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So many motions, so little time

HFX09 NDP Convention Day 3 – semi-liveblog/open thread


 

layton… and no, we don’t yet know for sure if they’re going to make it to the resolutions on changing the name, although the slightly less committal approach — consulting with members and reporting back at the next convention — definitely seems more likely to make it to the floor. There are also emergency motions on everything from Omar Khadr to cell phone fees, and who knows what procedural antics the Larsenistas might have in store for their unwitting brothers and sisters. It’s going to be great, y’all! The action — such as it is — starts at 8am EST sharp, but since ITQ is probably the only one who actually set her berry alarm to wake up, y’all can join the fun at your leisure.

The resolutions up for debate still aren’t available on the convention website — seriously, y’all, what’s with the holdup? — but thanks to National Newswatch, you can follow along, and if you happen to be CPAC-deprived, you can watch the coverage via livestream over at ndp.ca, and tune into the #hfx09 hashtag on twitter for all the gossip from the floor, including lots of

Oh, and for yesterday’s thread, click here.

8:01 AM

And we’re back! Good morning, everyone — by which, of course, I mean the one or two of you who were able to drag yourself out of bed on this lovely Sunday morning. CPAC’s Martin Stringer is rarin’ to go — he has two delegates up as we speak, including an already irate woman from Toronto who is very, very disappointed by the overwhelming Obamamania that the organizers have demonstrated thus far; she also has a warning for her fellow New Democrats in Nova Scotia: Don’t take victory for granted, and don’t assume that just because they’ve managed to install an NDP government, it doesn’t mean the work is over. The other delegate — a Nova Scotian, and a former Progressive Conservative — is far less doom and gloomy.

He — Stringer, that is — then switches to a pair of Quebec delegates, including the party’s candidate in Hochelaga, Jean-Claude Rocheleau, who talks about the passage of resolution to “force companies to work in French in Quebec”, which he sees as a “great success”, as was a motion to transfer cultural funding to the province.

With that, it’s back to the stage, where co-chair Niki Ashton is just wrapping up what ITQ is sure was an upwaking introduction to Nova Scotia MLA Lenore Zann, who is apparently going to tell us all how important arts and culture is to the Canadian economy. Which sounds like the perfect opportunity to forage up something from the kitchen, so ITQ will meet you back here in a few minutes. Ooh, I wonder if she’ll call for more draconian copyright laws. That wouldn’t go over well with Charlie Angus at all.

8:20 AM

Stop buying Hollywood programs, Canadian broadcasters! Our cathode tubes need more Canada. How long before we get to resolutions? The agenda on the website is no help at all, and with the leader’s speech slated for 11:30 am Atlantic time, they’re going to have to triple fast-forward through the policy debate.  Oh, and according to Zann — who is, for anyone who didn’t follow the last provincial election, is, herself, a “freelance actor” and playwright  —  we need a cultural policy that means more acting jobs for older women — which, by current TV/movie standards, would cover pretty much everyone on the wrong (or, depending on your perspective, right) side of 25.

8:28 AM

Okay, Zann – who is cute as a button, by the way, and should really consider making the jump to federal politics if she isn’t already contemplating just that – wraps up with a cheery “break a leg” for Jack Layton, and then it’s on to the policy resolutions, with the first block of proposals on strengthening human rights.

An Albertan delegate pops up to ask a deeply arcane and technical question about the process, and how directives versus position statements will be added to the policy booklet — it’s actually too arcane and technical for even ITQ to follow, which is saying something. Sister Chair tells him that it will all go to Federal Council, and moves onto the first resolution, which would prevent violence against indigenous women. Okay, so this is going to be one of those policy sessions — where every single resolution will be adopted unanimously. I guess it’s good for party unity, although it makes for pretty dry liveblogging. A Winnipeg delegate gives us a quick backgrounder on the murder and disappearance of Aboriginal women, and then gives the rest of his time over to his Aboriginal sisters. I wonder if they’ll insist on applying the gender parity rule for speakers on this resolution.

8:39 AM

The co-chair of the party’s Aboriginal commission gives a passionate, deeply personal defence of the resolution and gets an (entirely deserved) impromptu standing ovation, and with that, they go to a vote, which is, entirely unsurprisingly, unanimous.

