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News

New Swagger in Federal NDP after Decisive Alberta Win

'I haven't seen the Conservatives look this glum in a long time,' says NDP MP Don Davies.

By Jeremy J. Nuttall 7 May 2015 | TheTyee.ca

Jeremy J. Nuttall is The Tyee's Parliament Hill reporter in Ottawa. Find his previous stories here.

This coverage of Canadian national issues is made possible because of generous financial support from our Tyee Builders.

There was a glow coming from the New Democrats' side of the House of Commons Wednesday. In fact, it could have been the light reflecting off the exposed teeth from the party's smiling members.

Not 24 hours after the Alberta NDP claimed a major victory in that province over the Progressive Conservatives, the federal Tories had to sit down across the aisle from their NDP counterparts for Question Period.

That time of the day is usually filled with jeers, cheers and boos, but the entertainment was given a boost as the New Democrats seemed to delight in their newfound confidence Wednesday.

Before Question Period began, the NDP's sole Alberta MP -- Edmonton-Strathcona's Linda Duncan -- was getting hugs, kisses and congratulations from party members going out of their way to pay her a visit at her seat.

NDP leader Tom Mulcair began the session by asking a question related to the Mike Duffy trial. Prime Minister Stephen Harper was not in the house and MP Paul Calandra answered instead.

Calandra resorted to a common tactic of accusing the NDP of improperly using tax dollars for so-called satellite offices, which the NDP denies, an approach he routinely employs when opposition members pepper the government with ethical questions. Calandra's response was drowned out by NDP jeers.

"Don't cry, Paul," yelled Vancouver-Kingsway MP Don Davies.

A chorus of laughter, taunts and jeers broke out many times during Wednesday's session. For the most part, the Conservatives sat quietly with stern looks on their faces during the onslaught.

At one point, when Natural Resources Minister Greg Rickford coughed in the middle of answering a question on diversifying Canada's resources sector, NDP members began coughing in an attempt to mock the Kenora MP.

"You guys look so glum over there," said the NDP's Nathan Cullen.

Form next government?

When the Conservatives did spring to life it was to take aim at Liberal leader Justin Trudeau, but they seemed unable to muster the chutzpah to mix it up with the New Democrats.

After Question Period, Davies told The Tyee his party was intent to "press our advantage today" against a Conservative government that often laughs when MPs from the NDP suggest they will form Canada's next government.

"Albertans weren't taking any more of the Conservatives' politics of fear and anger and we in the house weren't taking any of the Conservatives politics of fear and anger and we were giving it back to them," he said.

Davies pointed to Quebec, where the NDP shut down the Bloc Quebecois in 2011, as another victory that stunned those watching federal politics and said he thinks the two wins indicate the Conservatives are in trouble this October when Canadians go to the polls.

Davies said the victory in Alberta appeared to drive that point home to the Conservative Party members.

"I think they were very subdued, I haven't seen the Conservatives look this glum in a long time," he said. "We broke what I think is one of the last remaining mythologies in Canadian politics, which is that the Conservatives can't be beaten in Alberta."  [Tyee]

Read more: Politics, Election 2015

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