View From the Hill by Keith Beardsley – EYE on NDP New MP’s – May 17, 2011

View From the Hill by Keith Beardsley – EYE on NDP New MP’s – May 17, 2011

Ottawa ON – I see NDP MP Pat Martin thinks all the attention being paid to newly elected MP Ruth Ellen Brosseau is over the top. Really, that’s a bit strange coming from an MP who is known for his over the top comments and media-seeking profile.

While Brosseau may indeed bring fresh insight and energy to parliament, she is but the first of many NDP MPs who will come under scrutiny. It’s actually well deserved because it does highlight some of the failings of the NDP in Quebec. If your organization and ground game is so weak that you have to settle for virtually any name to fill in a blank space on nomination papers, then your team has serious problems. The same holds true when your candidate makes their first visit to the riding after the election is over.

Once the House returns we can expect other NDP MPs to come under the watchful eye of the media and of the public. Even old timers like Pat Martin will not be able to get away with some of their earlier antics nor will they be able to make the same type of over the top comments that they used to make to attract media attention.

The performance of the NDP in Question Period and on the various House committees will also be evaluated. Every comment will be noted and the outlandish ones will become media stories.

Opinions expressed by NDP members on a variety of subjects will also be analyzed in much more depth now. Party discipline and their MPs personal discipline to refrain from commenting on every subject, no matter how divisive is now important. The NDP is no longer the third party, they better get used to being in the glare of the media spotlight.

NDP MPs, both new and old, are now part of the Official Opposition. They are supposed to be a “government in waiting” and Canadians will expect a certain level of professionalism from them. I don’t recall any previous cabinet minister going on TV and using hand puppets to make a point which highlights the fact that all NDP MPs including Pat Martin will have to step up their game.

Keith Beardsley is a senior strategist for True North Public Affairs in Ottawa, as well as a blogger and political analyst. He can often be found running or cycling on his favorite bike trails.

Scott Beck


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