Her Majesty's Loyal Official Opposition
It was after all of those historic highs of the Election, the Convention that made all of what came next the most heartbreaking thing that could possibly happen to New Democrats across the country. On August 22nd, 2011… I was in a Holiday Inn Express in Downtown Toronto, starting work on the New Democrats 2011 Ontario Election Campaign. Then my phone started to ring… First on the line was my ex-partner, she was clearly saddened and I wasn’t aware of what was going on until I opened my email and saw the press release. Like everyone, I shut down for a spell before starting to try and figure out what was happening.
The Hon. Jack Layton (1950 – 2011)
"The Official Opposition: Year One" / « L'opposition officielle : première année »
"Clear choices" / « Des choix clairs »
After the challenges of the State Funeral, followed by the Ontario election campaign I finally returned to Ottawa. Now working out of the NDP’s OLO Offices instead of the party office. We were all still very much in a state of melancholy, but with purpose. All of us, still carried the mission and wanted nothing more than to do right by interim leader Nycole Turmel and to serve the Canadians that gave the NDP caucus the Official Opposition mandate.
Spring 2012, the New Democratic Party of Canada elected Tom Mulcair as Jack Layton’s successor. Leadership2012 was attended by nearly 5500 people in Toronto’s Metro Convention Centre, where for the first time in the Party’s history an new leader of the Official Opposition was being elected.
Time was that main stream media and the Canadian public at large wouldn’t really bat an eyelash at the New Democrats leadership race. Because up until the NDP’s historic showing in the 2011 general election, no leader was going be positioned as ‘the Prime Minister in waiting.’
The Mulcair NDP Opposition was taking aim at the Harper Conservatives. Opening this era with clear and demonstrative show of strength. Exhibiting the willingness to go directly at the Conservatives as hard as they were prepared to go after their opponents.
"Stephen Harper's Solution"
"Radicals for Our Coast"
Thomas Mulcair: Leadership + Éxperience
The Montréal 2013 Convention also featured a virtual town hall with Thomas Mulcair. Opening that event was a 10 minute long explainer documentary about Tom, featuring family, friends and other people from his past speaking about him, his passion, leadership and experiences. The goal of the documentary was to “explain” who Tom is.
After the 2013 Convention I was able to edit a French and English ad together using the interviews and some footage from Tom’s keynote convention speech.
From the French and English versions of the ads from this period leading into the NDP’s 2015 campaign you can see a clear shift in the speeches and specifically the language in Tom’s speeches. That shift also appeared in the NDP’s 2015 Campaign ads. Tom was self-referential in at the 2015 ads, spoke less and less to the voters and electorate. Instead explaining himself to them, or more specifically… At them.
Tom Mulcair: Leadership + Experience
« Thomas Mulcair : leadership + éxperience »
I had left the NDP/OLO in January 2013, I worked on the Montreal Convention videos through the agency I was working with at the time. In 2014, I was back to freelancing and had returned to Toronto… I was contacted in the fall that year to come shoot a sizzler video piece for a Policy Announcement by Tom Mulcair.
A beautiful sunny day, a group of amazingly adorable kids and a party leader that was excited and pleased as punch to be making that a policy announcement like this one.
A shorter edit Ad Length edit of the full policy announcement video was also made and never used. Instead a new video was made in 2015, it featured Tom clearly reading from a teleprompter and his complexion bright red. Not sure why this piece was shelved, but it was.
This piece is most obviously derivative of piece lifted from the Obama team’s work. However, differentiating it from the Liberal’s misappropriation was that it was unapologetically borrowed. In conversation with (former) NDP Digital Director Michael Roy, we spoke about what the basic message was in “The Story of Us” piece. How the language and message was deliberately inclusive and activist-centric. It was intended to speak to supporters, sharing mission priorities with them and giving them authorship in accomplishing the goals.