Next resolution: Expanding party policy on the rights of Aboriginal people, and investing in First Nations, Inuit and Metis communities. ITQ sees another unanimous vote in the making, but will let you know if an actual debate breaks out, which seems distinctly unlikely. Sister Chair insists that at least one delegate has to speak to the motion before they can vote, so one does, although he notes that this isn’t exactly a “radical” change; it’s just clarifying language that is already part and parcel of the party’s official policy. As such, it passes unanimously.

8:43 AM

Thanks to a slightly slow off the mark CPAC simultaneous interpreter, ITQ isn’t quite sure what this next resolution covers — something about enshrining a “decade of action” on First Nations rights — but it doesn’t really matter, because it’s going to go through with unanimous support — that is, after Niki Ashton stops shaking her fist from the pro mic and lets it go to a vote. She’s a firecracker, that Niki Ashton — and so far, the first sitting MP to take the floor this morning.

8:49 AM

Or maybe not — someone is actually at the con mic, and not just to make a point of order! The delegate in question wants to refer to the motion back to the resolutions committee, not because he doesn’t support it, but to tweak the language, mostly by making the wording more specific, especially with regards to improving the “third world” conditions on reserves. Another delegate agrees, and wants the language to emphasize the need to “expedite” action on First Nations schools, as well as affordable housing. The motion to refer — oh, come on, CPAC, show us the floor when delegates are voting. Honestly. Anyway, it passes — no idea by how much — and that’s that.

Next up, more money and support for public broadcasting, especially the CBC, and ensuring “nonpartisan” coverage.

8:55 AM

A Francophone delegate from Saskatchewan points out that, although there are several resolutions with a similar thrust, this is the only one that makes specific reference to Radio Canada, and calls on the broadcaster to enhance the services it provides via the internet. The candidate for Hochelaga pops up to voice his support, noting that in his province, Radio Canada is the only outlet that delivers an “independent message” — the private broadcasters all seem to be lobbying for something — and that the privatization of broadcasting is, in fact, the privatization of democracy — a stance that elicits a surprisingly rousing for a Sunday morning round of applause. The motion passes unanimously.

9:00 AM

Watching the twitter stream, ITQ is starting to wonder if her definition of  “debate” is somehow different from that used by NDP convention-goers. Resolutions that pass unanimously after three speakers in favour does not, in her view, constitute debate, but agreement. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, of course, but it’s just silly to pretend that it’s anything else. Oh, and a resolution on funding for the Canada Arts Council carries; Sister Chair doesn’t mention whether it was unanimous, but it looked like it from ITQ.

9:04 AM

Ooh! Controversy! A delegate complains about the flaky translation — so it’s not CPAC, I guess; it’s the NDP that can’t get its interpretation straight — and the interpreter herself then speaks up to remind us all that she needs to find the resolution in order to read it. This is why making the resolution list available to everyone is a good idea. Anyway, the motion in question, which is on the rights of persons with disabilities, is going to pass unanimously, ITQ predicts. The first speaker points out that this would also ensure support for autism treatment across the country — right now, it’s a province-by-province patchwork.

Another speaker points out that the idea is put stuff that is already in the platform into policy, although frankly, the difference between the two is escaping ITQ at the moment. Oh, and she also prefers the term “different abilities”, because it includes everyone. Apparently, last night, they held an Abilities Festival. MUST. NOT. MOCK.

9:13 AM

Sister Chair is getting frustrated, y’all. Quit going to the con mic just to call the vote, delegates. Oh, except according to the outgoing chair of the disabilities commission, who sounds exceptionally out of sorts, insists that the vote cannot be called from the con mic, and if she goes forward with this vote, he’s going to challenge it. Whee. Oh, it’s Kevin Kinsella — I didn’t recognize his voice at first — who lost his run for the presidency to Peggy Nash. Sorry, I probably should have mentioned that earlier, huh? Rebecca Blaikie won the race for party treasurer, too — those were the only positions being contested. Unlike the abilities resolution, which sailed through when they finally got to the vote.

