NDP-has the "move to the centre" done more harm than good?

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Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture
NDP-has the "move to the centre" done more harm than good?

I hope Joe Cressy stages a huge upset and holds Toronto-Spadina on Monday.

But if he doesn't, the federal NDP will be in a serious state of crisis...a crisis caused, more than anything else, by the party leadership's relentless obsession with taking "the centre ground"(as defined by the MSM and the Financial-Industrial-Complex.

The party has abandoned any notion of transforming the country's economic system.

It has made it clear that its foreign policy will be just as militarist and market-imperialist as that of the Cons and the "Liberals"-even though "a strong defense" and war itself can never lead to anything left-of-centre people would want in any future situation.

It has committed itself to ignoring poverty and putting the right-wing obsession with balanced budgets(i,e., permanent austerity) above what ANY left-of-centre party should always put at the top of its priority list:  meeting human need and defending human dignity.

It has essentially abolished internal democracy and removed the leadership from any obligation to engage the rank-and-file, beyond the meaningless formality known as a "leadership review". The rank-and-file no longer gets to even have any real say in the party electoral program...thus guaranteening that that program will say nothing(and thus guaranteeing that a federal NDP government will DO nothing important once in power-since no party in history has ever governed on a radical program after being elected on a bowl of mush).

It has held to right-wing positions that have no support among anyone who would even THINK of voting NDP-such as Mulcair's pointless cheerleading for the status quo on the I/P issue and his neo-Jack Webb on DRAGNET-stance on pot.

And the leadership has even held up the discredited right-wing anti-worker militarist Tony Blair as a model for a left-of-centre head of government.

None of this has gained the NDP any greater support federally...and thus none of it can between now and the 2015 election.

And most of what I listed above has allowed the "Liberals" to do something that should never have been possible...win back left-of-centre voters(even though they don't deserve them)by arguing that there's no reason for those voters to vote NDP since the NDP isn't to the left of the Liberals anymore.

How does the NDP get out of this mess?

And is there not a lesson here for ANY left-of-centre party...the lesson that ceasing to be CLEARLY left-of-centre, that obsessing on being "mainstream"(and on assuming that everyone in the "mainstream" hates the idea of radical change and are obsessed with making the left check its soul at the door before being allowed to get "power")is the path of futility,in defeat OR "victory"?

This may be a pivotal moment for the party.  I hope this thread can help spark the ideas that could save the NDP from irrelevance and uselessness.

 

Rokossovsky

Ken Burch wrote:

I hope Joe Cressy stages a huge upset and holds Toronto-Spadina on Monday.

But if he doesn't, the federal NDP will be in a serious state of crisis...a crisis caused, more than anything else, by the party leadership's relentless obsession with taking "the centre ground"(as defined by the MSM and the Financial-Industrial-Complex.

The party has abandoned any notion of transforming the country's economic system.

It has made it clear that its foreign policy will be just as militarist and market-imperialist as that of the Cons and the "Liberals"-even though "a strong defense" and war itself can never lead to anything left-of-centre people would want in any future situation.

It has committed itself to ignoring poverty and putting the right-wing obsession with balanced budgets(i,e., permanent austerity) above what ANY left-of-centre party should always put at the top of its priority list:  meeting human need and defending human dignity.

It has essentially abolished internal democracy and removed the leadership from any obligation to engage the rank-and-file, beyond the meaningless formality known as a "leadership review". The rank-and-file no longer gets to even have any real say in the party electoral program...thus guaranteening that that program will say nothing(and thus guaranteeing that a federal NDP government will DO nothing important once in power-since no party in history has ever governed on a radical program after being elected on a bowl of mush).

It has held to right-wing positions that have no support among anyone who would even THINK of voting NDP-such as Mulcair's pointless cheerleading for the status quo on the I/P issue and his neo-Jack Webb on DRAGNET-stance on pot.

And the leadership has even held up the discredited right-wing anti-worker militarist Tony Blair as a model for a left-of-centre head of government.

None of this has gained the NDP any greater support federally...and thus none of it can between now and the 2015 election.

And most of what I listed above has allowed the "Liberals" to do something that should never have been possible...win back left-of-centre voters(even though they don't deserve them)by arguing that there's no reason for those voters to vote NDP since the NDP isn't to the left of the Liberals anymore.

How does the NDP get out of this mess?

And is there not a lesson here for ANY left-of-centre party...the lesson that ceasing to be CLEARLY left-of-centre, that obsessing on being "mainstream"(and on assuming that everyone in the "mainstream" hates the idea of radical change and are obsessed with making the left check its soul at the door before being allowed to get "power")is the path of futility,in defeat OR "victory"?

This may be a pivotal moment for the party.  I hope this thread can help spark the ideas that could save the NDP from irrelevance and uselessness.

If Joe Cressy loses on Monday it will have nothing to do with ideological "shifts" to the center, or right, and everything to do with pitting a relative unknown against an established local politician. Trinity Spadina, and all of the downtown Toronto riding's have a long history of being swing Liberal/NDP ridings, and Olivia Chow had a hard time breaking in on Tony Ianno in 2006.

Downtown Toronto is not a hot bed of radical left-wing activism that demands a "socialist" program or nothing. There is certainly a core of left-wing activists here, but as far as that goes, from their perspective, the NDP left the rails a long time ago, with Bob Rae or before.

