When Olivia Chow announced herself as a candidate in Toronto’s next mayoral election she also resigned as Member of Parliament for the Trinity-Spadina riding. It didn’t take long after Chow’s announcement for things to start heating up. On March 13th Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau stirred up controversy within his party by blocking Christine Innes’ candidacy. The next big news came eight days later when Joe Cressy announced his aspiration to run for the NDP.
Cressy is a long-term member of the NDP who has balanced his career between activism and political campaign management. He was a close friend of Jack Layton, and worked as Olivia Chow’s campaign manager during the election in 2011. In 2013 Olivia Chow produced a video of Cressy and Mike Layton (Jack’s son) canoeing in circles through rapids- a heartwarming family moment.
Researching Cressy’s career gives an interesting view of the ‘activist’ faction of the NDP, including his (and Olivia Chow’s) contributions to the re-emergence of political violence; but, we’ll cover that in a future article. For today, let’s start off by looking into Cressy’s most successful piece of political theatre- a protest inside Parliament that shows us how the ‘usual suspects’ in the activist community are actors playing for the benefit of our country’s politicians.