2007-10-27

Late Breaking News: Roger Duguay Elected Leader of the New Brunswick NDP

Altenative title: The New Acadieman: Acadians have a new Super Hero!
 
"Late breaking" in the sense that I'm late to break it. Two weeks late to be exact. I guess I've been too busy discovering all the features of my new ipod touch (people need it).
 
Still, this is probably news to you. Roger Duguay is the new leader of the NDP. This is good news in my opinion. Firstly, the pay is zero. So you had to lower your expectations a bit. Second, New Brunswick only has 750,000 people and the NDP is in third place. So you could forget about making money on the back end, as many politicians do, by writing successful books (Jean Chrétien) or charging a bundle for giving speeches (Bill Clinton).
 
Thirdly, New Brunwick may be officially bilingual, but there are relatively few people who are actually bilingual. The province is essentially divided by an invisible diagonal line from the North West to the South East (with a couple of anoying English-speaking enclaves like Miramichi and Bathurst). Bernard Lord, the most bilingual politician since Brian Mulroney and Pierre Trudeau, lives in the Moncton area and is from... Quebec!
 
Anyway, the bar was pretty low, and since I didn't run (too lazy), expectations were pretty low. Duguay is a former Catholic priest. He only quit two years ago. He now teaches. So as long as nobody accuses him of you know what, at least he'll have the "honest politician, doing it for the community" thing going for him. He has a masters in theology, so I'm assuming he has brains. 44 is also a good age to be leader in my humble opinion. Hopefully, he'll get a seat next election so the lack of salary issue won't be an issue (it will be until that happens, unfortunately).
 
The New Brunswick NDP essentially wants (large 2Meg file!) for New Brunswick what Quebec already has: social programs such as affordable daycare, higher minimum wage, etc... Communists and socialists would be pretty disappointed with the advocated policies of the New Brunswick NDP. The New Brunswick NDP is not that far to the left at all.
 
Still, there is the risk that by appealing to his Acadian Catholic neighbors, he'll put off the English Speaking Protestant (ESP) majority (70% of New Brunswickers are English Speaking, most of the them are Protestant). But if enough aformentioned ESPs join the NDP and actively participate, we might have a three way race next time around...
 
Cheat Sheet for Non-New Brunswickers:
-Fredericton is the capital of New Brunswick
-The border between French-speaking and English-speaking New Brunswick starts at the non-navigable part of the Saint-John River (Grand Falls, aka Grand-Sault) and goes, roughly, in a diagonal line to the intersection of the Nova Scotia border and the Atlantic Ocean. North of that line, the vast majority speak French, south, English. (By the way, you could extend that linguistic border into Maine along the same axis, but don't tell cheap labour seeking call centres, OK!).
-Shawn Graham is the premier of New Brunswick (although his French isn't that great, he represents the mostly French speaking riding of Kent.)
-Former Premier Bernard Lord was born in Roberval, Quebec, and therefor was the only Moncton politician to be understandable in French outside the  Chiac speaking city (sarcasm).

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