Losing Trinity Spadina, would certainly be pitched as having deep ramifications for the federal NDP, and this may be so, but it will have nothing to do with "ideology", sad to say. I wish it would.

Aristotleded24

So Ken, I guess this means in your own country you are going to support third-party candidates over the Democrats at the federal level?

Pierre C yr

The problem with the NDP is making rookie mistakes that kills off public opinion. Like the no pipelines at all mistake of Dix in the midsts of the BC campaign or giving Irving 300 million to get the shipbuilding contract mistake of Dexter or the rookie unknown for Trinity-Spadina of the federal NDP or the NFLD NDP blowing up its lead in the polls over infighting (I havent actually looked up what they were fighting over I just bowed my head and said to myself 'not again'...). We have a huge discipline issue in our caucus that makes us look like greenhorns in the public's eye. For all the hassle Tom has gotten for not being nice like Jack its the one thing most people actually look for when voting in a federal gov. Strong character and a disciplined caucus.

Its one thing for the Liberals to take out the knives after an election to get rid of a loser leader or candidate. Once the dust clears they can keep their act together. Its another when we in the NDP have our knives out all the time for every little petty issue that we allow to cloud our judgement over the greater good. 

Running from the center to rule from the left is fine. But can we get there without the obvious campaining and ruling mistakes that puts potholes the size of buses on the way?

 

 

Stockholm

The federal caucus is highly disciplined - you never hear a peep of dissent about anything.

Northern-54

I would like to try "campaigning" from the middle and "governing from the Left".  I am so tired of the Liberals doing the opposite.  Unfortunately, elections are too often decided by swing voters who are susceptible to being scared to vote NDP.  Sometimes, I wish NDP supporters would be less critical of the party's tactics/strategizing and think more about winning, supporting the party hierarchy when they try to say what is necessary to get elected. 

Pierre C yr

And thats one of the few things keeping the Federal NDP afloat. If we hope for gains or maintaining some hedge in what should be a minority gov next time we need to stay disciplined.  Lets try to keep some focus and not tear down the ndp everytime a few things get out of whack with our personal view of the world. I dont see Liberal supporters tearing down the Liberal party over minor issues online or mass media every chance they get.

And for gods sakes keep or get a perspective on the real world. The NDP winning wont ever mean the end of capitalism or basic market oriented policies of the gov. 

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

Aristotleded24 wrote:

So Ken, I guess this means in your own country you are going to support third-party candidates over the Democrats at the federal level?

I've always been open to that up to Congressional and even Senate races, and have supported such campaigns in the past.  I'll probably do so again.

The only race I oppose doing that on is the for presidency...because, as long as the Electoral College exists, winning such a contest is impossible and because losing third-party presidential campaigns achieve nothing any more and leave nothing whatsoever in their wake.   

So I'm not an anti-third party zealot in U.S. politics.

I just oppose third-party presidential campaigns.  There's no contradiction there.

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

Stockholm wrote:

The federal caucus is highly disciplined - you never hear a peep of dissent about anything.

For that matter, you simply hardly hear anything from them at all.

And the decline in the polls since 2011 shows that "disciplined silence" simply doesn't WORK.

Clearly, for example, it achieved nothing for Mulcair to bar his MP's from supporting the Quebec students...the ONLY people who opposed the students were Harperites.

And it's gained the party nothing to back the status quo on foreign policy..people who back Harper on that and on defense spending don't oppose Harper on anything else.

So what good does the "disciplined silence" do?

Why not some actual passion?

Why not actually try making a positive case for social democratic values?

Why not remind the voters(especially those in Quebec, where the NDP made bigger gains than anywhere else in 2011, and  made them almost entirely by winning over voters from the other left party there)that the NDP IS different and that that's what people like about them? 

Clearly, the polls prove that it's not possible to blandly win by default.

vincentL311

If the NDP wants to be a Centrist party it may as well merge with the Liberals. I mean whats the point of two Centrist parties if they are only going to split the vote and ensure the Cons win again?

I think the NDP should run on the left, sure right now that might mean they will get somewhere between 15% and 25% of the vote. But that can mean the balance of power in a hung parliament and the ability to get part of their agenda on the table. And perhaps one day the country will actually be ready to vote in the NDP to a majority Government.

takeitslowly

because the NDP support porpotional represention and the liberals do not since they have an entrenched belieff ythat they are entitled to govern. Because every vpte should be counted fairely.

Rokossovsky

Ken Burch wrote:

Stockholm wrote:

The federal caucus is highly disciplined - you never hear a peep of dissent about anything.

For that matter, you simply hardly hear anything from them at all.

And the decline in the polls since 2011 shows that "disciplined silence" simply doesn't WORK.

Clearly, for example, it achieved nothing for Mulcair to bar his MP's from supporting the Quebec students...the ONLY people who opposed the students were Harperites.

And it's gained the party nothing to back the status quo on foreign policy..people who back Harper on that and on defense spending don't oppose Harper on anything else.

So what good does the "disciplined silence" do?

Why not some actual passion?

Why not actually try making a positive case for social democratic values?

Why not remind the voters(especially those in Quebec, where the NDP made bigger gains than anywhere else in 2011, and  made them almost entirely by winning over voters from the other left party there)that the NDP IS different and that that's what people like about them? 

Clearly, the polls prove that it's not possible to blandly win by default.

