Perhaps the biggest take-home thing from the New Democrats’ biennial policy convention in Montreal was the adoption of a new preamble to the party’s constitution. With a vote of 960 to 188, delegates approved the preamble, described by leader Thomas Mulcair, as “the way to connect and reach out beyond our traditional base.”
Conservative MP Rob Anders is “a politician who isn’t afraid to speak his mind”. Supposedly. He once called South African anti-apartheid icon, Nelson Mandela, a “terrorist“. But this time, the Calgary West MP went too far. During an interview with iPolitics’ Laura Stone, Anders suggested that NDP Leader, Thomas Mulcair, helped push Jack Layton into an early grave.
This is what Anders said:
I actually think one of the great stories that was missed by journalists was that Mr. Mulcair, with his arm twisted behind the scenes, helped to hasten Jack Layton’s death.It was very clear to me watching the two of those gentlemen in the front benches, that Jack Layton was ill and that Mr. Mulcair was making it quite obvious that if Jack wasn’t well enough to fight the campaign and fight the election that he should step aside, and that because of that, Mr. Layton put his life at risk to go into the national election, and fight it, and did obviously an amazing job considering his state of health, and that he did that partly because of the arm-twisting behind the scenes by Mulcair and then subsequently died.
Of course, as politicians always do, Anders has apologized for the insult. And Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s office has distanced itself from the comments:
To be clear, Mr. Anders’ comments regarding Jack Layton in no way represent the views of @pmharper or the Government.
— Andrew MacDougall (@PMO_MacDougall) October 1, 2012
Read more from iPolitics.
New Democrat Denise Savoie has resigned as the Member of Parliament for Victoria. Announcing the resignation in Victoria today, the 68-year old Savoie cited health reasons. Her resignation will take effect August 31.
“This spring, my doctor gave me a health warning,” Savoie said in a letter to fellow New Democrats. “After I considered these facts over the summer, I realized that I cannot continue to represent my constituents to the standards that they have come to expect nor indeed to my own standards. Hence my announcement today.”
Savoie was first elected to the House of Commons in 2006. During the May 2011 federal election, she was elected with over 50 per cent of the vote. She served as the Deputy Speaker.
“A year ago yesterday, my dear friend and leader Jack Layton passed away,” she said. “As it did for Tom, for our caucus and for all Canadians, his loss affected me deeply. It made me reflect on the fragility of life and the need to make the most of each day we have left.”
The MP’s resignation brings the number of vacant seats in the House of Commons to three.
Conservative MP Lee Richardson resigned his Calgary Centre seat on May 30 to serve as Alberta Premier Alison Redford’s principal secretary. Another Conservative, Bev Oda, resigned from both Harper‘s cabinet and her Ontario riding of Durham on July 31 after a scandalous public life defined by profligacy, scandal, inefficiency and controversy.