Go West Young Socialist

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Aristotleded24
Go West Young Socialist

Trudeau's slide in the polls continues to pave the way for the potential election of Andrew Scheer as Prime Minister, along with the rise of the alt-right in Canada under Maxime Bernier. As this developoment is very concerning to many people, we wonder, could this have been prevented? Can we still reverse this trend?

The answer to both of these questions is yes. How does this happen? In the 2011-2012 NDP Leadership campaign, one of the main planks in Niki Ashton's leadership campaign was what she called the Lethbridge Declaration. After the Sherbrooke Declaration where the NDP reached out to Quebec and was credited for the 2011 breakthrough, Niki proposed the same idea, to meet in Lethbridge, and reach out to Western Canada. Unfortunately the NDP essentially ignored her idea. But it's been ignoring Western Canada for a long time, despite the fact that this is where they traditionally do the best. Prior to 1993, the NDP's base was solidly western. However, the NDP lost 1993, they essentially gave up and tried to become a "national" party afterwards. The most ironic result of this neglect is that the seat currently held by Conservative leader Andrew Scheer was once a safe NDP seat. Provincially, in 3 of the 4 western provinces, the NDP can be reliably counted on to at least be the official opposition, better than any provincial section anywhere else. The only 2 provinces that ever deliberately re-elected an NDP government (Saskatchewan and Manitoba) are in the west. Even in 2015 when the NDP crashed and burned overall, their seat count in Western Canada actually went up. Let's go back to the basics! The first and immediate prioroity for the next NDP leader to rebuild the party will be to secure seats in Western Canada. I want the NDP to elect MPs from Selkirk, Dauphin, Yorkton, Melville, Melfort, Prince Albert, North Battleford, Moose Jaw, and Kamloops. Does that sound crazy to you? Every one of those cities has elected an NDP MP during my lifetime. Why is this doable? Because the Liberal brand is traditionally not popular in Western Canada, and the NDP would have crossover appeal to Conservatives if they put in the effort to do so. "Oh, but the NDP loses by such large margins in these ridings that it is a waste of time!" That is very strange logic to me. In many seats the NDP has never won, they also lose by margins that are just as large if not larger. Why does it make sense to try and win areas the NDP has never won but not to try and win back areas the NDP used to win?

So what are the issues in Western Canada? Transportation is a big thing. The Greyhound cuts are only the most recent. Rail lines have also been dug up and abandoned, which hurts the smaller farmers. Even passenger rail has been cut back. Try and get a train ticket to Regina and you will see what I mean by that. We need to invest in the railroads to help our communities thrive. Agriculture is another issue. We need massive changes to our agricultural system. The NDP is partiularly vulnerable here, because there is a growing movement of younger, organic farmers out in these parts. If the NDP doesn't reach out to these people, the Greens will, and they will (figuratively and literally) eat our lunch with this demographic if we don't invest resources. Energy and energy production is also an issue. Saskatchewan and Alberta have a huge potential for renewable energy. That is the real failure of federal leadership on these issues. There is also a high concentration of First Nations populations in the area. Their rights need to be respected, and their aspirations of realizing their potential need to be supported. I'm sure others can also talk about Western issues that I have missed.

The time is now! There is a very strong anti-establishment sentiment in Western Canada. Not only do people dislike the Liberal brand, but people voting for the first time in 2019 have only known a time when the Conservatives dominated Western Canada. They are now the Ottawa establishment, and should be made to wear that. With the People's Party of Canada also splitting the right-wing vote, there is also a small window of opportunity to capitalize on that and win the trust and respect of Western Canadian communities, and offer actual solutions to the challenges they face. Let's go on. Let's win back the cities I mentioned. From there, when the NDP finally forms a federal government, they can also win Brandon, Weyburn, Estevan, Swift Current, Medicine Hat, Lethbridge, Red Deer, Grande Prairie, Fort MacMurry, Prince George, and Kelowna. Let's do this thing!