Bloc Quebecois, unlike the PQ is not historically a "left" party. It was originally, the rump of the Mulroney Quebec caucus and some Liberals that shifted to a Sovereignist position. Lucien Bouchard was the Environment Minister in Mulroney's cabinet. It is true that the Bloc absorbed the vote of the left in Quebec, and also became a force for both left, center and right Sovereignists on the federal stage. True, the PQ and most of the soveriegnist core was, until very recently a Social Democractic force in Quebec politics, but that is not the party that the NDP is drawing from.

It is simplistic to say that the NDP is drawing votes from a "left" party, because they are not, even though they may be drawing "left" voters who supported the Bloc as a default choice, but lets not confuse the Bloc with the PQ. The Bloc, was not, ever the federal arm of the PQ, either officially or tacitly, even though this simplistic notion is common among Anglo-Canadians.

Your theory about the "left" nature of the NDP and its popularity in polling and Quebec, does not hold up under scrutiny. Where the NDP is having problems maintaining its level of support is outside of Quebec, not in Quebec, where it is outperforming the other parties.

If it were the case that not being "left" enough were hurting its fortunes, and that people in Quebec were drawn to the NDP because it was more left wing, then it stands to reason that the NDP would be collapsing in Quebec. It is not.

Sounding the death-Nell on the party when it is still polling nationally well above the level that it was at before the 2011 campaign writ was dropped is premature. It only surpassed the present level of support in the week prior to the actual election in 2011.

While I would like to believe that ideology is driving polling nation wide, I don't think this is the main factor. Looking at the polls, we can see that the immediate apparent cause of the drop in NDP polling fortunes has much more to do with the appearance of a nationally recognized leader of the Liberal party, and not anything specific that the NDP is doing or is not doing.

The fact that it is still polling in the mid-20s, even with the appearance of the son of Pierre Trudeau on the scene, and the insistence of the mainstream media in treating both Liberals and NDP as equals, or even as if the Liberals are the official opposition, which they are not, is a real credit to Thomas Mulcair and the federal caucus.

They have been handed a pretty tough hand, losing a popular national leader, and having to replace him with a relative unknown, who is facing competition from a "name brand" national leader.

It is largely due, I think, to Mulcair's obvious intelligence, cool head and adroit political senses that they have not completely tanked since the loss of Jack Layton, and the rise of Justin Trudeau.

That fact alone augurs well for the actual campaign.

One thing is this; in a rather drab political landscape, Mulcair, however they 'frame' him, is simply someone who the media can not ignore, if only because he is so quotable, and without that, political op-ed writers would be desperate for interesting material, because Trudeau is dull as a post, despite being photogenic, and Harper has mastered the art of making people fall asleep after the first few sentences of any statement of speech that he makes.

Mulcair, whether they like to admit it or not is keeping them in business, with plenty or wry wit.

Skinny Dipper

The first thing about the Trinity-Spadina by-election is that the population is changing with the new condos being built along the Lakeshore.  It's hard to tell how the people living in the condos will vote.  However, their interests will be different than those living in other parts of the riding.

The next thing is that this is a by-election.  The local candidates do matter.  Adam Vaughan is well-known in the riding and in Toronto.  Joe Cressy is not that well-known.  In the next federal election, the party leaders will matter a lot more.  In my opinion, Tom Mulcair is an excellent performer in the House of Commons.  If he performs as well on the campaign trail, the NDP should gain more support.

In Ontario, Andrea Horwath ran a poor campaign.  Her team was not ready when Kathleen Wynne called an election.  The NDP had no campaign platform for about three weeks into the campaign.  When it did present a platform, it seemed to lack focus.

Andrea Horwath's move to the centre or right-of-centre was a problem because she completely abandoned the left.  This caused loyal supporters to suspend volunteering in and donating to the campaign.  My advice to Tom Mulcair is to run a middle-of-the-road campaign to focus on middle-class voters.  He should include key issues that will maintain the support of left-of-centre NDP loyalists.   For example, include promises to improve Canadian democracy by promoting proportional representation and abolishing the EXISTING senate.  Also, include policies on the environment and health care while using economic issues to attract middle-of-the-road voters.  The main thing for Tom Mulcair is to provide balance between left and centrist policies rather than abandon the left like Andrea Horwath apparently did.

Skinny Dipper

Rokossovsky wrote:

Mulcair, whether they like to admit it or not is keeping them in business, with plenty or wry wit.

The four years between the 2011 and 2015 federal elections are like a 15-round boxing match.  Justin Trudeau is expending a lot of energy in getting a lot of people to support the Liberals.  He needs to do this now because once the election is called, he will become a tired campaigner and the Liberal support could go down.  On the other hand, Tom Mulcair will be ready for the 14th and 15th rounds.  Momentum will be on Mr. Mulcair's side.  His strong skills at campaigning and debating could put the NDP on the rise.  Tom Mulcair could demonstrate that knockout punch against both Stephen Harper and Justin Trudeau.

Rokossovsky

Skinny Dipper wrote:

In Ontario, Andrea Horwath ran a poor campaign.  Her team was not ready when Kathleen Wynne called an election.  The NDP had no campaign platform for about three weeks into the campaign.  When it did present a platform, it seemed to lack focus.

The liberals predictably release their campaign platform 3 days after the ONDP. No one seemed to mind. There is a lot of jockeying around campaign promises, and indeed, the Liberal platform had a substantial number of "me toos". I don't find that charge substantive.

