The NDP needs a time out

Party's preoccupation with the trivial is like the political edition of Groundhog Day

Having summarily dispatched their time-share socialist leader, Tom Mulcair, to political oblivion, New Democrat MPs have spent much of the past several months embarrassing the party founded by J.S. Woodsworth by joining those exemplars of sober thinking and propriety, the Conservatives, in sophomoric attacks on Justin Trudeau and his wife, Sophie. 

Is it any wonder that, to date, the NDP is having trouble finding someone with a smidgen of gravitas to replace Mulcair (see Nathan Cullen’s recent decision to opt out of a possible leadership run.)? On Tuesday, June 7, Ontario NDP MPP Cheri DiNovo announced her intention to run for the party leadership, but as an “unofficial candidate” to talk up party principles and where the NDP is headed.

Such is the state of the NDP’s leadership that the first declared candidate is the political equivalent of a pace setter, with the presumably bona fide candidates sitting patiently in the wings, waiting to overtake her when the inclination strikes. The problem is no one may join DiNovo soon, since that would require not only a good chunk of dough, but a lot of serious thinking about how to resuscitate the fortunes of a party that’s morphed into the NDP lite. 

The dearth of ideas within the rudderless NDP has only become more apparent since the rank and file voted to turf Mulcair. See also former NDP MP Rathika Sitsabaiesan’s defection to the provincial Liberals.

There have been more questions and trumped-up drama from the NDP about Sophie’s alleged preference for designer dresses and her telegenic husband’s decision to appear in Vogue magazine. The lunacy culminated in an NDP-led near crucifixion of Ms. Trudeau because she requested more help to deal with the requests for her help she receives. Somehow, the tattered remnants of the NDP’s front bench interpreted this reasonable plea for assistance as an attack on every overburdened working woman and stay-at-home mom in Canada. My goodness. 

Not done, the NDP caucus distinguished itself by turning the hysteria meter to 11 after a petulant Trudeau – channelling, no doubt, some of the bravado of Trudeau Sr. – accidentally elbowed a female New Democrat on the floor of the House while manhandling the Tory whip. (Trudeau apologized.)

Leading the loud, incoherent charge was Mulcair, who appeared to be a breath away from laying out Trudeau. Angry Tom, indeed. 

Eight months after the federal election, the churlish antics have exposed how adrift Canada’s so-called left- and right-wing parties are in the still humbling aftermath of the electoral drubbing at the hands of that selfie-happy dauphin, Trudeau. 

See the pattern: what dress the PM’s wife is wearing, Vogue covers for the Trudeaus, Elbowgate. The preoccupation with the trivial is like the political edition of Groundhog Day. 

Call it the Frankization of the supposedly serious affairs of state. Make no mistake, the real paper of record for the “intelligentsia” in the nation’s capital is the scandal sheet read religiously by that very same intelligentsia. | @nowtoronto

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