Seamanship Quotation

“In political activity, then, men sail a boundless and bottomless sea; there is neither harbour for shelter nor floor for anchorage, neither starting-place nor appointed destination.”
— from Michael Oakeshott's
Political Education” (1951)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Praising Jack Layton and branding his successor

Included in this morning’s Globe and Mail coverage of the death of Jack Layton, room was found for four character sketches of his most likely successor, Deputy New Democrat Leader Thomas Mulcair. Here’s the word from Canada’s national newspaper and guardian of good character and rectitude in Canadian politics:

“Mr. Mulcair is well respected and fluently bilingual. And his work to make the NDP a viable option for Quebeckers may be rewarded by the Party’s membership. But he also is renowned for his mercurial temper.”
—Gloria Galloway, p. A5
“The task may fall to Thomas Mulcair—an impressive mind, but irascible at times—or Vancouver MP Libby Davies—to the left on the NDP’s spectrum.”
—John Ibbitson, p. A5
“Thomas Mulcair, the deputy leader and a Quebec MP, will almost certainly run to replace Mr. Layton, but he is not nearly as well known, lacks at least at first glance the former leader’s sunny ways, and remains unproven as a political commodity in Quebec, let alone elsewhere in Canada.”
—Jeffry Simpson, p. A 9
“Quebec MP Thomas Mulcair is talented, but his emotional volatility worries many.
—Lawrence Martin, p. A 13
Can’t say we haven’t been told.
The thematic consistency of these four hurried sketches is impressive. But let’s wait for a few telling details—even concrete gossip, along with studying Mulcair’s  performance over  the next few months will help.
We do know that Mulcair was Quebec’s Minister of Sustainable Development and Parks for three years, securing the unanimous support of the Quebec Assembly for Quebec’s Sustainable Development Plan, including amendments to Quebec’s Charter of Human Rights. Of course, he did quit the Liberal Government of Jean Charest and had the audacity to try to make something out of the flimsy New Democrats of Quebec. 
Upon leaving the Quebec Liberals, it was revealed that he always was a hard man to manage. Sounds promising.

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