Pogo Pogo's picture

The Liberals had a budget, which served as a defacto platform, allowing them to wait out the NDP before presenting their platform.

Unionist

Pogo wrote:

The Liberals had a budget, which served as a defacto platform, allowing them to wait out the NDP before presenting their platform.

Exactly. And that de facto platform (plus Hudak's unreconstructed dinosaur anti-worker policies) won the Liberals their majority. But never mind, no one in the NDP is listening.

And on the federal scene:

Ken Burch wrote:

And the decline in the polls since 2011 shows that "disciplined silence" simply doesn't WORK.

Clearly, for example, it achieved nothing for Mulcair to bar his MP's from supporting the Quebec students...the ONLY people who opposed the students were Harperites.

And it's gained the party nothing to back the status quo on foreign policy..people who back Harper on that and on defense spending don't oppose Harper on anything else.

So what good does the "disciplined silence" do?

Why not some actual passion?

Exactly. Same problem, though, as in Ontario - brain-dead unprincipled "advisors" telling the party to suck up to the wealthy power-brokers and prove to them that "we're not radical, we're not risky, we can manage your profits as well as the others".

Question

Looking back on past elections, by voting NDP I basically voted against a national child care program (Martin) and a carbon tax (Duceppe), both of which I support.

 

Am I wrong to think this?

Aristotleded24

Question wrote:
Looking back on past elections, by voting NDP I basically voted against a national child care program (Martin) and a carbon tax (Duceppe), both of which I support.

 

Am I wrong to think this?

The 2006 election did not kiill national child care, that is just a canard used by Liberal partians to excuse their 12 years of inaction on that file.

Just out of curiosity, which province are you from? Education is a provincial jurisdiction, so have you taken any steps to lobby your provincial government? Having Harper in power did not stop Manitoba from extending pension benefits to child care workers in 2010.

Rokossovsky

Pogo wrote:

The Liberals had a budget, which served as a defacto platform, allowing them to wait out the NDP before presenting their platform.

So, its not really surprising that the ONDP was playing cat and mouse with the platform.

My estimation is that the ONDP went with what the caucus had decided were the asking price for co-opeartion on the budget. Without a major policy convention to set policy, it seems logical to assume that the program, such as it was probably derived from caucus decisions. Hence, dropping the tax "rollback" to 1%, and a bunch of promises that were just 10% better than the Liberals.

Sounds like "negotiating" conditions to me, not really a platform, per se.

Question

Aristotleded24 wrote:

Just out of curiosity, which province are you from? Education is a provincial jurisdiction, so have you taken any steps to lobby your provincial government? Having Harper in power did not stop Manitoba from extending pension benefits to child care workers in 2010.

 

I'm from Ontario and no I haven't lobbied my provincial government, I'm not very politically active.

 

That's great about Manitoba.  Extending pension was one of the reasons I voted for the Liberal's for the first time this past election.  I liked some things about the NDP platform but they weren't going to win and the news made it sound like the Conservatives might.

 

The 2006 election did not kiill national child care, that is just a canard used by Liberal partians to excuse their 12 years of inaction on that file.

Are you saying if they were elected they wouldn't have followed through on that promise?

Aristotleded24

Question wrote:
Aristotleded24 wrote:
The 2006 election did not kiill national child care, that is just a canard used by Liberal partians to excuse their 12 years of inaction on that file.

Are you saying if they were elected they wouldn't have followed through on that promise?

If they had been re-elected with a majority, absolutely.

Rokossovsky

Question wrote:

Aristotleded24 wrote:

Just out of curiosity, which province are you from? Education is a provincial jurisdiction, so have you taken any steps to lobby your provincial government? Having Harper in power did not stop Manitoba from extending pension benefits to child care workers in 2010.

 

I'm from Ontario and no I haven't lobbied my provincial government, I'm not very politically active.

 

That's great about Manitoba.  Extending pension was one of the reasons I voted for the Liberal's for the first time this past election.  I liked some things about the NDP platform but they weren't going to win and the news made it sound like the Conservatives might.

 

The 2006 election did not kiill national child care, that is just a canard used by Liberal partians to excuse their 12 years of inaction on that file.

Are you saying if they were elected they wouldn't have followed through on that promise?

They could have followed through on that promise had they put language in the Health Care Act to prevent using public money for private profit in the revised act that Dosanjh tabled.

To put it simply, having an election armed with a national Child Care Program promise in the van of their attempt to win a majority was more important than ending the practice of allowing private health care delivery to be paid for by the provincial health insurance plans.

Rokossovsky

As for the ORPP, Wynne will now follow Horwath's course of action on pensions. She will wait and see what happens in the federal election and if a government willing to reform CPP comes along, she will take credit for playing hardball on the issue with Feds, drop the Ontario plan like a hot potato, if Harper is back in power in 2015, she will go ahead with the Ontario Plan.

Precisely what Horwath said.

In the interim Mitzie Hunter will spend some money and get some cabinet experience. You can tell how seriously a government takes an initiative by who they put in charge of the roll out. Newbies don't get big policy initiatives like a full pension plan, if the government is taking it seriously, not because they are necessarily incompetent, but because the big fish get the choice jobs.

Mitzie Hunter's appointment to the Pension Plan portfolio suggests pensions are already on the back burner.

