08.25.2011 06:20 AM

The life of Brian

Brian Topp is someone I and many others admire very much. He is one of the sharpest minds in Canadian politics.

But reports of his possible ascension to the now-vacant NDP leadership were, to say the least, premature. (And, Brian would himself say, unseemly.)

So I’m glad the stories are being nipped in the bud. There’s time for some of that stuff, but not now.


  1. Transplanted Doerite says:


    Besides, Brian Topp is just about the worst possible choice. Surely he knows that. Or will hubris get the better of him and cloud his judgement? It’s happened before. Career hacks don’t make good politicians, at least not until they’ve lived and worked in the real world for a while. Ask your buddy wee Hughie in Manitoba. He suffers from the same problem.

    A guy like Paul Dewar would be a fine choice. Alternatively, if it’s a candidate who could unite the NDP and LPC under the progressive banner, Ambassador Doer is your man.

    • Cynical says:

      I’d vote for Dewar any time. He has real world experience (nothing is more real than teaching elementary) and seems to display both intelligence and sound political sense.

      I haven’t voted NDP for a long time, but I will consider it next time round. Maybe Warren can convince his fellow Liberals to come to their senses.

      Sad to see Jack go. I saw him as our only protection against the march of the brownshirts.

      • JenS says:

        Disagree w/ teaching elementary school equating to real-world experience. The vast majority of teachers have no experience outside the education system – elementary school to high school to university then back into the same system as staff – which is hardly reflective of the “real world.”

        • Jan says:

          Wow – you don’t think teaching children is the real world?

          • JenS says:

            Settle down, now. I simply don’t believe spending one’s entire life in a school setting gives a broad view of the real world. In fact, it tends to give a very narrow view. I have a great deal of respect for many teachers (though certainly not all – it’s a profession that tends to protect some who simply aren’t very good at the job) but I don’t grant the automatic canonization many seem to. Spending one’s whole life in one very narrow realm doesn’t grant any sort of automatic “real world” experience. Quite the opposite.

    • DL says:

      The first sign that someone doesn’t know what they are talking about is when they mention “Bob Rae” and “NDP and Liberal merger” in the same sentence. For the upteenth time. Bob Rae I cannot overestimated how intensely Bob Rae is personally LOATHED and HATED by about 99% of NDP MPs, staffers and operatives. If you want greater Liberal/NDP cooperation or even merger someday – a good start is to keep Bob rae as far away from the process as possible. There is so much bad blood there that it would jinx the whole process right from the start.

      • Attack! says:

        oh, Cath knows that; she just can’t help herself trying to goad WK and upload a Trojan Horse on the Left, even though, as she herself noted the other day, she’s got plenty of rebuilding of her own closer to home to be more concerned about, in her tornado-leveled town. But, hey, Always got time for Tim Hatin’s.

        • Cath says:

          a personal Fuck You Attack. Not that I owe you or anyone else here anything at all actually. I explained a few days ago that for me blogging is a diversion from what I’ve been doing since Sunday night.

          What IS that exactly? Joining the emergency response group to grid-search homes until almost 11pm Sunday for starters. Gathering donations of well, anything and everything to assist those without homes and the bare essentials. I’m also doing my job in getting information out to a shocked community. I’ve opened my home to people who need a bed and showers.

          Allow me to say that I’m doing double time in the mourning department these days. One for my town, and our people and two for Layton’s family and the larger community of my country.

          That’s all the sympathy for Layton that I can muster.

          Oh, and for the record and with your approval Attack, my purpose in posting the link to the story I did was that I found it interesting myself. That you didn’t maybe justifies your own personal opinion but your assumptions and jabs are childish and inappropriate.

          I, like you am invited to post here. Other responders to the link seemed to get that.

          • Attack! says:

            So, you found an unsigned editorial from a small paper from the relatively small town of Orangeville, ON (pop. 26k) with a very superficial analysis and thoroughly unconvincing argument promoting a highly divisive figure in both the largest province and in both affected parties, whom you know the host of this site also has major misgivings about (over staying in Afghanistan), as the leader of a party that doesn’t even exist yet…

            interesting enough to post in a thread about it not being the appropriate time to debate the NDP leadership,

            even in the midst of all that?

