As New Democratic leader Todd Hardy fights for his life in a Vancouver hospital bed, some are suggesting he should have resigned his job.
The line is that, by hanging in, Hardy is buggering up the New Democrats’ election chances.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
Hardy’s decision isn’t mulishness, it’s courage.
Stepping aside from the oft-thankless job in the midst of a fight against cancer would be easy.
But Hardy won’t.
Because it would damn his party.
Pulling off a legitimate leadership contest scant weeks before an election would be a tricky affair, further taxing party coffers and volunteers who are already scrambling for the election.
And there is a chance a snap race would violate party laws.
The New Democratic Party has a constitution that details the steps needed to elect a leader.
They are pretty rigid.
They have to be … if a party bends the rules it could end up nominating a drug dealer, deadbeat or pedophile.
Besides, though it’s hard to believe these days, some politicians and political parties respect the rules laid down by their organizations. And society.
Second, there is no clear successor to Hardy within the three-person caucus.
If the party could pull off the vote — a big if — such a contest would probably have to draw on talent from outside the party.
Is there enough time before an election for the party members to vet, meet and grow comfortable with a new, untried leader?
Such a abbreviated process would likely create fault lines within the organization on the cusp of, or possibly within, an election campaign.
A contested race would be worse still.
And, once it’s over, would the public be comfortable electing such a newbie?
Hardy knows all this. He’s done the political calculus.
Whatever you think of the guy, he’s no quitter.
And he’s a lifelong New Democrat.
So, rather than pull the pin, and let down the hundreds of people who make up the party ranks, he’s sticking it out.
All the while, doctors are pumping him full of toxins to kill the cancer that has stolen his health.
They’re hammering him with as much poison as he can take.
By remaining leader under these circumstances, Hardy is taking one for the team.
And that’s courage.(RM)