Toronto Star: Cullen and Nash struggle for NDP’s soul


February 9, 2022
By Rick Salutin

Among the candidates, Peggy Nash has responded most movingly. At last Sunday’s debate, if you hung in that long, she seemed to drop the script and talk from the heart. She said Cullen’s plan would betray the democratic impulses of party members who could never truly feel at home elsewhere.

That rings true. It doesn’t apply to the NDP leadership caste. Most of them have middle-class backgrounds and could easily become Liberals — as Bob Rae did. Jack Layton’s dad was a Tory cabinet minister. But at NDP riding meetings, you see people who participate as if they have an inherent right to: a demographic who find a real place in the process only through the NDP. They could join other parties but they wouldn’t feel they belonged in the same visceral way.

Nash feels this in her bones. She’s the first in her family to attend university. After French classes at the U of T, she’d board the bus for her job as a clerk at the airport, wearing her Air Canada uniform with the pillbox hat, like the stews in Pan Am. She got involved in the union, which joined the autoworkers, which wasn’t easy for a young woman in such a male environment. She’s an instinctually proud member of the working class even if that sounds rhetorical — they’re my terms, not hers — and the NDP is her party, though with her skills and personality she’d thrive in any party.

Continued on the Toronto Star »

“I believe that of all the candidates in this race, Peggy Nash has the greatest ability to reach out to people who may not have supported the NDP in the past. Peggy is an intensely principled leader with proven respect for grassroots social movements.”

Sarah Polley

Award-winning actor, writer, director and activist
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