28 October 2005

In the Land of Irony


At the risk of not using the word "irony" correctly, I note this post on Jack Harris' resignation as leader of the provincial New Democratic Party. At least, I am confident that in this instance, this word doesn't apply.

It is passing strange that someone who enthusiastically supports [but in a completely non-partisan way] a federal political party that repeatedly demonstrates its inability to connect with Canadian public opinion beyond a small portion presumes to criticize the NDP for the same thing on a local level.

Jack's departure does indeed mark the passing from public life of someone who has served longer in the current session of the House of Assembly than most others. The exceptions would be Tom "Backupable" Rideout and Jim Hodder, both of who were first elected in the 1970s. They had a break in their service; Jack's been sitting continuously in the legislature since the early 1990s.

The provincial New Democrats have enjoyed some measure of success over the past 20 years, managing to keep two members in the House for a significant chunk of that time. They just haven't managed to widen their appeal beyond a couple of seats. I'll leave it to a full-time political scientist to delve into the reasons for that inability to climb beyond the NDP's current status.

A more interesting thing to ponder is going to be Jack's replacement. The Liberals are having a hard time getting anyone to declare an interest in their head-honcho job. We probably won't hear a name or two until the spring. In the NDP case, aside from somebody like Wayne Lucas, there doesn't seem to be anyone who might want to lead the Orange Machine provincially.

Maybe Jack's departure, which doesn't include resigning his seat, will end speculation Danny was about to appoint his former law partner to the provincial court bench.

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