Question

Aristotleded24 wrote:

Question wrote:
Aristotleded24 wrote:
The 2006 election did not kiill national child care, that is just a canard used by Liberal partians to excuse their 12 years of inaction on that file.

Are you saying if they were elected they wouldn't have followed through on that promise?

If they had been re-elected with a majority, absolutely.

That's sort of why I didn't vote for Martin, people were saying they've made these promises before and nothing has come from it, but now I wonder how does one decide who is trustworthy?  For example, Bob Rae didn't follow through on public auto insurance, so are the NDP just as likely to not follow through on their promises?

Question

Rokossovsky wrote:

As for the ORPP, Wynne will now follow Horwath's course of action on pensions. She will wait and see what happens in the federal election and if a government willing to reform CPP comes along, she will take credit for playing hardball on the issue with Feds, drop the Ontario plan like a hot potato, if Harper is back in power in 2015, she will go ahead with the Ontario Plan.

Precisely what Horwath said.

In the interim Mitzie Hunter will spend some money and get some cabinet experience. You can tell how seriously a government takes an initiative by who they put in charge of the roll out. Newbies don't get big policy initiatives like a full pension plan, if the government is taking it seriously, not because they are necessarily incompetent, but because the big fish get the choice jobs.

Mitzie Hunter's appointment to the Pension Plan portfolio suggests pensions are already on the back burner.

Interesting point about the choice of cabinet minister and government priorities.  It makes sense to wait a year I guess because the election is next year, that seemed to be the NDP strategy.  Hopefully there's some positive movement on that issue and it doesn't drag out with no changes.

Question

Rokossovsky wrote:

They could have followed through on that promise had they put language in the Health Care Act to prevent using public money for private profit in the revised act that Dosanjh tabled.

To put it simply, having an election armed with a national Child Care Program promise in the van of their attempt to win a majority was more important than ending the practice of allowing private health care delivery to be paid for by the provincial health insurance plans.

I'm a little confused about your point here.  Are you saying that if Martin had better anti-privatization language in the Health Care Act then they could have implemented child care?  Was that a legislative necessity or something, or are you saying more people would have voted for them if they were more pro-public health care?

I think I've given up on a 100% progressive agenda coming from politicians.  In the past Ontario election, I thought the liberal budget had some good things like the raise for home care workers, but I didn't like how they weren't going to increase health care funding to inflation.

genstrike

Well, regarding the original question, I can think of a few questions in response.

First, are we looking at the short or long term?  Going either way could have one effect in the short term, but the opposite effect in the long term.  For example, moving to the centre could bring poll numbers up in the short term, but in the long term it might hurt the NDP and the broader left to cede ideological ground to the right.

Also, "More harm than good" to whom?  When the NDP in Manitoba refused to raise social assistance rates for something like a decade, that definitely did more harm than good to people on social assitance.  When they raised tuition fees in around 2009, that did more harm than good to students.  When they insisted on wage freezes in the public sector, that did more harm than good to public sector workers.  When they decided not to bring in anti-scab legislation or 50%+1 card check certification, that did more harm than good to the unions and to workers in Manitoba.  Now, whether these actions did more harm than good to the NDP's poll numbers... that's another question, and I think that's one that is harder to answer conclusively.

Finally, what is the goal here?  Is the goal simply to get more NDP butts in parliamentary seats, or is the goal to make certain political changes?  Is electing the NDP an end in itself, or merely a means to an end?

Lets assume for the moment that the goal is to accomplish X.  If the NDP abandons the idea of X but gets elected, then we're farther away from accomplishing X than we were with a pro-X NDP in opposition because now there is no one to raise the idea of X in parliament.

(of course, it could very well be possible that the NDP is making a tactical blunder as well by abandoning X and abandoning X could hurt their political fortunes, in which case it's lose-lose)

KenS

 

Rokossovsky wrote:

Mitzie Hunter's appointment to the Pension Plan portfolio suggests pensions are already on the back burner.

 

Question wrote:

Interesting point about the choice of cabinet minister and government priorities.  It makes sense to wait a year I guess because the election is next year, that seemed to be the NDP strategy.  Hopefully there's some positive movement on that issue and it doesn't drag out with no changes.

Its worse than that. If Wynn was dead serious about pushing the pension plan, even with a year of probably wait and see first, you wouldn't put a newbie in charge of the file. Flaherty's games played to keep the the provinces off balance included feignts and various subterfuges. And seeing them is not good enough. Even for action that still might only unroll at least a while down the road- the person handling it for Ontario still has to be very good. 

This is not promising. Wynne might take control of it directly later. But my guess is that it will take more pressure to get them to do more than keep talking it up.

Rokossovsky

Question wrote:

Rokossovsky wrote:

They could have followed through on that promise had they put language in the Health Care Act to prevent using public money for private profit in the revised act that Dosanjh tabled.

To put it simply, having an election armed with a national Child Care Program promise in the van of their attempt to win a majority was more important than ending the practice of allowing private health care delivery to be paid for by the provincial health insurance plans.

I'm a little confused about your point here.  Are you saying that if Martin had better anti-privatization language in the Health Care Act then they could have implemented child care?  Was that a legislative necessity or something, or are you saying more people would have voted for them if they were more pro-public health care?

Layton wanted to reprise his 2005 effort to "make parliament work for people". He asked that the new Health Care Act, explicitly ban the practice of allowing public health care funds to be used to pay private health care services, because it is leading to "privatization by stealth" -- that was Layton's condidition for passing the 2006 budget.

