OLP: Crombie Wins
Thoughts On The OLP Leadership
This fucking sucks.
I don’t usually get invested in politicians, mostly because they’ve broken me into a cynical position over the years. The Trudeau government is the only time I’ve truly bought into someone, and then the single issue I wanted Trudeau to implement was abandoned under false pretenses (electoral reform). The fact that Nate managed to make me believe is a minor miracle, frankly.
I’m devastated not because I was wrong – outside of the one column from when the membership numbers were announced, my argument was never that Nate would win, but that he should. If you’d like to dunk on me for pundit failure I really couldn’t care less – I feel better about my feel for the OLP race than the Bonnie first ballot truthers should feel, at least. On the broader point, I feel no shame about those because I was correct. Nate’s the right leader. That he didn’t win doesn’t make me waver from that view.
What’s next is complicated, and it’s not helped that I’m writing this in an increasing state of drunkenness. (Cards on the table, this column is being written right now because I know it’ll do 3x the traffic if it comes out tonight versus if it comes out Sunday or Monday.) All I know is that the OLP’s made their choice, and the NDP are celebrating tonight.
And I’m just fucking sad.
The problem for many on the progressive left, and the thing that’s been said many times in private, is that the plans Crombie ended the campaign with are genuinely great. Her housing plan as announced is incredible, the health and education plans that she cribbed from Adil when he dropped out are strong, and frankly there’s not much between Nate’s plans and hers on the other issues.
If Crombie wants to unite the party it’s going to take more than good policy, because the policy on paper is fine. My objections to her were not with the content of her plans, but with the sincerity of her beliefs. She is the leader who said we need to govern from right of centre, that called John Tory a political hero, that criticized Wynne for spending too much on dental and pharma. Even as she’s pivoted left, she’s never proved anything except that she will say or do anything to win the votes of whoever is listening at any time.
The way she’ll change that belief is not through merely poaching a few ideas from Nate, but she needs to make a wholesale offer to the left of the party, or we’ll all just leave. The OLP is not owed an existence or major party status, and if those with a leftwing prospectus and ambition decide that the NDP is the better option then the party’s fucked. If Crombie seriously wants to solve this, she needs him on board. Nate needs to be an active participant in the Crombie leadership, or else Marit Stiles will eat the OLP’s lunch.
The damage might be done – I know the plural of anecdote ain’t data, but there are a lot of people who have said it’s Nate or the NDP next time. At the end of the day, there’s nothing here if the voters who kept the NDP at bay in the Dalton and Kathleen days, and have done so federally, decide the new leader’s a conservative in all but name. But if there’s going to be an attempt to keep the tent broad, it has to start with a big offer to Nate.
The NDP are smiling right now, that’s for sure – it’s not really reporting in any meaningful sense because they’ve openly said it, but they want Bonnie because it’s easier to paint the next election now as a two horse race. In the same way the Federal NDP are squeezed by the constraints of First Past The Post, Stiles is attempting to position themselves as the beneficiaries now. They already have a website up attacking Crombie mostly with the words of Nate and Yasir. It’s gonna work, unless she can make a big offer fast.
To those who will read this as sour grapes from someone who lost, they are; my candidate lost and I’m fucking pissed. But it’s also not about the party for me. I supported the NDP in 2018 and the Liberals in 2022 (and the 2023 byelection) because I think Doug Ford is a deeply terrible Premier who is making things worse for this province. I’m not a conservative, and I’m not a voter who wants this province governed from the right of centre, or by someone who thinks John Tory was a good Mayor of Toronto, either on governance grounds or on the whole “he’s a sex pest” grounds. I don’t want a conservative, and so I now have one viable option.
I don’t want this, because I truly worry about sharing a political party with the ideological dead enders and sanctimonious know everythings that lace the ONDP, and who are advocating for an anti-semite to be returned to the party in good standing. I don’t want this, but we’re here.
I supported Nate because being a liberal is more important than being a Liberal. If those who won today are under the illusion that I’m alone in that, then they’ll win the battle and lose the war that is saying the OLP from irrelevance.