The public's preferred alternative to the governing Conservatives held it's biennial convention over the weekend.
The theme of the meeting was election readiness. The New Democrats do not appear to be lackadaisical about the gains the party made in last year's election that made political history in the province. They picked up five seats and the highest percentage of votes that they have ever received.
Both the party and the leader continue to break glass ceilings. The NDP are a real force in provincial politics. Now they want to concentrate on the organization, policy and fundraising efforts that it will take to build on those gains.
"The NDP do need a leader. People are tired of the Liberals and the PC's..they want change. I think it is scary that Stumbledale is that bad that the NDP could form government. " says an old Liberal acquaintance.
Back in 2004 when I was the Director of Policy and Operations in the Opposition ofice, I oversaw some research into what I felt was the second
largest threat facing the Liberal Party of Newfoundland and Labrador in
the long term. The biggest long term threat was the lack of effort that was being
applied to managing the debt and re-organizing the parties grass root
The second largest threat may rise to the surface this fall. It is the
potential rise in the electability of New Democrats to the provincial
House of Assembly. The NDP had not formed a government in Nova Scotia in
2004, but they were heading for the official opposition and government
was within reach. Voting habits in the traditional two party system had
changed. The NDP were not prospering in the rural farming, mining and
fishing towns where unionism and co-opertism were strong. The growth was
in the urban areas. It was this growth, and the slow but steady gains
that made be think, threat to the establishment
The provincial NDP have a professional dedicated staff. The residual of
the official opposition not playing an A -Game has meant that the NDP
leader has garnered more media opportunities and credibility at the
expense of the Liberals, particularly in vote rich St. John's.
recent electoral success of the NDP proves that change can happen
quickly once it starts to take hold. An NDP campaign that is full of
electable community, municipal and business leaders as opposed to names
on ballots is a force to be reckoned with.
Imagine supporters shelling out $150 a piece to hear Federal Official Opposition Leader Tom Mulcair rally the troops. A few years ago they would have been lucky to get 100 people out to hear a national leader offering free soup and sandwiches.
Stating they are on a roll is not partisan drivel, it is reflected in
the polls, which continue to show that the Newfoundlanders and
Labradorians see the NDP as the best alternative to the governing
Money is the grease that moves the political machine.It pays for
full-time organizers, for polling, for strategic communications, for
mail outs, fundraising letters, phone calls and media buys. It looks
like supporters are more than prepared to make sure the provincial NDP
are on an even battlefield going into future campaigns. Preparing now, for an election three years away is smart politics.
In a competitive three party system, a crumbing government does not ensure gains for the official opposition.