9:16 AM

Oh good, another Ridiculous Hat Wearer heard from: She’s annoyed because there was another delegate — a gentleman in a wheelchair — who wanted to speak to the last motion, and she thinks it was very rude of Sister Chair not to recognize him. Point noted.

And now, another resolution in French. The interpreter — who is becoming a supporting player in today’s drama — apologizes for being late, and goes on to read the motion in English, which would end the homophobic and transphobic treatment of LGBTT people, by removing the ban on blood and organ donation, as well as equal access to health care.

A pro delegate reminds the floor that the party passed “fundamental policy” on the recognition of transgendered rights, and asks us all to imagine how we — yes, all of us — would feel if our blood or organs were rejected because we were a woman, or an Aboriginal person, or a person of colour. Not very equal, am I right, people?

The newly elected chair of the LGBT commission tells us that this is a very important resolution, and gets backup from a Saskatchewan delegate. The motion passes nearly unanimously — it may actually have been unanimous, but Sister Chair didn’t mention it, so we can’t be sure — and that, as it turns out, is the last motion in the block.

9:25 AM

Ooh, the leadership question! With tiled doors! A Brother Chair explains the rules for the leadership balloting, which will take place at the same time as the rest of the policy debate. What will Jack get? 85 percent support? 90 percent? A perfect 100 percent? He reminds delegates that if you support Jack, you vote no — no leadership convention, in other words — and if you don’t, you vote yes, which he admits is a little bit counterintuitive, but that’s just the way it works.

CPAC is now running extreme closeups of unidentified hands shuffling through ballots and writing out their one-word decision – YES or NO.  From that admittedly small sample size, it appears that the current leader is safe. Brother Chair will be back in a half hour or so to reveal the results.

9:30 AM

And now, on to a new theme package — proposals to change the party constitution —  and a delegate pops up to suggest that, rather than read through every single resolution, some of which run to seven or eight pages, they, you know, not do that, since the delegates have the full text in their handbooks. Sister Chair reminds everyone that this is also being broadcast on CPAC, and there are observers in the audience as well, so not everyone can read along. WHICH IS WHY YOU SHOULD PUT THEM ON THE INTERNET. Honestly, people. This is just stupid.

Sister Chair promises that they’ll try to find a way to deal with that, and then it’s onto the resolutions. Which could, in theory, include at least one of the name change motions, depending on how quickly they get through the first — six or so? ITQ doesn’t know exactly how many resolutions are ahead of it, because — are you starting to sense a theme? — SHE DOESN’T HAVE A COPY OF THE LIST.

9:36 AM

Brother Chair is still reading the first resolution, which involves changes to the structure of party councils as well as other tweaks; ITQ stopped paying attention ages ago. Funny thing about constitutional resolutions, though — they tend to inspire the most debate, since party members — of every party, this isn’t exclusive to the NDP — tend to get far more exercised about changes to party policy than the party’s, you know, policy.

9:41 AM

Still. Going. According to the twitterflow, the first name change resolution is seventh on the list, but if even a couple of the other preceding motions are anywhere near this long — and especially if there is actual debate — it seems distinctly unlikely that it will make it to the floor.

9:45 AM

Done! Reading, that is — now, over to the pro mic, who wants to — oh, come ON — who wants to refer, which is the NDP procedural version of a hoist, ITQ is pretty much positive of that now. His concern has something to do with adding one more prairie seat to the council, but now another delegate is complaining that he was at the mic long before the speaker first recognized by Sister Chair, and he wants to propose a motion to divide. Ooh, drama! Sister Chair agrees that this motion is, in fact, dividable, which carries.

Does that mean they’re going to go to clause-by-clause? Oh, for heaven’s sake.

9:48 AM

Okay, according to the mover of the first bit of the now-divided motion, this will make the party’s constitution a more “utilitarian tool” by “cleaning up” some of the language. Another delegate points out that there’s been no direction from the convention on exactly how the new preamble should be drafted — gosh, that sounds like something that would actually have garnered some debate on the floor — and as a result, she doesn’t love this motion. She doesn’t love it at all, although she doesn’t know whether she opposes the motion itself. She opposes it in its elemental form, anyway. Another delegate points out that it may be simplistic, but “for gosh’s sake”, this is something they should do — especially when everyone else is paying so much attention to the name change. She doesn’t say that because she wants to take out some of the “great language” that, at the same time, dates back to the Cold War, and as a newly minted member of the executive, she thinks that her brothers and sisters should show a little faith. She wants more debate on this, not something “distractionary” like a name change.

