I have some advice for the new leader of New Brunswick's third party. Check it out at my CanadaEast blog.
(a copy of my post from CanadaEast follows)
Roger Duguay's next steps
I was away this weekend, so I hope you all checked out Spinks for the scoop on the NDP leadership race. The candidate I thought was the best choice for the NDP was the winner, so I hope he proves me right and can recapture some momentum for the NDP.
Spinks and I agree, as do many others I have spoken to on this, that though we may not vote NDP or support their platform, a third voice in the legislature is better for democracy and brings on better and more accountable government so we hope they do modestly well.
So, Mr. Duguay, if you are reading, here is what I suggest you do next.
First, I read somewhere else previously that Mr. Duguay, who works as a supply teacher, was planning to move to Fredericton if he won and would supply teach as possible to support himself and work the leadership the rest of the time. I think that this is a good move, it puts him close the legislature and the press and it lessens the burden on the NDP coffers as they won't have to pay him (or at least not as much as they would otherwise).
Now, that would have been my first piece of advice, but what to do once he is in Fredericton?
It is important to build a relationship with the press. Just showing up will not do it. He should take the time to meet informally and personally - lunch or dinner is what I am saying - with all of the members of the legislative press gallery.
It is also important not to make oneself too available to the press or you will oversaturate them and they will not bite when you speak because they will be so used to hearing you on every issue. The press must report the government and opposition point of view on every issue, the NDP does not enjoy that luxury. Therefore, it is better for the NDP to save their noise for when they have the most effective contrast on key issues than it is to pepper the press with comments that mirror either the Liberals or the Tories day in and day out.
He should also pick a few priority issues and push them hard. Unveil them to the media, write public letters to the MLAs whose constituents are most effected by the issues and encourage them to raise them. Then hammer the two larger parties whenever he has a chance for not advocating these positions and parlay that into a narrative of how the NDP voice in the legislature is one that is important and relevant and must be restored.