Who might be in, who's definitely out

Despite a report that he’s made a decision to seek the NDP leadership, here’s what Paul Dewar said on his own behalf after QP yesterday.

You know the leadership convention is March 24th I believe and January is the drop-dead date for people to submit their name. I have been talking to people across the country.  There is a group of people who are organizing on my behalf.  I’ve been in touch with them regularly and I’ll be, you know, staying engaged with them and hearing from them as to the support that they’ve heard from across the country and I’ll make a decision at that point when I’ve heard back. But, you know, when you’re talking about something as important as leadership, you need to – I think it’s important to take the time to talk to people.  This is – you know, this is a seven-month process and so I’ve got a team in place that have been talking to people across the country and organizers and we need to hear back from all of them and making the decision based on that feedback so.

In response to a subsequent question, he used the phrase “if I was to run.” Conversely, Megan Leslie is now definitely not running, as she explained in a note posted to her Facebook friends this morning. To wit.


Over the past weeks, many Canadians have encouraged me to run for the leadership of the NDP, and have offered their precious time and money for organizing a leadership campaign. I have been overwhelmed with their generosity of spirit.  I would really like to thank everyone, the MPs, young people, Facebook group members and community activists that have expressed their support for my candidacy and written such kind words to me.

I am writing to declare that I do not intend to seek the leadership of the New Democratic Party.  After reflection, I have decided it is not my time.

I firmly believe in the power of all forms of political action.  This includes organizing in your community, writing letters to the editor, being a Member of Parliament, the leader of party and Prime Minister of Canada.  All of these forms of political activity are required to change the world.  I have decided that, at this point, I will contribute by being an active member of the official opposition’s caucus and as an advocate for my constituents in Halifax.

I hope to see a wide range of candidates seeking the leadership of our party and encourage Canadians to join the party to help elect our new leader.  I believe it is important that the NDP maintain an open attitude towards new ideas, new people and new styles of leadership.  I would like to share some of my thoughts on the type of leadership I would like to see for the NDP.

Transformative – The NDP is a party and a movement.  We seek power as a means towards the objective of building a better society.  We need a leader that can define common values and build a more solidaristic society, so we can really change things when the NDP forms a national government.

Climate Change – The youth that live today are facing the prospect of inheriting a poisoned planet.  Climate change is the most critical issue of our times, yet it often gets lost in political debates.  We need a leader that can tackle environmental issues with principle, vision and creativity.

Feminist and Youthful – I encourage women and youth to seek the leadership of the NDP.  However, the next leader need not be a woman and need not be a youth.  It is possible to be neither of these things, but still take a political approach that is youthful and feminist.  Feminist entails an equal voice for women and openness to different values and methods of organizing community.  To be youthful one only needs to have the drive to change things and hope for the future.

A New National Unity Narrative – Dealing with linguistic and cultural differences is an essential fact of the Canadian experience.  I have learned that for a new generation of Quebecois the critical issues of climate change, education and the economy have taken precedence over the sovereignty question.  Still old forms of politics linger in the old political parties and the media.  The NDP has transcended the old national unity debates by emphasizing our respect for Quebec and promoting a shared vision for a progressive Canada.  In Quebec and in the rest of Canada, the NDP has a powerful national unity narrative to tell.  I believe that our new leader will need to be able to communicate in French and English, but most importantly, they must speak to the new aspirations of Quebecers and other Canadians.

As a member of the NDP, with a vote in the leadership race, I will be thinking of these criteria and values when I make my decision.  Jack’s two most important words for our caucus meetings were teamwork and respect, and it will be important for any future leader to honour these two concepts as well. With that in mind, I will also look forward to talking with Canadians about their ideas on how to create a more sustainable and just Canada, to share with my new leader, my caucus and with all Canadians.

Megan Leslie

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