Big, big round of applause.

9:53 AM

The audience is getting feisty — there are audible yells of “call the question” coming from the floor. Apparently, this may be a stalling tactic — that’s from the twitter gossip — although having watched party policy debates before, ITQ has no trouble believing that there are so many delegates at the microphones.

Sister Chair doesn’t  want to call the question just yet, because there are still speakers, and seems to be getting a little bit frazzled. I guess that’s what happens when you get used to resolutions going through with virtually no actual dissent.

9:55 AM

And now, the vote — and it carries, which leads to an outburst of grumbliness from the floor. On to the next motion — not resolution, mind you — which would “clarify the use of language” within the constitution, which currently uses four different phrases to describe riding associations; those would be replaced by the single term “electoral district association”, and the first speaker is in favour. Not so the next speaker, who doesn’t think it would “clarify” anything at all. He believes in using plain English — and plain French — and wants to ‘call a spade a spade’ and stick to the terms already in use.

Motion — which requires two-thirds support — carries. EDA it is!

10:02 AM

After a brief discussion on the meaning of “gender parity” — etymologically, not philosophically — it’s onto the next motion, which seems to have something to do with numbers of delegates allotted to the various recognized affiliate, including labour. A Steelworkers delegate points out that they’ve worked hard for the party, and want to be involved in all aspects of what the party does — and to do that, they need representation. He wants constituency associations — which, ITQ points, are now to be referred to as EDAs — to reach out to labour; in exchange, labour will show them how to run membership drives. Steelworkers vote! (Applause) They want to see “real Steelworker and labour activists” running for office, across the country and throughout the party.

10:05 AM

Twenty — no, eighteen more minutes for this policy round. It’s not looking good for the name change resolution — at least, not from ITQ’s perspective. A delegate suggests the chair should maybe try to hurry it up a little, with obvious crowd support, but the lines behind the mics continue to grow.

Question called — and it passes. Overwhelmingly.

“Did I leave out opposed again,” the chair wonders. Yes. Yes, she did, although as she notes, “at an NDP policy convention, if you make a mistake, they let you know.” Okay, seriously, does anyone out there think that forgetting to call for those opposed would slide by unmentioned at any party convention?

10:12 AM

And now, the clause dealing with representation from the prairie provinces. I think we’re halfway through the first motion at this point, but maybe it’s moving along at a slightly less glacial pace than it seems. Someone moves for it to be referred back to committee, and another delegate wants to know if this will mean Atlantic Canada loses two representatives. Sounds like an excellent question for the policy committee, actually, although the constitution expert person — I have no idea what her name is — says that there’s no instruction to do anything beyond what’s written in the motion, and the Atlantic Canadian delegate wants to add that to the directive to the committee.

10:16 AM

Okay, so basically, the Atlantic Canadian contingent wants to be represented as four separate provinces, since they don’t all think alike.

Hah, a delegate just made a Freudian slip in the midst of insisting that she’s not trying to “rag the puck” knowing that other delegate want to move onto other resolutions: something about a “subtle nam- — er, change” contained in the motion currently on the floor. Which is to refer the prairie/Atlantic representation motion back to committee, in case you’ve lost track.

Motion to refer carries. What happens if the floor vote is close enough that Sister Chair can’t eyeball the result? Is there an equivalent to on division?

Oh, and the main motion passes. Onto lucky number five! Actually, it’s lucky number six, and it’s so lucky — or non-contentious — that they manage to vote on it without a single speaker.

10:21 AM

We’ve made it to the second resolution, people! With — how long to go? Five minutes? Can someone move to extend debate? Because if not, I’m having trouble seeing how they’re going to make it to the name change resolution, and yes, I know how utterly sick you New Democrats are of hearing about it, and how we-the-media are focusing on minutaeia.

