By: Obert Madondo | The Canadian Progressive:
The intensifying scrutiny of Nycole Turmel, NDP leader Jack Layton‘s choice to replace him while he’s away for cancer treatment is healthy for Canada’s democracy. But the negativity by the right-wing media misses the point. Self-righteous right-wing pundits are blind to what Layton and all progressives see in The Hull-Aylmer MP: a leader.
If Layton didn’t think Turmel was capable of filling in his “big shoes”, he’d have annointed someone else.
Turmel may be a rookie at Parliament Hill, but she’s no rookie leader. She served as president of the Public Service Alliance of Canada, the country’s biggest public sector union. After the May 2 federal election, her colleagues selected as NDP caucus chair
As leader of Her Majesty’s Official Opposition, Turmel’s job will be no easy ride. She’ll be expected to “lead” and provide continuity for the NDP. She’ll be expected ensure that the NDP and it’s 102 MPs provide a progressive response to Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s legislative agenda and issues of the day. She’ll continue mentoring the NDP’s 58 rookie MPs.
The interim NDP leader will also have to muster Canada’s foreign policy without delay. Our involvement in the civil war in Libya is questionable. The war has reached a stalemate.
Most importantly, Turmel and the NDP will be expected to play a big role in the (re)shaping of Canada’s foreign policy. Under Harper, Canada is slowly abdicating it’s traditional global thrown of peace builder, human rights defender and level-headed arbiter of global conflicts. We now solve complex global issues militarily.
Layton’s faith in Turmel shows his faith in the NDP’s ability to lead. He’s responded to suggestions that the NDP may faulter without him. He’s shown that the party is bigger than him.