NDP should give Kirby and Mitchelmore the boot

Brian Jones
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NDPers are so nice. Even people whose selfish actions threaten the party with ruination are still welcome in their group hug.

It’s been almost two weeks since the caucus launched its inept coup against NDP Leader Lorraine Michael, and there have been absolutely no repercussions.

Maybe NDPers oppose coup

d’etats only when the CIA orchestrates them.

It is past time for the NDP to grow a spine, stand tall, man up — or whatever — and kick Dale Kirby and Christopher Mitchelmore out of the party.

The alternative — allowing the caucus-quitting, disgruntled duo to maintain their membership in the party — is even more damaging to the NDP’s credibility.

Doing nothing sends a bad message to the public. It tells voters that the NDP is docile, stunned, limp, lacking in self-respect and not worthy of respect.

The proper response to unprovoked betrayal is, “Get out.” The addition of expletives and colourfully foul adjectives is optional.

Otherwise, the NDP faces a preposterous scenario. When the party’s leadership review rolls around next spring, Kirby and Mitchelmore can stroll the halls chatting and schmoozing and encouraging their fellow idealists to oust Michael.

Naturally, they will reassure other members that they are still devout NDPers.

All that stuff about almost single-handedly — double-handedly? — destroying what the party had built over the past few years, well, let’s just move forward and engage to the end of the day, and so on.

Speak your mind

You’d think two guys as rebellious as Kirby and Mitchelmore would be more articulate, rather than relying on clichés and banalities.

“I am opposed to Lorraine Michael’s leadership. Here are my specific reasons why.”

Neither of them has said this yet. There is no reason to think they will. If they had any intention of outlining details, they would have done it by now.

Break free from that group hug with your forgiving friends, guys, and approach the microphones and tell the voting public exactly what it is that you don’t like about Michael’s leadership. We’ve yet to hear it. On which issue has her leadership been lacking? Health care? Muskrat Falls? Government cutbacks?

As many people have pointed out during the past two weeks, Michael is the most popular leader in the province and has the highest personal approval rating. Voters think she is doing a good job. Obviously, Kirby and Mitchelmore disagree. Why? They’ve yet to say.

It isn’t enough to say, as Kirby did this week, “It’s untenable for me to remain in the NDP caucus.”

That’s just political bafflegabbery that says nothing and means nothing.

Mitchelmore told The Northern Pen, “I determined that sitting as an independent would be the best way to serve my constituents at this time.” Slow down, buddy. You’re drowning us in details.

Free to disagree

Politicians should speak out when they disagree with their leader or with their party, without fear of repercussions. Don’t like Lorraine? Say so. Say why. We’re waiting.

But what Kirby and Mitchelmore have done is something else entirely. Such drastic actions as they have undertaken require a concise, reasonable explanation. There hasn’t been one.

Michael partially acceded to their demands by agreeing to hold

 a leadership review. Kirby and Mitchelmore could have quickly doused their party’s self-immolation by accepting and endorsing her action. But they quit instead, proving they are stubborn as well as arrogant.

At least Gerry Rogers and George Murphy, the co-conspirators in the failed coup, admitted they made a mistake. Some people have mocked them for doing so. But really … admitting to mistakes is something we should encourage in politicians. Wouldn’t it be great if Stephen Harper or Kathy Dunderdale occasionally admitted mistakes?

Brian Jones is a desk editor at The Telegram. He can be reached at bjones@thetelegram.com.

Organizations: NDP, CIA, The Telegram

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Recent comments

  • jeremy hodder
    November 02, 2013 - 18:28

    yea i think they have to go at this point, they prove they are in no way above divisive politics and thus show they have only their own interests at heart, not the publics. and this is why no one trusts politicians anymore, because the waters are polluted with these "types"

  • D'Arcy Butler
    November 02, 2013 - 08:08

    It wasn't only Mr. Kirby and Mr. Mitchelmore who signed the letter that began this whole situation. Do not forget that Mr. Murphy and Ms. Rogers also signed the letter; Kirby and Mitchelmore were the only ones that did not backtrack from what they signed. Both of the men are principled and remain committed to the NDP ideals and will continue to fight for those who do not have a voice. And they should have a voice in what happens to the party in the future.

  • Frank
    November 01, 2013 - 18:05

    Must have pained you Brian to write an article not slamming the PCs. I'm sure your next one will make up for it!!

  • Pierre Neary
    November 01, 2013 - 17:52

    Sorry Mr. Jones at least Kirby and Mitchelmore stuck by their guns.

  • Ben
    November 01, 2013 - 16:15

    Well you have no worries about Mitchelmore...he has already told people in his district that he will stay IND for awhile, then will cross to the Liberals. He ran for the NDP when it was popular, he will do the same thing with the Libs. Talk about opportunist! Just remember...wherever either of these guys go, watch your back! Neither will hesitate to backstabbing to gain for themselves!