Posts Tagged ‘climate change’

NIKIASHTON&ME

Five years ago I had the pleasure of meeting, knowing and working with Dave McPherson when he managed a campaign and pulled me in, far in, and empowered me to be a strong voice for the candidate and the party. He also knew how (so clever!) to engage my workaholic nature and get the most of my skills and talents during an election. How I miss him! davemcpherson

This year, another  election, another campaign manager of similar construction… Paul Mason, equally clever, equally progressive, equally funny AND with the same capability of getting the most from me…just when I had been somewhat disengaged from a campaign, Paul had me in that place where one is living, breathing, thinking, dreaming, working campaign 24/7. And of course, for progressive leaders (yes leaders) like these, one would work 48/7 to achieve the goal.

Now during that first campaign with Dave…one evening, staffing the office alone because Dave set hours for the office of pre-dawn to 11 PM or some such, I was surprised to receive, totally on my own, then Federal NDP leadership candidate, 29 year old Niki Ashton.  She arrived to help with our by-election and, of course, to meet the people.  Some communication failure had prevented my candidate and any “important” campaign staff from receiving her as they had with all the other leadership candidates. In fact, every leadership candidate except Thomas Mulcair had been in that campaign office! Repeat, I was alone in the office…just me. Showing not a shred of disappointment, Niki and her partner wanted to immediately get to work! We settled on some phone lists and I overheard her enthusiasm as she talked to OUR local voters. We also talked to each other, a lot… and her easy, friendly warmth truly impressed me. My disability and those issues, my issues, DAMN, forgot to chat about them; the evening ended too quickly. My thoughts were, “Not now, Niki, Canada isn’t ready, but when you run again, I will support your leadership campaign because you are AMAZING!” Of course things change, the country changes, the needs of the party change and I must be open-minded, but listening to Niki in debate last night, I have to say she is that same person, so clear, so able, so intelligent and SO PROGRESSIVE! Like the campaign managers who could get the most from me, who keep me from being swallowed by the politics of politics, Niki is that New Democrat who has distilled it all to what we need. No environment = no planet so nothing else matters – and inequality is utterly unacceptable. The calibre of the other candidates is amazing. I love them all! Jagmeet pulls community like no other. Guy is very prime ministerial, he speaks slowly and carefully and stays on message. Charlie has the history… All wonderful but Niki, you had me five years ago. Like John Horgan, you roll up your sleeves and jump in with the people. You are the people. I have no money to contribute to your campaign. I am disabled and therefore marginalized. But I have my words and I can campaign like the wind in a hurricane … with the right  (I mean totally left) leadership.

Is it wrong to say… You Go Girl!

 

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This was definitely shocking news. We all believed that Jack would, fighter that he is, get well and return to lead the party in the fall. He walked the walk. He made history. We loved him. And Canadians, with hope anew, embraced this straight shooter.

But I am disheartened by all the negativity on the mainstream news this morning. The predictions that with Jack’s death there will be no individual to rise to take the NDP forward. Our job is to honour Jack by keeping the momentum – by making his legacy the one of caring and strong governments at all levels ensuring that government is participatory, consensus oriented, accountable, transparent, responsive, effective and efficient, equitable and inclusive and that the voices of the most vulnerable in society are heard in decision-making. As the mainstream media GO ON about how he can’t be replaced – we will find that little bit of JACK LAYTON in all of us and forge forward. We will not be stopped!

Jack’s favorite song – Oh, What a Feeling by Crowbar:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yay4YMyL8U0  (Canadian of course)

In death, as in life, Jack will be, must be our hero. What we do with what he has given us is now in our hands. The last election defied the predictions of mainstream media and now this legacy must do the same. Social justice, good government and the issues that matter – Jack and the federal NDP platform  listed, of course,  the environment as one of the top issues.

His plan to change this country for the better has not ended with his passing. I see it broken into millions of little pieces to be shared with all of us. Take your piece, feel that feeling, get that rush – let’s march forward without missing a step….a tiny bit of Jack’s giant heart beating inside each of us. I am saddened by his passing but strengthened by these past few months filled with Layton-ness. We will look back at this time in history when the mainstream media stopped having the power to create our reality. We will, like Jack, create our own. His guidance is not gone. It was a starting pistol!