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NDP convetion, Friday


  • Elizabeth Thompson

    The final speeches have been delivered. Delegates have been wined, dined and wooed.

    Today, they decide who will be the next leader of the NDP and potentially the next prime min-ister of Canada.

    However, much of that will play out far from the constant glare of the television cameras. Signs, placards and the traditional con-vention hoopla is only the tip of a very large iceberg.

    The real action will be taking place below the surface as each candidate moves its get-out-the-vote operation into overdrive.

    Phone banks will be dialing non-stop. Campaign workers will be surfing cyberspace and social media. Prominent supporters of each candidate will take to the airwaves, talking up their can-didates and spinning develop-ments to their camps advantage.

    In the end, nobody knows for sure what will happen.

    Unlike traditional delegated conventions, the New Demo-cratic Party is using a straight one-member, one-vote system to choose its next leader. While roughly 132,00 NDP members are eligible to vote and 55,659 or 41 per cent have voted through advance preferential ballots,

    76,341 had not yet voted before the convention began. In all, 4,212 have travelled to the To-ronto Convention Centre, which still leaves up to 72,129 eligible voters who could be voting in the privacy of their homes or smart phones, far from the dynamic of the convention floor.

    While many of them may not vote at all, that invisible majority leaves a fair amount of potential for political intrigue.

    Campaigns have phone banks set up in different cities across the country and have identified their core supporters as well as those who might be willing to come to

    Invisible majority will rule the dayAway from the placards and hoopla, 72,129 members have yet to vote


    Even after the votes are counted, questions at the heart of the race will remain

    Colin Horgan

    I look at our great country and I see his legacy, Olivia Chow told the thousands gathered Friday evening in Toronto for the NDP leadership convention. She was referring, of course, to Jack Lay-ton, the man whose shoes one of seven candidates will inevitably be asked to fill or at least, to oc-cupy, come some time on Satur-day.

    The tribute brought back mem-ories of the funeral nobody ex-pected last summer. Laytons friends and family appeared on the stage to remember what Lay-ton stood for love, equality, hope and to remind party members of the importance of continuing that journey. Even Laytons politi-cal opponents were there, albeit via video.

    Former prime ministers Jean Chrtien and Brian Mulroney praised Laytons commitment to Canada and the political process. People like to dump on politicians, Chrtien said, but Layton was a good one a professional who connected to people and hoped to make their lives better.

    Mulroney called Layton a great man. It was always an honour to be in his company.

    Unlike at Laytons funeral, the focus was very much on the fu-ture. The message: New Demo-crats must heed Laytons vision and carry through on realizing his dreams among them, defeat-

    Olivia Chow waves to NDP members during the evening tribute to her late husband, former NDP leader Jack Layton. KYLE HAMILTON/iPOLITICS

    March 24, 2012

    All of you are the Layton legacy, Chow says

    Phone banks will be dialing non-stop. Campaign workers

    will be surfing cyberspace

    and social media. Prominent supporters

    will take to the airwaves, talking up

    their candidates and spinning


    Breaking news and analysis,photos, videos, cartoons, details on the partys parties plus everything you need to know as you cast your vote

  • March 24, 2012 | iPolitics.ca 2

    Each of you carries Jacks vision and dream in your heart

    Follow us on Twitter at @iPoliticsCA | Like us on Facebook at facebook.com/ipoliticsCA

    Contribute to our Instagram galleries by using the hashtag #ipcaNDP

    Join the conversation at Pinterest at pinterest.com/ipoliticsCA

    Photos by Kyle Hamilton

  • iPolitics.ca | March 24, 2012 3

    WHO WE AREiPolitics.ca is Canadas go-to source for independent, non-partisan political news, infor-mation and analysis.Here are just some of the features youll find on our site every day:

    THE MORNING BRIEFOur daily newsletter drives con-versations about federal and provincial politics. Delivered to your inbox by 6 a.m., it reveals all you need to know about the issues before they make head-lines.

    BREAKING STORIESiPolitics is a must-read site for political news as it is happen-ing. We cover the wrangling while exploring the intersection of politics with Bay Street, inter-national finance, civil society, interest groups and the media.

