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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Passing the torch

I have avoided writing about my party politics on this blog because I don't think party politics belongs in municipal politics. However, I think it's important to clarify the record about what happened at the London West NDP  nomination meeting tonight.

I have been managing campaigns for the NDP since 1979. I ran as a candidate federally in 2004 and 2006, each time bringing the vote to new heights for our party. Last month, that was exceeded by out candidate, Peter Ferguson, whose campaign I managed.

The NDP is on a wave, federally and, I believe, provincially. I think there is a great opportunity to make significant progress in the coming provincial election providing that we have the right candidate. I thought I was that candidate. And I was not comfortable with the candidates who had come forward at the time that I filed my nomination papers.

But there should be more to politics than trading in on a name. You need to think about the future, where the party is going, who will carry the banner.

A few weeks ago, a new candidate came forward, Jeff Buchanan, a social worker with the Family Court Clinic. I met him, liked him, was sorry he had not been among the early contenders. But it wasn't until his address to the membership at the nomination meeting this evening that I became aware of the depth of his conviction, his commitment to social justice, his understanding of the issues and his ability to articulate them. He had everyone spellbound, me included.

He had everything going for him, except the votes and the campaign manager. And I was able to supply both.

And that is what I did. I asked the membership to support him, and let them know that if he wanted me, I would be delighted to manage his campaign.

It was hard to do, but I think it was the right thing. There comes a time when you know you have to pass the torch.

As people came up to congratulate us both, a Liberal friend whispered, "You wouldn't see anything like this happening at a Liberal nomination meeting!"

And probably not a Conservative one, either, I would guess.

But we need to look to the future. So when a bright, articulate, enthusiastic young person comes along, it's best to encourage him, not defeat him.


Emma Dinicol said...

You are amazing! It is people like you that make the NDP the party it is and make me proud to be a member of it. What an incredible way to start a campaign! Go Gina, Go Jeff and Go London West NDP!
Emma Dinicol

Sandy Levin said...

Good on you Gina.

Leila Paul said...

Another way to go would have been to have him as your campaign manager and groom him for the next time.

Too bad, you might have had a chance of beating the incumbent. This guy might have been good next time around, but if he loses once it's going to be harder next time.

I'm disappointed. I want an experienced person there's too much at stake in the next four years. He should have cut his teeth working on your campaign and if you'd won, he could have learned a lot working for you at Queen's Park.

Your intentions were good and right. The young own the future, but they need good grounding first.

One good impassioned speech does not a candidate make. This reminds me of the young guy who should have been the candidate (his name eludes me at the moment) and he tearfully stepped aside for Megan Walker who lost badly to Glen Pearson. He said to Megan This is your time. No it was not. It was his time.

Likewise, this should have been your time.

Vicky S. said...

Gina I had hoped you would have been nominated, but you're right we all should be cognizant of 'when it's time to pass the torch' well done.
Vicky S.

ema said...

I trust your judgement in this as in most things political. I am proud to count you as a friend. All politicians should have such class!!!

Anonymous said...

I applaud your thinking here, but have to disagree. By virtue of what you did, you have proven that YOU are indeed the right person for the job. Now I hope your party sees that and THEY do the right thing.

Barry Wells said...

Stephen Maynard threw his support behind opponent Megan Walker at the Oct. 26 [2006] London-North-Centre NDP nomination meeting at the Central Branch of the London Public Library.

Anonymous said...

I noticed Mr. Buchanan's brochure states:

"Of the many social issues that deeply concern me, poverty and homelessness has been a particular interest. I wrote my thesis on 'The effects of receiving assistance from Ontario Works on ones sense of self emotional well-being.'"

As I suggested to Mr. Buchanan last night, I hope he will press home his poverty/homelessness concerns now that he is the NDP candidate.

Gosse said...

Gina, I am honoured to count you as my friend. People like you give politicians a good name. You are class personified. The next generation needs to step up, and we will have to give them our support and encouragement.

SteveParker said...

It's nice to see politics above board and on the high road. Mr. Buchanan has been given big shoes to fill. Way to go Gina!

Meer Sahib P.Eng. said...

Gina, I was almost certain you would win by acclamation. So sorry we missed an experienced and well liked activist.

But what an honourable act - like the candle which illuminates the room. What you did proves your mettle.

Hope Mr. Buchanan will be a strong upholder of NDP values and principles.

Meer Sahib P.Eng.

Oliver Hobson said...

It was great to see the record set straight in the Free Press...all be it in a letter that was sent to them and published.

Hopefully you're just switching gears...though you've done more than a fair share of bettering the community around you already!

Hats off to you!