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.