This resolution, by the way, elicits a motion to refer due to the proposal to change the visible minorities commission into a “racialized persons commission”, which carries.

10:25 AM

Ooh, someone proposes suspending the rules to add another five minutes of debate. I — don’t know if that will be enough, but let’s see if his motion passes. It — doesn’t. I guess that answers that question.

Yet another speaker – the constitutional expert — wants three more minutes put on the clock so that they can at least vote on the next resolution, which has something to do with the women’s commission. Sister Chair concurs, and it goes to debate. Oh, the excitement! So much excitement, in fact, that Sister Chair forgets that the motion has to be read, first — and it’s a long one, which is why another delegate suggests they dispense. Motion to dispense accepted, so no storytime.

Ooh, that didn’t go over well at all — another delegate just popped up to remind her that the same Sister Chair refused to dispense on the seven page monster motion earlier; the same rules should apply at the end of the debate as the beginning. She agrees, which means it’s the motion has to be read before it can be debated. “What do we do?” She asks, ostensibly off-mic, but then reverses herself, and says that they’re just going to have to dispense, even at the risk of being inconsistent.

10:29 AM

The twitterfeed has spoken:  “New Democrats fail to debate name change at Fed Convention” — and yes, that’s it for the constitutional package, although Sister Chair reminds the floor that all resolutions — including the ones that didn’t make it to the floor — will go to Federal Council.

10:32 AM

And now, emergency resolutions!

10:33 AM

But first, points of order, including one from a highly cranky advocate of the visible minorities committee — that’s racialized persons to you, sir — who wants to know why his commission’s report hasn’t been presented on the floor. Turns out none of them have been presented on the floor, so neither he nor racialized persons nor anyone else should feel slighted. Or, alternately, the groups represented by every party commission should feel slighted. Take your pick.

10:36 AM

Is the floor totally emptying out, or are people sticking around for the emergency resolutions? Also, a delegate is now kvetching that he doesn’t have a copy of the fourth resolution — no, I have no idea what he’s talking about, because — of course — ITQ doesn’t have a copy, just like she doesn’t have a copy of any of the as-amended emergency resolutions, other than the package provided by National Newswatch. Way to use that new technology, New Democrats!

10:39 AM

Okay, what they’re actually dealing with now are the resolutions that were sent back to committee during previous debates — you remember, one on bilateral aid, another on a Decade of Action for indigenous peoples — which are being proposed in groups, which you’d think would speed things up, especially since there’s no longer a need to stall debate to avoid the name change resolution, but there are still speakers piping up with concerns and requests for clarification.

10:41 AM

Alright, now onto emergency motions, starting with a resolution on Omar Khadr, which is introduced by — hey, look, it’s Wayne Marsden, who thinks it’s shameful — shameful, brothers and sisters — that his rights have been so very violated. I’m betting unanimous vote. You?

Another delegate wants to add her support, but also point out that there are other Canadians “detained abroad”, and I use the quotes because she then goes into the case of Nathalie Morin, who is currently unable to leave Saudi Arabia due to the fact that she has children who are citizens — I think that’s the situation — which, with all due respect, doesn’t sound like exactly the same thing. Not that it isn’t equally worrying and worthy of attention, of course.

Yup, unanimous support — now, a motion on the BC salmon industry, introduced by Peter Julian. Hey, where were all these MPs during the policy debate?

10:47 AM

I should probably warn y’all that liveblogging during Layton’s speech is going to be light, since we’ll get the full text of it almost immediately, which means there’s not as much reason to — hey, there’s Peter Stoffer, speaking in support of the salmon fishery motion — anyway, not as much reason to cover every word, since people can read it for themselves at their leisure. I’ll add any thoughts that occur to me, of course, and I’m sure you’ll have lots to say in the comments.

10:49 AM

Salmon motion passes unanimously. Onward – and the NDP standing in solidarity with the people of Iran, thus once again debunking the oft-repeated canard that lefties have been silent on the situation there, and that only C/conservatives really care about human rights. Sorry, just wanted to point that out.

