Sunday, 18 December 2011

Romeo Saganash in the 'Peg Part III: Climate Change & Regaining the West

Note: This is the third installment in a series of posts on Romeo Saganash's Friday Dec. 16, 2011 visit to Winnipeg. Previous installments dealt with Saganash's vision for Canada and his thoughts on how to stop the Dumb on Crime agenda. This post deals with his strategies for dealing with Climate Change and the Federal NDP's weakened position in it's Western Canadian craddle.  

After placing moral responsibility on Manitoba New Democrats for directing the provincial branch of the Party away from a Dumb on Crime agenda, the audience member who had the floor asked how Saganash would deal with the challenges of Climate Change.

To begin with, the Quebec MP noted that Canada was no longer at the forefront of the fight against climate change, thanks to Harper. He explained that the Prime Minister is obstructing key, collaborative international agreements to deal with the crisis, which is raising the ire of the international community. To fight climate change, the leadership hopeful said, means reclaiming a leading role in drafting multilateral agreements and discontinuing the government's obstruction. With his negotiation skills Saganash feels that he's up to the challenge of making Canada an environmental leader yet again.

Another member of the crowd then asked about strategies to get more MPs from Western Canada and to buildup membership in what was the NDP's cradle - the prairies. The leadership hopeful responded with a few points:

  • The NDP has to reconcile the urban-rural divide and urban-suburban divide a lot better than it's presently doing. This entails convincing many former Conservative voters in ridings that Dippers narrowly lost to vote NDP.
  • The NDP must convince the 40% of Canadians who didn't cast a ballot last federal election to start voting in upcoming elections to win in the West and elsewhere. The Party also has to reach out to aboriginal voters (who are increasing in number each election). There are many ridings where aboriginal voters can swing the results. 
  • To win back the West and many ridings where the NDP was a close second to the Conservatives, the Federal Party must work closely with local constituency associations. This involves funding and other types of support. 
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Romeo Saganash further argued that he is the man for the challenging job of bridging the Western-Eastern and Anglophone/Franocophone divide. Anglophones, he noted, generally don't pigenhole him as a Francophone and Francophones generally don't pigenhole him as an Anglophone.

After giving some (pretty good) solutions to NDP woes in Western Canada, he went on to take yet more questions (one particularly relevant to the West). These will be the subject of upcoming installments in this series. 

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