What are some leftwing policies the NDP can take up?

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JKR

Pondering wrote:

JKR wrote:

So what's the difference between "social-democrat" and "liberal"?

I think there is a difference, although in practice both philosophies often support the same kinds of government policies. I think the philosophy of liberalism stresses individual liberty while the philosophy of social democracy stresses the need for the well being of the working class.

That's like saying what is the difference between an apple and a fruit?

There is none. "Apple" is a subset of "fruit".

I think you are thinking of libertarianism which is not the same thing.

These definitions are frequently covered in Political Science 101 where there is a clear separation made between "liberalism" and "social democracy." Unlike liberals, libertarians believe in small government. Both liberals and libertarians stress individual liberty. Social democrats believe in developing socialism through current western democratic institutions. That's why the term "democracy" takes precedence over the term "socialism." So the NDP are social democrats not democratic socialists.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
Unlike liberals, libertarians believe in small government. Both liberals and libertarians stress individual liberty.

Just want to add:  Civil Libertarians also believe in civil liberties, without believing that nobody should have to pay taxes, nor that the government should exist solely to protect "Libertarians" from their neighbours.

That's at LEAST as important a distinction as between "Social Democrat" and "Democratic Socialist".

Pondering

JKR wrote:

These definitions are frequently covered in Political Science 101 where there is a clear separation made between "liberalism" and "social democracy." Unlike liberals, libertarians believe in small government. Both liberals and libertarians stress individual liberty. Social democrats believe in developing socialism through current western democratic institutions. That's why the term "democracy" takes precedence over the term "socialism." So the NDP are social democrats not democratic socialists.

You leave out social liberalism and new liberalism

Liberalism in Canadian history

Historically, Canada has had two liberal phases. Prior to the 1960s, Canadian politics were classically liberal, i.e., there was a focus on individual liberty, representative government, and free markets. This brand of liberalism can be traced to the arrival in Canada of the United Empire Loyalists and the enactment of the Constitutional Act of 1791. The Constitutional Act established representative government through the elected assemblies of Upper and Lower Canada. While the Loyalists were faithful to British institutions and opposed to American republicanism, they were committed to North American ideals of individual liberty and representative government. This brand of liberalism was prominent though the Liberal government of Wilfrid Laurier, which advocated such policies as free trade with the United States, and beyond.

The second liberalism began, roughly, in the 1960s with the election of Lester B. Pearson as leader of the Liberal Party of Canada and can be traced through the politics of Pierre Trudeau, Jean Chrétien, and Paul Martin. This liberalism is what is properly called in a global context social liberalism, or what contemporary North American use of the word signifies as liberalism: liberal democracy, social justice, social progressivism, Third Way, multiculturalism, diplomacy in foreign policy, and a regulated free market economy (during the Trudeau era the Liberals arguably supported a mixed economy). In this second sense, the Liberal Party of Canada is presently one of the more liberal political parties in the Americas. By contrast, prior to the 1960s, the Liberal Party was one of the most liberal parties in the world in the first sense.

There is argued to be a third phase of liberalism emerging that is centred on a more sustainable form of politics. The argument is that action is needed to ensure that the environment, economy, and social elements of society will function not only in the short term, but long term as well. If action is not taken on all of these pressing issues then it can cause a direct threat to our freedoms. This emerging new liberalism is centred on an ideal of 'timeless freedom' which seeks to preserve the freedom of future generations through proactive action today. This would extend both positive and negative rights and responsibilities to future generations.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liberalism_in_Canada#Current_status

pir pir's picture

alan smithee wrote:

Well,I'm certain that I'm not a libertarian. I think Ayn Rand was a sociopathic lunatic and a steaming pile of dog shit. I'd be happy tap dancing on her grave and urinating on it.

But thanks for linking me to civil libertarianism. Problem is,I am anti-gun and in no way,shape or form support the NRA. I'm thinking my politics are a little more complicated than choosing a specific ideology.

Don't worry about it.  You can be more than one thing.  We all contain multitudes.

I view any such labels as merely rough starting points for conversation; they don't define all of me.  If I say I am a democratic socialist that doesn't mean I march in lockstep with anyone else who labels themselves that way, or that I am unwilling to work with social democrats and liberal democrats on goals we have in common, or that I might not diverge from other democratic socialists on some major issues.

Sometimes it helps to take the compound terms apart.  Socialism refers to the economic system I favour (social ownership of the means of production) as opposed to capitalism, from which I want to transition away.  Democrat refers to the political system I favour.  What the label doesn't tell you is how, as an individual, I am thinking to change the system, and exactly how I envision that alternate system to be organized.  See?  Just a starting point.

