2006 election.

In the eyes of some, the detail that Turmel's and PSAC's endorsement of these BQ candidates was extended based on labour policy, not based on separatism, should allay any concerns about that endorsement. But those people are wrong.

That detail rather illuminates the detail that the organizations with which Turmel is involved -- whether by her hand or otherwise -- tend to develop a tendency to put their own agendas ahead of the interests of the country. That is a very disturbing thought. Unsurprising, but disturbing.

In the case of the Bloc, it's obvious: they put their agenda of separating Quebec from Canada ahead of Canada's interests. They also put Quebec's parochial interests ahead of Canada's on all issues. Turmel and the other so-called "soft separatists" who join the BQ know this full well.

In the case of PSAC, it's a matter of putting the interests of the union ahead of the country. It's bad enough that public service unions are permitted to make endorsements during election time in Canada -- effectively campaigning on who they think their bosses should be. It's that much worse that PSAC's position relating to these BQ candidates is that their bosses should be separatists. It casts a serious shadow over what PSAC has become.

Now, Nycole Turmel has -- however temporarily (one hopes) -- succeeded Jack Layton as the leader of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition. And whether it's considering her separatist dabblings or the bizarre activities of PSAC under her watch, there are too many reasons to doubt her ultimate loyalty, and not enough reasons to invest faith in her.

And the NDP knows it. That is the reason for their fuming, raging response to the Turmel revelation. The NDP response has ranged from comical attempts to portray Prime Minister Stephen Harper as a separatist to equally-comical description of the reporting of Turmel's history as "harassment".

(That the left -- including countless NDP-affiliated individuals and organizations -- went through Harper's history with a fine-tooth comb in search of anything they could misrepresent in order to fan the flames of fear is a detail they themselves now choose to omit. Turnabout is fair play. Remember that.)

Once the NDP has gotten over their rage and fury, the first thing they need to do is set about picking a new interim leader. Unless Turmel can come up with a good explaination as to why it is that she maintained her Quebec Solidare membership so long after cancelling her BQ membership, and even after becoming interim opposition leader, she needs to resign post-haste and let a responsible MP take over the job.

This time around the NDP should disclose, not conceal, the history of their interim leader. While they're at it, perhaps they can disclose precisely how many of their MPs have been, or are now, separatists.

Then they should take the appropriate action with the lot of them, and cast them out.

The NDP is, after all, supposed to be a federalist party. It's high time they started acting like one. Otherwise, they can't simply content themselves with getting angry at the people who choose to fire some metaphorical arrows at their exposed Achilles' Heel.

1 comment:

  1. The fact that Turmel was also a paid up member of the provincial political party Quebec Solidaire is even more repugnent, as she continued her involvement until this BQ issue was raised. Quebec Solidaire is more radical in terms of separatism, leftist politics etc.


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