It would seem that it was more important from Martin's perspective to protect private profit in the health care system than ensuring that a National Daycare Program should go ahead.

Had he given Layton a feather in his cap, Layton would have been backed into a corner, and would have had to support the budget. There was no way around that.

Really, Martin was just looking for a reason to force Layton to fall on his sword, so that the Liberals could run on the Childcare Program for the win.... they lost.

fiddling

From the springboard of Ken's original post that started this thread, I would suggest checking out George Monbiot's recent post on exactly the same thing happening with Labour, and the link between this and the further ratcheting of political discourse to the right.

http://www.monbiot.com/2014/06/10/the-values-ratchet/

In my opinion, Ken and George are right on this.  If there is no signpost for the left, it washes away,  By the time an NDP government is elected under this centrist strategy, it would be an empty and meaningless victory.

 

PrairieDemocrat15

Question wrote:

Looking back on past elections, by voting NDP I basically voted against a national child care program (Martin) and a carbon tax (Duceppe), both of which I support.

 

Am I wrong to think this?

Don't you mean Dion?

Regardless, as a social democrat, I do not support Dion's BC Liberal-style carbon tax that reduces corporate taxes to "offset" the increased carbon tax revenues.

Manitoba has the lowest childcare fees outside of Quebec. The province also subsidizes only non-profit provides, resulting in for-proit childcare being almost non-existent in the Keystone Province. Childcare workers are also well-trained and certified, and, as has already been mentioned, have a pension plan.

What have the Liberals done in BC and Ontario (besides killing a similar system the BC NDP had set up)?

Question

Rokossovsky wrote:

Question wrote:

Rokossovsky wrote:

They could have followed through on that promise had they put language in the Health Care Act to prevent using public money for private profit in the revised act that Dosanjh tabled.

To put it simply, having an election armed with a national Child Care Program promise in the van of their attempt to win a majority was more important than ending the practice of allowing private health care delivery to be paid for by the provincial health insurance plans.

I'm a little confused about your point here.  Are you saying that if Martin had better anti-privatization language in the Health Care Act then they could have implemented child care?  Was that a legislative necessity or something, or are you saying more people would have voted for them if they were more pro-public health care?

Layton wanted to reprise his 2005 effort to "make parliament work for people". He asked that the new Health Care Act, explicitly ban the practice of allowing public health care funds to be used to pay private health care services, because it is leading to "privatization by stealth" -- that was Layton's condidition for passing the 2006 budget.

It would seem that it was more important from Martin's perspective to protect private profit in the health care system than ensuring that a National Daycare Program should go ahead.

Had he given Layton a feather in his cap, Layton would have been backed into a corner, and would have had to support the budget. There was no way around that.

Really, Martin was just looking for a reason to force Layton to fall on his sword, so that the Liberals could run on the Childcare Program for the win.... they lost.

 

Very informative.  Thank-you. 

PrairieDemocrat15

I want to point out that appealing to the centre can work. Look at the history of the provinical NDP in BC and Manitoba. The Manitoba branch has a reputation for being more moderate (while still implementing social democratic policies like Autopac, universal homecare, and cheap, non-profit childcare) and has historically had the support for Liberals in the province (Ed Schreyer was only able to govern in 1969 by getting a Liberal MLA to sit as a Liberal Democrat and support the NDP).

Contrast that with the BC NDP which has been the most radical branch of the party. Despite socialism/social democracy being almost as popular in BC as it was and is in Manitoba and Saskachewan, the BC NDP has only won 3 elections because they managed to drive about half of federal Liberals into the arms of Social Credit and now the BC Liberals.

I'm not saying Horwath's campaign style and Mulcair's talk about Tony Blair is the way to go. Becoming Liberals-lite is not what I'm advocating for, either. However, I think the NDP needs to at least appeal to centrists (or scare them away from conservatives) to be particularly sucessful. I mean, which province is better off becuase of the NDP, Manitoba or BC?

Question

PrairieDemocrat15 wrote:

Question wrote:

Looking back on past elections, by voting NDP I basically voted against a national child care program (Martin) and a carbon tax (Duceppe), both of which I support.

 

Am I wrong to think this?

Don't you mean Dion?

Regardless, as a social democrat, I do not support Dion's BC Liberal-style carbon tax that reduces corporate taxes to "offset" the increased carbon tax revenues.

Manitoba has the lowest childcare fees outside of Quebec. The province also subsidizes only non-profit provides, resulting in for-proit childcare being almost non-existent in the Keystone Province. Childcare workers are also well-trained and certified, and, as has already been mentioned, have a pension plan.

What have the Liberals done in BC and Ontario (besides killing a similar system the BC NDP had set up)?

 

Woops, I do mean Dion.  I don't know what the Liberals have done in Ontario, I guess all day kindergarten was a step in the right direction but not as good as how Quebec and Manitoba sound.

Has the BC carbon tax helped reduce carbon emissions?  I'm not for lowering corporate taxes but if it lowered emissions I would think it was too important to reject for that reason.

Geoff

Ditching references to "socialism" in the preamble to the party's constitution during last year's federal convention showed how eager the party establishment is to wash away any "signpost for the left".  It was a sad spectacle to watch.

