An Ally In Nathan

I’ve been pretty critical of the NDP recently. Believe it or not, my motivations are good. I really believe the NDP has a positive role to play in Canadian politics, and for the life of me I can’t figure out why they haven’t been playing it for the past year or so.

Today, I want to give credit where it’s due. This evening I attended a University of Toronto event with Nathan Cullen, the NDP’s environment critic. (Note to the NDP and other parties: that should be environment advocate. Important distinction.) Nathan’s on tour to talk about the amendments that he and members of the Liberal party and the Bloc were able to make to the Conservative piece of #%@! legislation that was originally titled the Clean Air Act. When the NDP first took this bill to committee, I didn’t think they’d get anything of value out of that process. Tonight, I was glad to thank Nathan for proving me wrong.

Unfortunately, whether the government will act on the amended bill or not is still up in the air. When Stephen Harper was in opposition, it was very important to him that the government “respect the will of parliament.” Now, not so much.

Either way, Nathan was very good, not just in content but in tone. By that I mean that not only did he do a good job of expressing what needs to be done in almost exactly the same way I would (it’s strange to hear what you thought were your own soundbites come out of the mouth of someone you’ve never met), he did it in a very positive, reasonable, non-partisan tone. We could use a lot more of that. When I spoke with him afterwards, he seemed genuinely interested in leaning about my candidacy in the last election and what I’d thought of the experience. People like Nathan suggest that our parties could work very well together, and I told him that I hope we will.

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