Aristotleded24

*Bump*

R.E.Wood

That's a very good aspirational post Aristotled24, and I absolutely agree with you. And you're on the mark when you write, "The first and immediate prioroity for the next NDP leader to rebuild the party will be to secure seats in Western Canada." Because none of what you propose is going to be a focus for the current NDP leader, whose concern from the outset was regions like Brampton and Surrey, while clearly giving the middle finger to entire western provinces, like Alberta and Saskatchewan. 

Aristotleded24

The problem, Wood, is that the NDP have consistently tried to do what they think will win "Ontario" and then assume that this applies to the rest of the country. That simply isn't the case. For one, "Ontario" isn't a monolithic entity. Toronto is different from Hamilton is different from 905 is different from southwestern Ontario is different than Ottawa is different from northern Ontario is different than southeastern Ontario. The biggest problem the NDP has in Ontario is that people in this province think that the Liberals are the ones who will replace the Conservatives and will vote accordingly, and that the NDP will split the vote and the Conservatives will win. Essex would still be a Conservative seat had there not been a local poll that put the NDP and the Conservatives in a tie. Only last year did the NDP finally beat that in Ontario to become the Official Opposition. That was partly because the Liberals were thoroughly discredited and the voting public needed a viable not-Ford option.

But specifically to your point, did you catch Singh's climate announcement yesterday? I like Alexandre Boulerice, but I thought having it in Montreal was a major public relations blunder. Environmentalists are already tagged as these urban folks who drive around electric cars who have no clue about what life is like for the common person outside of major metropolitan areas. Why not do this announcement in one of the rural areas whose economy will have to change by this? He could have done the announcement in Rimouski or Timmins and shown people how his plan would help people and put them to work building this new green economy. There are also ridings in Interior BC that he could also have chosen for the same reason. Maybe he could have even been bold, and gone to a riding that the NDP currently doesn't hold. Why  not go to Lethbridge or Medicine Hat and show how his plan will put Albertans to work building a new green economy for that province? Or on the transportation thing, he could have gone to Regina and announced how his plan to invest in rails will help cities of all sizes in Saskatchewan. He could have invited one of his Regina-area MPs to that announcement...oh wait.

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

He could still do a tour of those places making saying those things.  He probably said that in Montreal-he could have gone on to speak in those towns as well, or perhaps started in them and then ended in Montreal.  Singh does have to campaign in that city, though because the party needs to hold at least some seats in Quebec to ever be credible again.

Agreed that Singh needs to spend more time in the West-but it's not as though it has to be the West OR Quebec, that the party can't connect with both places.    

There has to be some way of striking a balance, and of finding appeals that connect to both places.

 

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

And agreed that there needs to be far less emphasis on appeasing centrists in Ontario, because the NDP isn't going to get those votes.  Even Jack couldn't win them over.

WWWTT

I grudgingly agree with A24. 

But it’s not going to be easy for the NDP, no matter what they do. The NDP has support in all regions of Canada. Some strong, most weak. 

No matter what the leader does, it will never be enough. 

R.E.Wood

Aristotleded24 wrote:

But specifically to your point, did you catch Singh's climate announcement yesterday? I like Alexandre Boulerice, but I thought having it in Montreal was a major public relations blunder. Environmentalists are already tagged as these urban folks who drive around electric cars who have no clue about what life is like for the common person outside of major metropolitan areas. Why not do this announcement in one of the rural areas whose economy will have to change by this? He could have done the announcement in Rimouski or Timmins and shown people how his plan would help people and put them to work building this new green economy. There are also ridings in Interior BC that he could also have chosen for the same reason. Maybe he could have even been bold, and gone to a riding that the NDP currently doesn't hold. Why  not go to Lethbridge or Medicine Hat and show how his plan will put Albertans to work building a new green economy for that province? Or on the transportation thing, he could have gone to Regina and announced how his plan to invest in rails will help cities of all sizes in Saskatchewan. He could have invited one of his Regina-area MPs to that announcement...oh wait.