I have to concur with fiddling. I really want the NDP to win government, but even more, I want it to matter.

dabber

What's wrong with campaigning from the centre and governing from the left? Other than being as dishonest as the Liberals who campaign from the left and govern from the right, not much. Should you expect that the current federal NDP would govern in that progressive manner if elected? I can only use the example of the NDP in my province of Saskatchewan as a guidepost and so my answer would be "not likely." Beginning for the most part with the Roy Romanov-led party and continuing to the present this has been the election strategy of the Saskatchewan NDP. Once elected, they proudly boasted about being pragmatic, which, in practice meant choosing to ignore their traditional base in the hope that the party would attract conservative voters while at the same time holding to the misguided belief that voters on the left, having no other choice, would continue to vote NDP. The party elite didn't anticipate that the one choice remaining was not to vote at all.  The result has been that the NDP has not been able to get all its past supporters and likely supporters out to vote and it has been reduced to a small, weak, and ineffective opposition where they will likely remain and the present right wing party will continue to be elected until they ruin the province's economy which history has shown us they will eventually succeed in doing.  It seems that it eventually comes down to the "power vs. principles" argument which in my books doesn't deserve any credibility. When a citizen's election choice is the necessity to vote for the lesser of two evils, it is probably time to declare that this democracy is broken and it is time to start anew.

Rokossovsky

Monbiot should know. He has become a big league pitcher of "safe" nuclear power. His mewling over Fukushima has been quite a retreat from traditional activist environmental stances on nuclear power.

Rokossovsky

Geoff wrote:

Ditching references to "socialism" in the preamble to the party's constitution during last year's federal convention showed how eager the party establishment is to wash away any "signpost for the left".  It was a sad spectacle to watch.

I have to concur with fiddling. I really want the NDP to win government, but even more, I want it to matter.

I thought ditching the word "socialism" was the most honest thing the NDP has done in 25 years. It isn't a socialist party, clearly.

cco

dabber wrote:

What's wrong with campaigning from the centre and governing from the left?

I suppose we'll know if it ever happens. Anywhere.

onlinediscountanvils

Ken Burch wrote:
It has made it clear that its foreign policy will be just as militarist and market-imperialist as that of the Cons and the "Liberals"

[url=http://us8.campaign-archive2.com/?u=29e03b47f577476c86f682cfc&id=aaa06bf... the latest example[/url]

It is with regret that I write to tell you that the federal NDP has refused to allow me to stand as a candidate.

The local riding executive approved my candidacy for the nomination but the NDP National Director, Ann McGrath, has not approved me and the federal NDP executive will not let me stand as a candidate.

I have done nothing illegal or immoral, nothing that I am embarrassed about or which breaks the NDP constitution. The reason my candidacy is being blocked is political.

I have not received a written reason for this refusal and was told I will not receive a written reason. I was told verbally on the phone, that the reason was in relation to “what I said and did when my father was in Israel.” There was also concern that I was running to make Israel and Palestine an election issue.

takeitslowly

There is this myth promoted by people like onlinediscountanvils that Thomas Mulcair is so much more right wing than Jack Layton when they both share similar policy views. The only difference is that the NDP base loved Jack Layton despite his moderate platforms, while Thomas Mulcair is not as likeable or lovable so he couldn't get away with his moderate views as much as Jack Layton was able to. (Not to mention Mulcair nly joined the NDP relatively recently)

"Jack Layton has said virtually nothing about the hideous blockade of Gaza -- what commentators call an outdoor prison. Why? Because he is does not, apparently, have the political courage to take an independent stand on Canadian foreign policy. He said virtually nothing when eleven aid activists were murdered (some of them executed at close range or shot in the back) by Israeli commandos."

 

http://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/murray-dobbin/2010/06/libby-davies-and-n...

onlinediscountanvils

takeitslowly wrote:
There is this myth promoted by people like onlinediscountanvils that Thomas Mulcair is so much more right wing than Jack Layton

Care to cite some evidence for your claim?

fiddling

Rokossovsky wrote:

I thought ditching the word "socialism" was the most honest thing the NDP has done in 25 years. It isn't a socialist party, clearly.

Rokossovsky, I think I would invert your choices of when to apply pragmatism, in your above two posts.

Monbiot's reasoning for opposing the phaseout of nuclear recently is because the majority of the slack in practice gets taken up by fossil fuels rather than renwables.  Thus the urgent need to avoid hitting climate change tipping points trumps the longer-term need to deal with waste-disposal...choosing a lesser evil.

However, when it comes to the promotion of a collective versus individualist society, the same does not hold.  In the name of pursuing centrism as an electoral strategy over the past couple of decades, we're getting caught in a perpetual shift to the right of political discourse and the media landscape.  The end result?  The Liberals of the '70s were positively radical compared to the Mulcair NDP.  Mulcair opposes paying for social investments through increased taxation, is for pipelines if they are horizontal, and no longer speaks about supporting the poor - it's the middle class that matters to him (and Trudeau...and Harper...).  But everyone saw what happened to Olivia Chow's seat tonight.  So what good does abandoning principle really do in such matters?

 

fiddling

Rokossovsky wrote:

I thought ditching the word "socialism" was the most honest thing the NDP has done in 25 years. It isn't a socialist party, clearly.

Rokossovsky, I think I would invert your choices of when to apply pragmatism, in your above two posts.