    TALKING HEADSColin Horgan covers all the ac-tion on the Hill in a rolling blog that updates throughout the day.

    FEATURED OPINIONEvery day at iPolitics.ca youll find someone eager to debate. Our regular columnists include Robert Asselin, Fen Hampson, Michael Harris, Dylan Marando, Scott Vrooman and, of course, Lawrence Martin.

    COMMITTEE WATCHIn updated reports when the House is sitting, iPolitics and The Alpheus Group serve up full coverage of the discussions and debates in and around the gov-ernments meeting rooms.

    HEADLINE NEWSIn addition to the iPolitics newsfile, we showcase news, features and analysis from The Canadian Press, The Financial Times, GlobalPost and ProPublica.

    James Baxter, Editor and PublisherJim Anderson, Deputy PublisherSusan Allan, Executive EditorIan Shelton, Deputy EditorJessie Willms, Designer

    Head OfficeWorld Exchange Plaza45 OConnor St, Suite 530 Ottawa, Canada, K1P 1A4Phone: 613-216-9638

    Today9:00 a.m. Close of first ballot voting10:00 a.m. First ballot results 11:00 a.m. Second round of voting opens. Voting will continue through the day as dictated by events

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    Mark Blevis

    Twitter is alive with activity about the NDP leadership convention. People issuing Twitter updates identified with the so-called hashtag (text identifier) #ndpldr or #ndp were responsible for 16,164 tweets before the Jack Lay-ton tribute began Friday at 7 p.m. thats more than the average number of election-related tweets issued each day during last years federal campaign.

    When it comes to Twitter men-tions, Nathan Cullen was the runaway leader until late after-noon when Peggy Nash gained momentum. Martin Singhs showcase, including his sons vio-lin performance, helped signifi-cantly. His tweet count had been firm below 50 prior to him taking

    the stage. Thomas Mulcair, de-spite being considered the front-runner, has lagged.

    Heres the breakdown from Fri-day up until the start of the Jack Layton tribute. Its important to remember that when it comes to tweets, quantity doesnt suggest quality of content or engagement. Its simply a measure of mentions, including the candidates own Tweets.

    1.Peggy Nash, 2,9372. Nathan Cullen, 2,4913. Brian Topp, 1,1664. Niki Ashton, 1,0825. Thomas Mulcair, 1,0496. Paul Dewar, 1,0267. Martin Singh, 473

    Analysis performed using Sysomos MAP.

    The opposite of a hashtag fail: #NDPldr tops Twitter

    In the end, nobody knows for sure what will happen


    them on a second or third bal-lot. The moment the first choice of those supporters drops off the ballot, those telephone banks will spring into action with only an hour to convince those NDP members to swing to their camp.

    Some veteran observers say much may depend on just how high a count Thomas Mulcair gets on the first ballot. If he gets 35 per cent or more, some will be tempted to move to him on the second ballot to put him over the magic 50 per cent threshold.

    However, if Mulcair comes in under that level, it could turn into a very different race.

    While Martin Singh has al-ready said he will urge his sup-porters to vote for Mulcair on the second ballot, the challenge for Mulcairs organization will be to continue to grow its vote.

    If Mulcair cant grow from one ballot to another, or grow enough, it could leave the path open for one of his rivals.

    On the convention floor, two of the stronger camps appeared to belong to Mulcair and Peggy Nash. With her union roots, Nash can also tap into a lot of union organizational expertise.

    However, insiders say Topp can

    also count on a lot of union sup-port and is a veteran NDP orga-nizer. His organization believes that many of Niki Ashtons sup-porters can be convinced to join their camp as well as many from Nashs camp, should she drop off. While they believe Nathan Cullen would throw his support to Mulcair, they also think they can garner many of members at-tracted by Cullen because of his environmental positions.

    In the end, chances are the final ballot will see the NDP choose between two different visions and two different directions with Mulcair on the one hand and ei-ther Nash or Topp on the other.

    The winner gets to take on Ste-phen Harper Monday.


    Todays action will take place below the surface as

    each candidate moves its get-out-the-vote operation into overdrive.

    How well do you know your would-be leader? Check out iPolitics.ca to find out who stands where ... and why. While