Election 2015: Congratulations, Erin Weir!
The massive change dealt by Canadian voters to the seating arrangement in the House of Commons last Monday has seen the 3rd party Liberals leap to a majority government, sending the incumbent Conservatives across the aisle to the Official Opposition bench and the once-hopeful NDP back to the 3rd party seats.Â In addition to the disappointment of being reduced from 95 seats to 44 seats, the loss of several talented parliamentariansÂ was particularly stinging for the NDP.Â Debate in the House of Commons will be less with the absence of Megan Leslie, Paul Dewar, Peter Stoffler, Peggy Nash, among others.
Fortunately, this apparent new era of sunny days contains some rays of light for the NDP.Â One such ray is the election of Erin Weir to represent the constituency of Regina-Lewvan.Â Erin is the past chair of the Progressive Economics Forum, winner of the PEF student essay contest (twice!) and consummate PEF blogger.Â Presently an economist for the United Steelworkers, Erin has worked previously for the Canadian Labour Congress and the Government of Canada (including stints in all three central agencies â€“ Privy Council, Finance and Treasury Board).
Erin won his Regina-Lewvan by 143 votes, a squeaker of a race and a testament to the importance of a tenacious team of staff and volunteers who made sure Weir supporters made it to the polling station.
His election comes at an important time as members of the weakened NDP reflect on its discouraging electoral performance, analyze what went wrong (and right) and chart its future course, both in holding the government to account and preparing for the 2019(?) election.Â A key issue that must be evaluated is the NDPâ€™s 2015 campaign tactic of committing to balance budgets.Â Although this couldnâ€™t have been predicted at the beginning of the campaign, the Liberals clearly outflanked the NDP in this regard.Â In this period of critical reflection, Erin finds himself in unique position of being both a member of the NDP caucus and a member of the Progressive Economics Forum.Â Letâ€™s wish him luck!