Monbiot's reasoning for opposing the phaseout of nuclear recently is because the majority of the slack in practice gets taken up by fossil fuels rather than renwables.  Thus the urgent need to avoid hitting climate change tipping points trumps the longer-term need to deal with waste-disposal...choosing a lesser evil.

However, when it comes to the promotion of a collective versus individualist society, the same does not hold.  In the name of pursuing centrism as an electoral strategy over the past couple of decades, we're getting caught in a perpetual shift to the right of political discourse and the media landscape.  The end result?  The Liberals of the '70s were positively radical compared to the Mulcair NDP.  Mulcair opposes paying for social investments through increased taxation, is for pipelines if they are horizontal, and no longer speaks about supporting the poor - it's the middle class that matters to him (and Trudeau...and Harper...).  But everyone saw what happened to Olivia Chow's seat tonight.  So what good does abandoning principle really do in such matters?

 

takeitslowly

onlinediscountanvils wrote:

takeitslowly wrote:
There is this myth promoted by people like onlinediscountanvils that Thomas Mulcair is so much more right wing than Jack Layton

Care to cite some evidence for your claim?

 

It's my opinon and I accompanied a link to sustain it. Piss off.

onlinediscountanvils

takeitslowly wrote:

onlinediscountanvils wrote:

takeitslowly wrote:
There is this myth promoted by people like onlinediscountanvils that Thomas Mulcair is so much more right wing than Jack Layton

Care to cite some evidence for your claim?

 

It's my opinon and I accompanied a link to sustain it. Piss off.

In other words; no, you just want to make shit up.

Piss off yourself, asshole.

takeitslowly

onlinediscountanvils wrote:

takeitslowly wrote:

onlinediscountanvils wrote:

takeitslowly wrote:
There is this myth promoted by people like onlinediscountanvils that Thomas Mulcair is so much more right wing than Jack Layton

Care to cite some evidence for your claim?

 

It's my opinon and I accompanied a link to sustain it. Piss off.

In other words; no, you just want to make shit up.

Piss off yourself, asshole.

 

It's not enough you responded another thread with "Fuck Ann McGarth, Fuck the NDP" now you call me a name when I tell you to piss off.

Personal attack and name calling. Please flag this person.

Rokossovsky

Jack's position on Palestine was pretty mamby-pamby.

Good example, when Thomas Mulcair wanted to take down Libby Davies a notch for saying that the "occupation" began in 1948, instead of 1967, which is the somewhat "acceptable" line Jack did nothing to intervene. Libby went down.

Likewise, when Svend Robinson went on a fact-finding mission to Palestine, and Pat Martin's went after him, Layton did nothing to support Svend, and instead removed him from his role as Foreign Affairs critic.

Mulcair and Layton were peas in a pod.

takeitslowly

Actually Jack did something, Jack told Libby to apologize. To be honest, I was disappointed with Jack Layton. I was further disappointed with him when he told the pager working in the parliament that she was acting inappropriately for holding the "STOP HARPER" sign during the Thorne Speech.

 

I did feel extreamly sad he died of cancer, my mother died of cancer this year too. So sad.  I would have voted for him despite his clear shift to the centre even though I don't agree with his strategy in his final years.

takeitslowly

fiddling wrote:

Rokossovsky wrote:

I thought ditching the word "socialism" was the most honest thing the NDP has done in 25 years. It isn't a socialist party, clearly.

Rokossovsky, I think I would invert your choices of when to apply pragmatism, in your above two posts.

Monbiot's reasoning for opposing the phaseout of nuclear recently is because the majority of the slack in practice gets taken up by fossil fuels rather than renwables.  Thus the urgent need to avoid hitting climate change tipping points trumps the longer-term need to deal with waste-disposal...choosing a lesser evil.

However, when it comes to the promotion of a collective versus individualist society, the same does not hold.  In the name of pursuing centrism as an electoral strategy over the past couple of decades, we're getting caught in a perpetual shift to the right of political discourse and the media landscape.  The end result?  The Liberals of the '70s were positively radical compared to the Mulcair NDP.  Mulcair opposes paying for social investments through increased taxation, is for pipelines if they are horizontal, and no longer speaks about supporting the poor - it's the middle class that matters to him (and Trudeau...and Harper...).  But everyone saw what happened to Olivia Chow's seat tonight.  So what good does abandoning principle really do in such matters?

 

http://xfer.ndp.ca/2011/2011-Platform/NDP-2011-Platform-En.pdf   I don't think Jack Layton was very focus on supporting the poor although he did slightly mention them in the 2011 campaign. Andrea Horwath and Thomas Mulcair seem to be following the trend started by Jack Layton to talk more about creating job credits and making life more affordable for families. Jack Layton's 2011 platform was not fundamentally different than what Mulcair or Horwath have in mind. It's about preception, once again. Jack Layton seemed to have more heart and people want to like him.

 

Anyways. What happened to Olivia Chow's seat tonight has virtually NOTHING to do with the NDP not speaking about the poor.

 

Anyways. What happened to Olivia Chow's seat tonight has virtually NOTHING to do with the NDP not speaking about the poor.

 

It has to do with two things:

 

A first timer with no name recognition or major accomplishments (symbolic or otherwise and NOT CHINESE like Chow is)

 

Justin Trudeau’s sexy appeal as the hip guy who wants to legalize pot and his father gave Canadians freedom and equality in the Charter, baby.

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