New Democratic Party MP Niki Ashton is like Scooby Doo's "Velma," except without that cartoon character's intellectual acumen or mystery-solving abilities. Yet it's people like Ashton, the spectacularly stupid al Jazeera correspondent Avi Lewis, and Jack Layton's hopelessly inarticulate widow, Olivia Chow, that the NDP are now contemplating as their choice for leader after jettisoning Tom Mulcair at their national convention.
The removal of Mulcair is telling about just how deluded and power-hungry the NDP has become in the last few years.
When the perennial third-place finisher managed to jump into second place in the 2011 election, the NDP fooled themselves into believing the reins of power were within their grasp. It didn't require someone with exceptionally good mystery-solving ability to figure out that the NDP's good fortune was a temporary fluke. They got a one-time dividend from the collapse of the Bloc Quebecois. What happened in Quebec, where the NDP picked up the majority of its 2011 gains, was that the province's voters unexpectedly switched en masse from a socialist party with Quebec independence as part of its platform to a socialist party without a regional independence platform.
This move reflected attitudes about the respective parties' then-leadership. The Bloc's Gilles Duceppe is an ineffectual politician and Quebec voters simply got tired of him. That was combined with the Liberals' choice of Michael Ignatieff as its leader. Ignatieff is a bright, principled man, but uncharismatic and completely ill-suited to politics. As Liberal leader, he couldn't even capture his own seat in Toronto, let alone take advantage of the vacuum created by Duceppe's dismal performance in Quebec.
The Liberals sank, the Conservatives traditionally do poorly in la belle province anyway, and the NDP's Jack Layton, a smooth-talking, smiling snake-oil salesman, became the figurehead of a default protest vote there.
The surprise result brought dozens of thoroughly unqualified, incompetent NDP MP's to Ottawa as Quebec's representatives. Some couldn't even speak French and communicate with their constituents. Needless to say, there was plenty of buyers' remorse in Quebec the day after the election and it was inevitable that a natural correction would occur at the next one.
The inevitable correction did come in the October 2015 Canadian election. Though he lacked his predecessor's easy, put-on smile and is less cuddly, when Tom Mulcair replaced Layton following the latter's death, he steered his party to comparatively sound, more centrist-leaning positions. It was Mulcair's intelligence and competence that almost single-handedly prevented the NDP from getting wiped off the map in October.
But that's not how his party sees it.
Justin Trudeau's Liberals campaigned to the left of the NDP on a number of issues, replicating the campaign technique of one of Trudeau's mentors, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne. As she did in her province, Trudeau won a majority government, leaving NDP stalwarts to presume that if they had been more radical, they might have won.
That calculation doesn't take into consideration the fact that the Liberals were very-well financed, had a caucus comprised of many highly capable individuals, like Mark Garneau and Scott Brison, and, based on history, is perceived as being capable of governing, whereas the NDP had none of those advantages.
Many of the NDP rank-and-file had their knives out and ready to plunge into Mulcair's back from day one, as he forced them along into less extreme left positions, like removing "socialism" from the official party platform, toning down efforts to stamp out Canada's energy sector over unfounded panic about climate change, and quashing the demented anti-Israel and pro-Islamist extremism that is a facet of a much of the party.
But that's all gone as of this week. The NDP is set to install an extreme leftist as the NDP's next top dog.
To set the tone, they also voted to try to implement the nonsensical, Luddite, anti-energy sector, quasi-Marxist, so-called "LEAP Manifesto." That work of incredible absurdity was crafted in large measure by Avi Lewis' wife Naomi Klein, an anti-capitalist fanatic whose polemical books reveal a combination of her profound ignorance and compulsive dishonesty.
Even Tabitha Southey, a left-leaning Toronto newspaper columnist, appeared shocked at the self-destructive impulse the NDP manifested by adopting Klein and Lewis' insanity, tweeting:
Seriously NDP2016? "Leap Manifesto"? Was "LeftyMcCommunistMarxface" taken?
By getting rid of Mulcair, Canada's NDP will, on a smaller scale, emulate the suicidal delusion that gave Jeremy Corbyn the leadership of the UK's Labour party: That the general populace wants to live under the uncompromising, dogmatic, antisemitic socialism of the far left. It turns out that not only do socialists not learn from the decades old history of the Soviet Union's failure, they can't even learn from the present. Labour's support in Britain has collapsed due to Corbyn and his extreme socialist policies. Neither did the NDP learn anything from the electoral defeat of some of their more prominent, far-left MP's last October, such as Olivia Chow and former Deputy Leader Megan Leslie.
Of course learning from mistakes requires a modicum of intelligence, and that's a trait the NDP, as a national political force, has never shown it possesses in great abundance.