@ryanMeili Monday – One Last #skndpldr Stop? Unity, Saskatchewan

Unity, Sask

Hard to believe it’s less than a week until the Leadership Convention!

I was chatting with someone over the weekend about how the party might build unity once the race is over, no matter who wins. He made a pretty profound observation:

It has nothing to do with how “positive” you were or how aggressive you were vs. other people, it has to do with the fact that you are supporting someone different from the person they are supporting. End of story.

This is just an unavoidable fact of life in internal party contests, be they leadership races or nomination races. When you say “Ryan is great and is the best person to be leader” everyone else hears “you think my candidate sucks and I am stupid for supporting them”

At various points during the race, I’ve had exchanges with supporters of all candidates (yes, including my own!), both publicly and privately as we discussed our differing views on topics ranging from how we treat our newest members to debates about the size of the pens certain candidates wield to inquiries about how to best formulate a tweet.

Although it may appear otherwise to an outside observer (or, even to the people involved in these discussions at the time), none of these exchanges were entered into with malice or anger.

Instead, like our respective candidates, most of these exchanges happen on a foundation of “vigourous agreement” with only small differences of opinion existing with regards to approaches, strategies and techniques.

In fact, rather than thinking of supporters of other candidates as being “wrong” for not picking Ryan as #1, I respect and appreciate the reasons they tell me why they picked the candidates that they did. There are many good reasons for all four to be someone’s choice. Just some I’ve heard include Trent’s loyalty and listening ability, Cam’s well-roundedness and command of policy, Erin’s knowledge of economics and ability to get positive media coverage.

Sometimes the strengths of all four candidates got lost in the appearance of conflict, whether intentional or not. Chad Moats, one of Erin Weir’s supporters is someone I had more clashes with than anyone else by far. But as another Meili team member observed, “That’s actually an extremely valuable skill he displayed. He got otherwise rational people like yourself to respond in an emotional fashion. Can you imagine turning that ability loose on the Sask Party?”

Many of our clashes came because I disagreed with Moats’ aggressive approach towards others who are “on the same team” but, to continue the sports analogy, some people prefer full-contact practices to get ready for the real game (him) and some worry about the risk of injury to your own team when doing so (me). Anyhow, although I disagreed with Chad’s approach, I never thought that he was wrong or mis-guided to have chosen Erin over Ryan. And truth be told, after many of our Twitter exchanges, we’d exchange cordial DM’s and in fact, I’ve publicly offered to buy him a beer if he’s at convention. (I hesitate to make the same offer to anyone else as that could lead to dozens of people “remembering” that I’d crossed swords with them at some point!)

I can’t remember which candidate first said it but in an ideal world, there would be a magic blender where could put in all four of the candidates and it would spit out the perfectly blended candidate with the best qualities of each.

That doesn’t exist of course but this race is going to leave the NDP with the next best thing – four former leadership candidates, one of whom is now the leader, but also three others who are all committed to working together for the betterment of the party and therefore, the province.

So no matter what happens this Saturday, I think that means there won’t be any losers, sore or otherwise.

(By the way, the quote above came from Steven Lloyd, Erin Weir’s campaign manager. Some think I was pissed off at Weir’s campaign for what I felt was a mis-leading use of a positive quote about Erin on his blog. But in keeping with the theme of this post, I’m happy to report that Steven and I have chatted regularly since that “incident” with no hard feelings. I did however, make sure I got his permission to quote him for this blog post!) 😉

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