Monday, October 15, 2007

Roger Duguay, the new leader of the NDP

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.


Anonymous said...

He should also pick a few priority issues and push them hard.

Three words: Public Automobile Insurance

Spinks said...

Oh please don't.

There is absolutely no reason to bring that political dinosaur back out. If you are getting personally soaked on car insurance, shop around. You will find a better deal unless you're accident prone or some kind of high risk driver like a drunk driver. In which case you should be paying more anyway.

Anonymous said...

Four words: Manitoba, Saskatchewan, British Columbia and Quebec.

These four provinces have public auto insurance -- lower rates and better coverage. It's so popular that, even though they were instituted by left-of-centre governments, no succeeding government (regardless of the political stripe) has dared to dismantle it.

The only ones who defend the current system in New Brunswick are either ideologues who worship the free market as the solver of all problems or those who are in the pockets of the insurance companies.

If the NDP seize on the auto-insurance issue they can instantly gain much political capital in places such as the Acadian Pennisula which are routinely fleeced by the auto insurance companies.

Spinks said...

Forget ideology, there is simply no need to spend millions that we clearly don't have to set up another government bureaucracy. In 2003 there was at least an argument for it based on skyrocketing costs. Not anymore. If your rates have not gone down, you need to leave your insurance company because they are screwing you over or you deserve to be paying those high rates because you're a high risk. I'm really not interested in subsidizing speeders, drunk drivers, and all around bad drivers with increased taxes. The appetite doesn't seem to be out there in general for such a think except by public sector unions who are looking to have more members paying union dues.

Anonymous said...

"there is simply no need to spend millions that we clearly don't have to set up another government bureaucracy."

Actually with a low premium rate the government can easily make back the amount of money used to set up the public auto insurance system in the first place, even with a little to spare.

Our insurance rates are still high and our coverage still scant - a public auto insurance rate would solve this problem.

nbt said...

My advice to Duguay, raise some $$$ and hire a few NB liberal consultants.

There's enough of them around doing studies about how to do a study, not to mention, it will take the weight off of taxpayers who pay their salaries on a weekly basis. A win-win so to speak.