New Democratic Party leadership election, 2003
The New Democratic Party leadership election of 2003 was held to replace New Democratic Party of Canada leader Alexa McDonough, after her retirement. It ended on January 25, 2003, with the first ballot victory of popular Toronto city councillor Jack Layton.
The election was the first to be conducted under the NDP's new partial one member, one vote system, in which the popular vote of the members is weighted for 75% of the result. The rest are votes cast by delegates for affiliated organizations (mainly labour unions). It was also the first Canadian leadership convention to allow Internet voting; delegates who chose to vote electronically were given a password to a secure website to register their votes.
The race was heated, with the leaders campaigning to NDP audiences across Canada. One of the most notable events of the campaign occurred at the convention in Toronto, the day before the election, when candidate Pierre Ducasse made a stirring speech. Ducasse's speech attracted widespread praise, although its late delivery was unable to sway the postal and internet votes which had already been cast.
At the time of the election, Jack Layton was the Toronto City Councillor for Ward 30 and vice chair of Toronto Hydro, and a former university lecturer and environmental consultant. He had run and lost in both the 1993 and 1997 federal elections. His emphases included homelessness, affordable housing, opposing violence, the natural environment and the green economy. While other campaigns stressed federal experience, Layton's campaign contended that his record on Toronto council and as former president of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities encompassed national issues and would transfer to the federal stage, and that as Alexa McDonough had on her election as leader, he could lead the party successfully from outside Parliament until winning his own seat.
- Supporters: Ed Broadbent, Svend Robinson, Libby Davies, former Ontario NDP leader Stephen Lewis
- Date campaign launched: July 22, 2002
At the time of the election, Bill Blaikie was the MP for Winnipeg-Transcona, the NDP House leader and the critic on intergovernmental affairs, justice, the Solicitor General, and parliamentary reform. He had been a Member of Parliament for over 20 years. His emphases included trade, Medicare, taxes and the environment, and his parliamentary experience. An ordained minister in the United Church of Canada, Blaikie was a prominent heir to the Social Gospel, Christian left tradition deeply rooted in the NDP.
- Supporters: MPs Wendy Lill, Judy Wasylycia-Leis, Pat Martin, Bev Desjarlais, Dick Proctor and Yvon Godin, Manitoba Premier Gary Doer, Ontario New Democratic Party leader Howard Hampton and several former MPs
- Date campaign launched: June 17, 2002
Lorne Nystrom was the MP for Regina—Qu'Appelle at the time of the election, and the NDP critic of economic policy, finance, banks, national revenue, public accounts, Crown corporations and electoral reform. Through his 29 years in Parliament, it was the third time he had run for leader. Nystrom campaigned heavily on the issue of electoral reform. Other emphases included his parliamentary experience and practical left-wing economics; he had edited a book on financial issues, Just Making Change.
- Date campaign launched: July 31, 2002
Joe Comartin was the MP for Windsor—St. Clair and the environment critic at the time of the election. His election in 2000 had been the first federal win for the NDP in Ontario in ten years, and he helped add a second Ontario seat with Brian Masse's win in the neighbouring Windsor West in 2002. His emphases included Mideast peace and support for UN resolutions on Palestine, and his campaign reached out prominently to the Muslim Canadian community.
- Supporters: MP Brian Masse
Pierre Ducasse was the Associate President of the NDP at the time of the election. His underdog campaign stressed outreach in Quebec and building the party toward electoral success. It also drew on Ducasse's background in co-operative economics.
- Supporters: Ken Georgetti, president of the Canadian Labour Congress
Bev Meslo was a Vancouver-area activist and represented the New Democratic Party Socialist Caucus in the leadership election.
- Jack Layton - 31,150 (53.5%)
- Bill Blaikie - 14,365 (24.7%)
- Lorne Nystrom - 5,397 (9.3%)
- Joe Comartin - 4,490 (7.7%)
- Pierre Ducasse - 2,155 (3.7%)
- Bev Meslo - 645 (1.1%)
- Total Votes - 58,202
- June 5: Alexa McDonough announces she will step down as leader.
- June 5–7: The NDP Federal Council convenes.
- June 6: The leadership race begins.
- June 17: Bill Blaikie declares his candidacy.
- June 25: Pierre Ducasse declares his candidacy.
- July 22: Jack Layton declares his candidacy.
- July 30: Bev Meslo declares her candidacy.
- July 31: Lorne Nystrom declares his candidacy.
- August 13: Joe Comartin declares his candidacy.
- November 26: Final day for candidates to declare candidacy.
- December 10: Last day to become an NDP member who can vote.
- January 24: The convention begins in Toronto, Ontario.
- January 25: Ballots are cast, Layton declared victorious.
- "Imagination | Solutions". Pierreducasse.ca. 2003-01-25. Retrieved 2012-02-09.
- dru in canada (2003-01-25). "NDP Leadership". misnomer. Retrieved 2012-02-09.
- "Canada Election 2004 Voter Guide: Political Parties - New Democratic Party (NDP)". Mondopolitico.com. Retrieved 2012-02-09.
- "Muslim Community Doubles NDP Membership in Quebec for Joe Comartin". CMAQ. 2002-12-06. Retrieved 2012-02-09.