Yes. Yes. And yes. I did see the policy announcement on live feed, and I do like Alexandre Boulerice, but I was shocked that a national policy roll-out was done without any English until Singh took the stage and went bilingual. Not that many people across the country were watching, but it was bad optics for a national policy announcement. But I suspect it was part of an effort to save a couple NDP seats in Quebec.

I agree with everything you've written.

Aristotleded24

Ken Burch wrote:
He could still do a tour of those places making saying those things.  He probably said that in Montreal-he could have gone on to speak in those towns as well, or perhaps started in them and then ended in Montreal.  Singh does have to campaign in that city, though because the party needs to hold at least some seats in Quebec to ever be credible again.

Rimouski is one of the cities on the list that I singled out that would have been more suitable for that announcement than Montreal. Unless the provincial boundaries have changed in the last few hours, Rimouski is in Quebec, and also has a sitting NDP MP.

Aristotleded24

R.E.Wood wrote:

Aristotleded24 wrote:

But specifically to your point, did you catch Singh's climate announcement yesterday? I like Alexandre Boulerice, but I thought having it in Montreal was a major public relations blunder. Environmentalists are already tagged as these urban folks who drive around electric cars who have no clue about what life is like for the common person outside of major metropolitan areas. Why not do this announcement in one of the rural areas whose economy will have to change by this? He could have done the announcement in Rimouski or Timmins and shown people how his plan would help people and put them to work building this new green economy. There are also ridings in Interior BC that he could also have chosen for the same reason. Maybe he could have even been bold, and gone to a riding that the NDP currently doesn't hold. Why  not go to Lethbridge or Medicine Hat and show how his plan will put Albertans to work building a new green economy for that province? Or on the transportation thing, he could have gone to Regina and announced how his plan to invest in rails will help cities of all sizes in Saskatchewan. He could have invited one of his Regina-area MPs to that announcement...oh wait.

Yes. Yes. And yes. I did see the policy announcement on live feed, and I do like Alexandre Boulerice, but I was shocked that a national policy roll-out was done without any English until Singh took the stage and went bilingual. Not that many people across the country were watching, but it was bad optics for a national policy announcement. But I suspect it was part of an effort to save a couple NDP seats in Quebec.

I agree with everything you've written.

The language is a tricky thing because I suspect that it is open to criticism however that happens. "You should have led in English!" "You should have led in French!" "Why are you leading in  French when the announcement was in Calgary and few people there speak French?" "Why wasn't half the announcement done in French?" "Why was half the announcement done in  French when only 25% of the country speaks it as a first language?" My concern with that post was this tendancy among progressives to court votes in "the cities" while ignoring the rural and outlying areas. Ask the BC NDP how that strategy nearly cost them the 2017 provincial election while facing off against a deeply unpopular Liberal government.

Debater

R.E.Wood wrote:

Aristotleded24 wrote:

But specifically to your point, did you catch Singh's climate announcement yesterday? I like Alexandre Boulerice, but I thought having it in Montreal was a major public relations blunder. Environmentalists are already tagged as these urban folks who drive around electric cars who have no clue about what life is like for the common person outside of major metropolitan areas. Why not do this announcement in one of the rural areas whose economy will have to change by this? He could have done the announcement in Rimouski or Timmins and shown people how his plan would help people and put them to work building this new green economy. There are also ridings in Interior BC that he could also have chosen for the same reason. Maybe he could have even been bold, and gone to a riding that the NDP currently doesn't hold. Why  not go to Lethbridge or Medicine Hat and show how his plan will put Albertans to work building a new green economy for that province? Or on the transportation thing, he could have gone to Regina and announced how his plan to invest in rails will help cities of all sizes in Saskatchewan. He could have invited one of his Regina-area MPs to that announcement...oh wait.