            That’s (mildly) interesting. Carry on.

      • ES says:

        “Bob Rae is personally LOATHED and HATED”

        Wow. Get a grip DL.

  2. DL says:

    There is one life-long backroom political hack I can think of who had never run for public office but who nonetheless ran for a party leadership and went on to win a couple of elections. His name was Brian Mulroney.

    • The Doctor says:

      True enough, though it’s important to note that Mulroney did not win the Tory leadership on his first attempt — in 1976, he lost to Joe Clark, in an essentially 3-way race between BM, Joe and the mostly forgotten Claude Wagner. That race did raise Mulroney’s profile significantly among the public, which meant that Mulroney was considered the front runner for the leadership after Joe Who spectacularly shat the bed in 1979-80. Then Mulroney won the next leadership convention (which was still vigorously contested, e.g., John Crosbie put in a strong showing).

  3. Transplanted Doerite says:

    In our household Rae is simply known as The Cockroach. ‘Nuff said.

    At present, there’s only one person who could unite the NDP and the LPC and he’s in Washington. And he’s prolly not interested, in part because of the likes of Mr Rae.

  4. Jason Baines says:

    IT’s highly unlikely that “senior NDP” staffers who circulated Topp’s name did so without his go ahead. SO let’s just recap the weak. At 4:45 am Jack dies. Approximately 30 hours later an article appears online that Topp is the front runner. Of course the journalist had to write the article and give it to his editors for a go ahead. This implies that Topp is breaking the very directive he is supposed to impose as party president. One rule for everybody except Brian. Clearly he’s drawing lessons from Tony Blair’s assent to power; and this was based on getting the name in the press out asap as the leading contender. I think this is creepy, unethical and it contradicts the democratic and socialist traditions of the NDP.

    • Attack! says:

      Uh-huh. And I think it’s “creepy, unethical and… [un]democratic” to erect a whole straw man argument on the basis of a question-begging premise and a mythical quote.

      Whoever claimed that “‘senior NDP’ staffers” were the source?

      It was Joan Bryden who broke / dutifully leaked the story, first reported on the 23rd at:

      but she never used the words “senior” OR even “staffer,” but just “insider” …which shoots the rest of your claim all to Hell, because it IS far more likely that a mere ‘insider’ with links to the party could also be a mole working for another party trying to cause problems for them with ill-timed Deep Throat stories like this, if they weren’t actually working for Topp at all and might even be making the whole thing up.

      (which is what the ACTUAL staffers talking to the Hill Times the next day seemed to be saying: that not only did they want to find and purge the mole, but that the whole story was also bogus, because the Party was NOT of the opinion that a Party President would also have the requisite skill sets to be a Party Leader)

      And when Gloria Galloway repeated the story the next day, she didn’t even GIVE a source: chances are, she just hoped / trusted that Bryden got it right and tried to ride her coattails and played catchup.


      So this whole indignant post of yours comes off as rather a smear, Mr. Baines.

      • Attack! says:

        and before you rebut with this, okay, so it was “insider_s” and Ms. Bryden did her due diligence and got at least TWO sources to confirm that somebody or other within the party was encouraging Topp to run;

        but that hardly makes him a front-runner OR a ruthless, ambitious person, if he’s not really in the running, yet, and hadn’t really thought about it or didn’t particularly want it that much, yet, at that point, and probably certainly didn’t direct those others to plant that story. That’s all just a bunch of speculation on your part, based on the imagined “senior staffer” words.

  5. Jason Baines says:

    Mr Topp has had 5 months to reply. He hasn’t. It’s highly unlikely that anyone from any other party would put forth Topp’s name, unless you agree that Topp has no chance. Look, the record is clear. within a week he had ed and topp’s current entourage out and about. it was too fast. He didn’t deny claims that he was running or even asked the question “who would leak such a story at such a horrible time”. It is for this reason and his lack of experience, his flip flops, that he is going to finish a distant fourth.

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