I have no idea if this is a concerted effort but if not, it’s quite a coincidence.
In the last 24 hours on Twitter, Facebook, Reddit and in letters to the editor (including in the comments), a variety of people have been putting forward the idea that the next leader of the Sask NDP should be a woman.
Dave McGrane who’s a political science professor and member of the NDP Executive goes so far as to say “the leadership race should not go forward if there is not a female candidate.”
First off, if anyone had agreed to that rule in 2013 when it was four young white dudes named Broten, Meili, Weir and Wotherspoon running, the NDP might still be waiting to pick a leader!
Second, although I am a fan of diversity, I’m never a fan of tokenism (it’s a subtle distinction but it’s there.) Perhaps Cam Broten’s greatest legacy is that he brought gender parity to a political party in the legislature for the first time in history. But that wasn’t because the party ran women over men purposely (as far as I know) or gave them extra supports or backing (presumably, unless they were in a ridings that was going to get that extra support no matter what.) Those women who were elected won their nomination contests then they worked like hell then they won their respective elections, just like every other candidate who won. (Okay, maybe not some of those Sask Party candidates in rural Sask.) 😉
Third, it’s interesting to hear this groundswell for a female candidate when there could equally be calls for other groups to be represented – First Nations most obviously but others as well – but I’m not hearing that (which is maybe telling in and of itself?)
But my hope is that the NDP *won’t* get too focused on this sort of non-issue and that there’s a strong leadership contest featuring (to be fair, as McGrane also says) a range of candidates who could be young or old; male or female; party insiders or outside activists with the best candidate coming out at the end.
How will the party know that someone is the best candidate?
Hopefully, this time the party will pick the candidate who does the best job in the leadership contest in demonstrating they can do the most important things that a Leader needs to do:
Ten Things The Sask NDP Needs From Its Next Leader
- Showing fundraising prowess
- Signing up new members
- Inspiring current and new members across all parts of the province
- Demonstrated intelligence and mastery of policy
- Genuine connection with non-members even if they’re not NDPers
- Utilizing innovative practices that will lay the groundwork for the party to finally end the Brad Wall era in Saskatchewan
- An inclusive, positive approach that brings the party together after the leadership race
- Someone who provides a strong contrast to Brad Wall.
- I’m not a fan of MBA-speak but I’d like to see someone who *gets* branding, PR, framing, spin and other modern marketing techniques.
- The candidate *must* be bilingual. (oops, I thought I was posting about the next Federal leader for a second!) 😉
One Thing The NDP Does *Not* Need From Its Next Leader
- A requirement that the leader have a vagina.
May the best (wo)man win!