Mulcair's magic wand
Much of the hype in anglo Canada about Thomas Mulcair and the view that he might have the magic wand to take Quebec (NOW, March 15-21) is highly suspect.
When Jack Layton arrived on the Quebec scene, he came with not a lot of political baggage, as a fresh face.
Not so Mulcair, who might have been useful in introducing Layton to Quebec but comes complete with Quebec political baggage.
His pluses there will be matched by the minuses.
All of this discussion predicated on Mulcair's ability to "win" Quebec is actually moot from the perspective of the Canadian electorate.
It would be nice if the NDP could hold onto some seats in Quebec, but it is not critical. We would be much better off if the NDP made gains in Ontario, Saskatchewan and Alberta. Those are the areas that need fixing. Quebec is not Conservative territory.
NDP's real principles
Thomas Mulcair is hugely popular and respected in Quebec. And he is part of the reason for the NDP breakthrough. To think the NDP surge was only about Jack's personality is a gross oversimplification.
Since the Liberals supported or abstained from almost every single confidence vote during the Cons' minority, I don't trust them to oppose, not to mention govern. We've had enough of Harper's Liberal cabana boys. We want a real party with real principles to actually oppose the Cons.
Cullen brings new ideals
Thank you to Alice Klein for this perceptive, balanced article on NDP leadership candidate Nathan Cullen (NOW March 15-21). There is no second choice. It's indeed Cullen. With him we have hope to unseat Harper and, more importantly, to generate new Canadian ideals.
NDP past and present
I agree with not pursuing change for change's sake and that new ideas should be informed by the past. However, I have known NDP leadership candidate Nathan Cullen personally since he moved to BC, and I have full confidence in him to pursue a very respectful and reasoned approach to any issue, big or small. He is not blindly ideological and will listen to good advice from all sides.
Regarding Michael Hollett's Pick In Danforth (NOW, March 15-21). Having walked and driven around the Toronto-Danforth neighbourhood in the last few days, I'd say the forest of orange signs mean the NDP will have no problem maintaining the level of support Jack Layton had.
So the interesting question isn't who will win; it's how the other parties will place.
The Tories are missing in action. The Liberal candidate seems like a waste of space. But the Green candidate, Adriana Mugnatto-Hamu, is fascinating. She's a great speaker, with deep roots in the riding, and is already widely known as the Greens' spokesperson on climate change.
How the author of this article omitted her I don't know. If she manages to place second, ahead of the Liberals, that will be the biggest story of the day.
Diversity in our democracy
Regarding the Toronto-Danforth by-election. All NDP, Liberal and Conservative MPs in Ottawa receive an order sheet each day telling them how to vote according to what the party brass decides. How this represents diversity of opinion in Canada is beyond me. Then again, the NDP have [sometimes gone] beyond the order sheet. Two of their MPs voted to abolish the gun registry.
Ford's transit foolishness
Just a line or three on Enzo DiMatteo's article In Scarberia, It's Light Rail All The Way (NOW, March 15-21). Well said and well laid out.
I am a resident of Sheppard Avenue East and a TTC operator in the same area. LRT on Sheppard East is what we need!
LRT is scheduled to go through to Conlins Road, east of Morningside, which is where the largest number of people live and shop, not along the subway route that Rob Ford wants to Scarborough Town Centre.
We run an express bus there every 12 minutes with only a handful of riders. I can't imagine a subway every 8 minutes.
I just saw Ford on the news riding the subway. He still thinks this is a popularity contest not based on fiscal responsibility. Such a foolish man.
Transit's mediocrity trap
We heard over and over again in the last municipal election that we need to expand our transit system to get people home from work faster. While this may have some truth, it is shortsighted and leads to the ongoing transit mediocrity we have been mired in for decades. What we need is a transit system that efficiently gets people to destinations.
And there are so many destinations and neighborhoods that are underserved by public transit. When you focus on getting people home, you end up with the Sheppard line. But when you focus on destinations and start with high-density areas where people actually like taking the subway instead of driving, you end up with a transit system that works.
Regarding letter-writer Alex Leger's response to Greenpeace [nuke analyst] Shawn-Patrick Stensil's assessment of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (NOW, March 15-21). If only he were correct in asserting that the nuclear industry is "well regulated." Only a person who's never attended a CNSC hearing could make such a naive remark. I've been to too many of these, and always feel I've gone down a rabbit hole like Alice in Wonderland and have unwittingly signed up for a Mad Hatter's tea party. But don't take my word for this. Attend any CNSC hearing on Port Hope or Darlington or Bruce Power or SSI (Peterborough) or SRB (Pembroke) and you'll quickly see what I mean.
Prince Albert, Ontario