Saskatchewan NDP Leadership Forums – Lingenfelter Pwned By Meili and Pedersen?

Tonight is the first in a series of province-wide forums among the NDP leadership candidates in Moose Jaw.  (At least I think it is – the official NDP site I just linked to doesn't list this event – though the candidates' sites do.  Who knows?)

Anyhow, I'm pretty sure it is the first forum tonight and that's a good excuse to touch on something I mentioned in passing in a recent post.  I said “[Lingenfelter's Google Map mash-up is a] great use of technology, very interactive, very cool way to represent
that Lingenfelter is running a province-wide campaign and trying to
reach out to all parts of the province (of course, this also subtly
hints at his apparent ability to
set the rules he wants the other candidates to follow – but that's a different post.)”

That last line was a reference to Lingenfelter's announcement that he was “concerned
that the Saskatchewan New Democratic Party has decided to ignore the
Far North in its series of Leadership Candidate Public Forums next
month, and says he has decided to organize his own public forum in the
region and invite the other leadership candidates to take part.”

I think I know what he was trying to do with this move – in one fell swoop, he could show himself as representing the whole province, as someone who's concerned with First Nations issues and acting like a leader should.  Except that (to me at least), it smacked of John McCain's “suspending his campaign” when the financial crisis hit – as much about political grandstanding as the other points. 

To me, there's also a fair bit of arrogance in how he unilaterally announced this – arrogance not only towards the other candidates but to the hard working staff and volunteers of the party he's trying to lead.  Why call them out publicly like that?  What purpose does that serve? 

There was one other little detail that indicates to me that this was more about political grandstanding than honest concern about the needs of the people in northern Saskatchewan.  He scheduled his forum for April 26, two days after the deadline day for selling NDP memberships! 

So, in a welcome show of unity (that perhaps reflects the generational shift better than anything else I've seen in this leadership contest – Lingenfelter's top-down, “I'm the boss (already)” move versus a joint announcement from Meili & Pedersen, the two youngest candidates that they were organizing their own northern candidates' forum *before* the deadline for selling memberships to give the people of northern Saskatchewan a real opportunity to have their concerns heard.) 

“Pedersen and Meili agree that a public forum before the April 24
deadline offers Northerners full participation in the democratic
process, rather than what could be seen as merely token consultation.”

In that last link, the Accidental Jurist speculates on how the two senior candidates – Lingenfelter and Higgins – would react to this development.  But recently, he posted an update that his sources were saying Deb Higgins is planning to accept the invitation to the alternate forum leaving Lingenfelter out in the cold.  As they say in Internet circles – pwned!

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