Two months to go

Alice Funke has a comprehensive take on where the NDP leadership race stands, where it should be headed and what New Democrats should be thinking about.

 Does the candidate have the necessary experience to lead the party, command respect in all quarters, and run a national government with all its complexities in the modern world? What are the different candidates’ campaigns for the leadership showing the members about how they would try to unseat the Conservatives and install the first ever federal social democratic government in Canada? Does the candidate’s style favour decisiveness or consultation; and to the extent those are opposites, which is preferable? How well will the candidate understand, communicate with and advocate for various parts of the country (Quebec, rural areas and the hinterland, major urban centres, etc.), or the electorate (women, younger voters, the poor, the suburbs, aboriginal citizens, and the increasingly diverse ethnic make-up of the population, the house of labour, the various wings of the environmental movement, professionals, academics, etc.)?

If the leader is the party’s chief strategist, how canny are the strategic options they’re proposing in their leadership campaign platforms? How well does the candidate get along with his or her colleagues? Do the candidates take risks? And if so, are they well-calculated, well-executed ones? Who is thinking about the overall interests of the party and country, rather than just their own campaign? How well do they parry attacks from their colleagues, and/or the other parties? And, can their campaigns land an effective attack against an opponent? Who is the “helluva guy/gal” that can connect with people both in person and across the media, in both official languages?

In this week’s print edition, I take a look at Brian Topp’s candidacy. As I write in that piece—spoiler alert—the consensus wisdom has the race narrowing to a lead pack of four that includes Mr. Topp, Thomas Mulcair, Peggy Nash and Paul Dewar.

That story will be on newsstands Thursday, but I’ll be emptying my notebook over the next few days.

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