As you know, I was at last weekend’s NDP Quebec convention held in historic Quebec City. I’ve been to my fair share of these in the past and what I saw there as a registered observer and as a quasi-dipper wasn’t exactly promising for their growth in Quebec as an organization.
For starters, it seems no national media made the trip to Quebec. The only media that covered the Convention was local media, and as you can see, the Quebec City paper of record Le Soleil, chose to go with a rather negative angle that relied on a dubious internet poll (is there any other kind?) that showed the party slipping in voter intentions among Quebeckers, both for their leader and the Party.
Speaking of which, le grand manitou (Mulcair) only showed up on Saturday night and made a brief appearance the next day with a rather sucsinct but humourous speech in the morning. Quite a few party stalwarts, a few of which are high profile members and activists that have been around for ages, were conspicuous by their absence. A dozen or so Quebec MPs were also MIA. Though this was explained, in part, by the week from hell they suffered in Ottawa, prompting some to spend time with loved ones this weekend instead of politicking in Quebec City. I can’t say I blame them.
As for the resolutions debated and adopted, there is not a great deal to write home about there, I’m afraid. Except, perhaps, to say it was the shortest debate I have seen since I started participating in NDP Québec Conventions. And while it seemed like the youth wing had a ball getting quite a few of their motions passed, I heard some grumbling among the rank and file over the lack of time for debate. In fact, a few of them claimed that the policy discussion ended prematurely when quorum was called by one of the members and the session ended abruptly with things wrapping up on Sunday a half hour early.
To the roughly 300 people attending the Convention this weekend, many of whom were no doubt experiencing a political powwow for the first time, this might have come as a bit of a disappointment. It must be said of the NDP in Quebec, that in the wake of its 2011 break through, the party was like a gawky teenager whose massive growth spurt happens overnight making their clothing look far too small and requiring a brand new wardrobe. The party had virtually no base in the province and could best be described as being a mile wide and an inch deep. Since then, they have grown by leaps and bounds, claiming around 6,000 active members (according to what former President André St-Hilaire told me) currently paying dues to the Quebec section of the party.
Maybe this is just as well, when you consider how rare it will be for these resolutions, being of a non-binding nature, to make it into the 2015 NDP electoral platform. But this fact will of course do nothing to appease the hard-core dippers who still feel a strong sense of ownership over the party both in Quebec and elsewhere.
Other articles by David DesBaillets
NDP convention in Quebec City this weekend part of dress rehearsal for next year’s federal election
Are Canadian unions divorcing the NDP?
Harper misses the point on calls for public inquiry into missing aboriginal women
Has the Harper government declared war on Canadian charities
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