10:55 AM

Grrr. My last update disappeared into the ether — oh, WordPress, your autosave feature is often a virtue, but occasionally makes me want to punch you in the face — but there was, in fact, a dissenting delegate, who felt that the motion on Iran was incomplete, since it didn’t recognize the right of Iran to nuke up just like all those other Western countries: Washington and Israel, he’s talking to you. He calls for all-round disarming, gets scattered applause, and the motion goes through.

Also, the teasers Ian Capstick is doling out on the imminent Layton speech warn of Obamafication the likes of which will make last night look modest.

That’s it for the emergency resolutions, by the way — now, onto Orders of the Day, including the results of the leadership review, and then Jack hits the stage. Can you feel the excitement? CAN YOU?

Results of the leadership review: 89.2 percent voted no, which, as far as Jack is concerned, is a yes. Is that good? I mean, historically, for an NDP leader?

11:08 AM

Huh. I guess we’re getting a Jack tribute video first. Okay, as mentioned above, updates will be light-ish during the speech, although you never know when ITQ might simply be compelled to speak. Oh, look, there’s Peggy Nash — newly elected party president — introducing Jack Layton, in front of a giant green — yes, green — screen emblazoned with “TEAM LAYTON” in English and French, and a sea of Team Layton signs waving frantically in greeting. He’s wearing a green tie, but the signs are orange — and the blue from last night is conspicuously absent from the décor. There are some chants of “Jack, Jack, Jack,” to which he responds, somewhat unnecessarily, “Okay, we’ve got some practicing to do.” Way to return the love, Jack.

Okay, shutting up now. I’m sure I’ll have comments after the speech, and I look forward to reading what y’all have to say, too.

11:32 AM

Alright, it looks like Layton is getting close to the halfway point, at the very least: He’s moved on from his opening schtick, which involved all of those things that people told him “couldn’t be done”, like electing an MP in Alberta, and Quebec, and an NDP government in Nova Scotia — and he’s right. His party has elected an MP in Alberta and Quebec; I’m not sure who would have made that comment about Nova Scotia, though, since as far as ITQ can tell, pretty much everyone was predicting that the NDP would, in fact, win the next provincial election as far back as last year.  I know, I know – rhetorical flourish.

He’s now moved onto talking about “our Canada” — his, the party’s, ideally everyone’s Canada — which is a new Canada, built on new policies – not the old, outdated policies of the past. It’s a good speech, and there are a few interesting updates to the usual NDP boilerplate — cutting red tape for small business? Why, that’s downright 2006 Harperian! — but there’s not all that much, well, new. I’ll link to the text as soon as it goes up, presuming the NDP still believes in posting some material online.

11:40 AM

And that’s it — for the speech, that is, and for convention coverage too, I believe — there are a few events left on the agenda, including a Federal Council meeting, but I don’t think those are open to the media, or at least to television. Jack, by the way, is now on stage surrounded by his caucus — including his Alberta MP, Linda Duncan, resplendent in orange. It’s Team Layton, everyone! What is it about orange and green flashing panels that makes me think of a cheesy seventies gameshow?

Anyway, my bet is that despite the best efforts of the organizers, the main story coming out of the last day of the convention will be the failure to even hold a debate on changing the name. Anne McGrath takes the stage one more time to officially adjourn the proceedings, and the crowd starts to stream out. It’s hard to get a sense of the mood from here, of course, but it sounds like they’re glad to be done with it. Not in a bad way, of course.

UPDATE: As promised, here’s the full text of Layton’s speech. It’s not clear if it’s a transcript of what he actually said, or whether his opening patter really was that prepared; not often do “check against delivery” copies include the word “ya”, as in the following: “I’ve got to tell ya, I’ve had so much fun here in Halifax this weekend, that I’ll be humming Farewell to Nova Scotia/your sea-bound coast for months to come.”

11:44 AM

Oh, good, a closing panel on CPAC — featuring Kevin Lacey — again! — for the Conservatives, and Mike Savage and Don Davies for the Liberals and NDP, respectively. Hilariously, Savage and Davies are wearing what appears to be the exact same camel-coloured suit jackets; they should really put Lacey in the middle, and the other two would look like his backup dancers. Lacey, by the way, thinks that the whole convention showed that the party is still stuck in the past, what with not talking about crime at all; Mike Savage points out the non-appearance of the name change resolution, but Davies maintains that it was a smashing success with exhilarating speakers.