Yes. Yes. And yes. I did see the policy announcement on live feed, and I do like Alexandre Boulerice, but I was shocked that a national policy roll-out was done without any English until Singh took the stage and went bilingual. Not that many people across the country were watching, but it was bad optics for a national policy announcement. But I suspect it was part of an effort to save a couple NDP seats in Quebec.

I agree with everything you've written.

Yes, because the NDP is down to 10% in Quebec polls, it is expected to lose at least 12 of its 15 Quebec seats.

Alexandre Boulerice is one of the few Quebec NDP MP's who has made a strong connection with his riding and who may be able to win reelection.

Aristotleded24

Debater wrote:

R.E.Wood wrote:

Aristotleded24 wrote:

But specifically to your point, did you catch Singh's climate announcement yesterday? I like Alexandre Boulerice, but I thought having it in Montreal was a major public relations blunder. Environmentalists are already tagged as these urban folks who drive around electric cars who have no clue about what life is like for the common person outside of major metropolitan areas. Why not do this announcement in one of the rural areas whose economy will have to change by this? He could have done the announcement in Rimouski or Timmins and shown people how his plan would help people and put them to work building this new green economy. There are also ridings in Interior BC that he could also have chosen for the same reason. Maybe he could have even been bold, and gone to a riding that the NDP currently doesn't hold. Why  not go to Lethbridge or Medicine Hat and show how his plan will put Albertans to work building a new green economy for that province? Or on the transportation thing, he could have gone to Regina and announced how his plan to invest in rails will help cities of all sizes in Saskatchewan. He could have invited one of his Regina-area MPs to that announcement...oh wait.

Yes. Yes. And yes. I did see the policy announcement on live feed, and I do like Alexandre Boulerice, but I was shocked that a national policy roll-out was done without any English until Singh took the stage and went bilingual. Not that many people across the country were watching, but it was bad optics for a national policy announcement. But I suspect it was part of an effort to save a couple NDP seats in Quebec.

I agree with everything you've written.

Yes, because the NDP is down to 10% in Quebec polls, it is expected to lose at least 12 of its 15 Quebec seats.

Alexandre Boulerice is one of the few Quebec NDP MP's who has made a strong connection with his riding and who may be able to win reelection.

I would think that is all the more reason to visit communities outside Montreal to help those MPs win?

Debater

You're certainly correct that the absence of a regional base is the biggest challenge currently facing the NDP.  It's a bigger challenge than the leadership issue, or Jagmeet Singh's weakness, etc.

The NDP are now in the same situation that the Liberals were in a couple of elections ago.  The Liberals collapsed to 3rd in 2011 because they had no regional strength anywhere in the country.  They had lost their base in Quebec, lost Ontario, were nearly extinct in the West, and even lost some parts of the Maritimes.  They came back under Trudeau in 2015 because they won back their base in Quebec & Ontario, did well in the West for the first time in many years, and swept the Maritimes.

Although the Conservatives took a hit in 2015, they remain strong because they have a large base in the West, and in rural Ontario, and in several other places.  The reason the Quebec breakthrough was so important in 2011 was because it gave the NDP regional dominance in one of the big provinces for the first time in history.  If the NDP is going to get out of 3rd place again, it will need to find strong resonance in one particular region of the country.

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

Aristotleded24 wrote:

Ken Burch wrote:
He could still do a tour of those places making saying those things.  He probably said that in Montreal-he could have gone on to speak in those towns as well, or perhaps started in them and then ended in Montreal.  Singh does have to campaign in that city, though because the party needs to hold at least some seats in Quebec to ever be credible again.

Rimouski is one of the cities on the list that I singled out that would have been more suitable for that announcement than Montreal. Unless the provincial boundaries have changed in the last few hours, Rimouski is in Quebec, and also has a sitting NDP MP.

Rimouski, then.  Honest mistake on my part.