Martin Stringer brings up the issue of Afghanistan – which Layton mentioned in his speech – and puts the question to Lacey: Can Canadians trust Stephen Harper to pull out, as agreed? Lacey responds by reminding everyone that his party’s leader has been clear, unlike Michael Ignatieff, who supported torture and all that stuff. Way to squeeze in that talking point, Kevin!

Meanwhile, Savage wants to make a difference for Canadians, “like Liberals do.” He’s on the EI panel, too — poor guy isn’t getting much of a break this summer at all.

Don Davies then makes Martin Stringer correct him by claiming that, contrary to the other parties’ contention that this is just the same old NDP, at this convention, they passed a resolution to cut income tax for small businesses. Er, no, you didn’t, Stringer points out — that resolution never made it to the floor. Yes, but it will still go to Federal Council, Davies counters. Lacey also mocks the NDP for not even being able to hold a debate on the name change, and then takes a shot at the Nova Scotia NDP, and Darrell Dexter swanning into announce a policy that effectively raises costs for Nova Scotians. On that note, Stringer decides that we’ve heard just about enough from these guys, and pulls the plug on that segment.

He’s still going strong, but ITQ is going to sign off — if anything really dramatic happens, she’ll update this liveblog, but after spending the last three and a half hours glued to CPAC, she figures she deserves a break. Feel free to chatter on in the comments, of course — and again, I hope you’ve all enjoyed the coverage!

12:02 PM

Er, scratch that off-signing — okay, okay, FINE. I’ll liveblog the Layton scrum — but that’s it! I do have a life outside of this liveblog, you know. Anyway, Jack thinks the most important thing to come out of this convention is all that boffo advice on reaching out to voters, particularly using the internet. You know what would be a great start? Putting your policy resolutions online!

Another reporter points out that pretty much every motion presented was something that could have been found at “any previous NDP convention I’ve ever been to”. What, exactly, does he mean by “new”? According to Jack, there’s the very exciting, new idea of creating a new energy economy — without the tar sands — as well as helping small business through all those resolutions that didn’t actually make it to the floor. Also, helping seniors — that’s a priority for the NDP.

Why, specifically, will people vote for him? They want a government that’s on their side.

The Toronto Star’s Richard Brennan points out that he didn’t hear a single thing in that speech that he hasn’t heard “25 times already”. Okay, so it wasn’t just ITQ. Anyway, Jack — who is looking a little bit harried — feels differently.

Ooh, a pot question! That has to be a citizen journalist, right? Anyway, he asks why the NDP is “turning away” from the issue, which Jack denies — the NDP still supports decriminalization. “What about legalization?” Jack repeats himself: the NDP supports decriminalization.

Ahh, the name change. Jack points out that it’s not an entirely new discussion for the party — it’s come up before, just not in such a concrete way – and he doesn’t think it distracted from the policy changes on the floor.

He also really likes his “carnival of greed” line.

12:18 PM

Grr. Okay, another update lost to the mercurial internet gods  — blame WordPress  again. Very annoying, because it got very interesting at the end there. A surprisingly feisty — even hostile — press conference, which included a very interesting question from Julie Van Dusen on Ignatieff as torture-defending-tarsands-supporting-Iraq-war-endorser, which Jack actually deflected, in part — he disagrees with Ignatieff on the tarsands, but then shifts back to criticizing Stephen Harper. Interesting.

Anyway, that’s it for the scrum — which ended rather hurriedly, and apologies for missing the middle part, but I’m not going to rewind just to re-liveblog from where my missing update left off. I’m pretty sure you got the gist: Despite his cheery assertions to the contrary, the consensus amongst the journalists on the scene seems to be that there was nothing terribly new about what came out of this convention, and that his message to Canadians seems to be the same one he used last time: the NDP is “different”; they offer “new ideas”, but he  can’t really explain whether the party itself is headed in a new direction, or the country is just going to catch up as it carries on in the same one it’s always been taking.

That’s really it for ITQ now — sorry for the technical glitches, and once again, feel free to chat amongst yourselves in the comments. Happy Sunday to all!


 

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