I'm also a progressive -- I believe that advancements in social matters, science, technology, economics, are vital to improve our own condition and that of this planet; I want us to eradicate poverty, end class warfare, eliminate sexism, racism, homophobia, etc.  And I'm a civil libertarian -- I believe we all should have the right to life, freedom of conscience, freedom of speech, freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, the right to privacy, the right to equal treatment under the law, the right of due process, the right to a fair trial, the right to vote, etc.

That doesn't sound so far removed from liberalism as it is understood in the US and Canada -- except for the socialism part, *grin*, and that's a mighty big exception.  But it's a far cry from the classical liberalism in Europe (where I come from), which is more about laissez-faire economics and limited government (and translates more closely to American Libertarians).  Liberalism is a political philosophy founded on principles of liberty and equality, but how any given liberal wants to achieve those ranges all the way from left to right wing ideas.  So you can see why not all of us want to be called "liberals", even if we might have many things in common with the current progressive liberal movement in North America.

lagatta

It's a bit different here in Québec, because we have far more exposure to debates and theory from Europe, and also because the PLQ is so rightwing (which is also the case in BC).

I do wish we'd get back to specific policy initiatives, though.

Geoff

lagatta wrote:

It's a bit different here in Québec, because we have far more exposure to debates and theory from Europe, and also because the PLQ is so rightwing (which is also the case in BC).

I do wish we'd get back to specific policy initiatives, though.

Agreed, let's talk about leftwing policies the party needs to adopt to get back on track.

Now that Tom Mulcair is setting up a committee to do a post mortem on the election, we need to put some ideas forward that will hopefully find a friendly ear on the committee. I'd like to see Gerald Caplan and Stephen Lewis on that committee.

I wonder who else would be able to provide the NDP with useful advice.

Unionist

Sean in Ottawa wrote:

I think defining terms is an essential part of communication.

I, on the other hand, think that agreeing upon the meaning of the terms we use is an essential part of communication.

Quote:
Otherwise what you say is meaningless.

Well, I'd say pointless. If we don't use terms the same way (whether you or I think our definitions meet the Wikipedia Gold Standard or not), we're not communicating, are we?

Quote:
Just becuase terms are not universal or agreed and instead they were debated does not mean an attempt at defining terms is not essential.

I totally disagree. Attempting to define terms like "socialism" or "liberal", or "left", or "right", or "progressive", etc., is not only not essential - it is a patently diversionary exercise guaranteed to avoid real conversation about real-life urgent issues until the Messiah comes and tells us who had the right definitions.

I guess I'm saying this: Rather than trying to define "democratic socialist" (for example), let's just talk about the principles and words and actions that need to be discussed and promoted and opposed. I don't think terminology should overcome substance.

jas

Orangutan wrote:
Balanced budgets are a LEFT WING policy.  The NDP have the best record in government according to Statistics Canada for providing balanced budgets.  The worst are the Liberals.

That does not mean big spending.  We need to tax the rich and large corporations and spend on social programs - within a balanced budget

Yup. And we need to reappropriate the term, and take ownership of the ideal. Redefine it. Fiscal responsibility includes social responsibility. Period.

takeitslowly

how do we hold brad lavigne, anne mcgrath, and james pratt accountable?

Unionist

takeitslowly wrote:

how do we hold brad lavigne, anne mcgrath, and james pratt accountable?

You don't. Figure out who followed their advice, and hold them accountable. What joy is to be found in firing some functionaries?

For example: Did you agree with their banning of candidates who made mild criticisms of Israel? Then buy yourself a good mirror, look long and hard into it, and ask: "Where did my conscience go?" Likewise with all the other right-wing shit that went down. Blame yourself for not speaking out publicly against such crimes.

I spoke out - every way I could. So I don't "blame" these functionaries. I would, of course, fire their sorry asses and never let them near the party again. But hold them "accountable"? Simple. Get them the fuck out.

takeitslowly

how do we get them out

Unionist

takeitslowly wrote:

how do we get them out

Stand up, speak out.

greatwhite

The NDP lost because the leadership wanted Mulcair to appear Prime Ministerial and by moving to the centre right. This was done to avoid criticism that their policies were scary. By doing that they left room for the Liberals to out flank them on the left.

Mulcair only appeared to be an old man with no progressive tendency. This might be because he is still a liberal at heart.

It is always a mistake for them to move to the centre because voters will vote for the real centrists (Liberals) every time and thus the NDP couldn't attract new voters who clearly wanted progressive policies to vote for.

The NDP can't win with only its base which stayed with them. So their loss was a strategic error by the leadership and some of the will have to go.

The NDP is just like the others in that the leaders ignore the wishes of the rank and file members.

 

pir pir's picture

greatwhite wrote:
The NDP is just like the others in that the leaders ignore the wishes of the rank and file members.

Do they ignore the rank-and-file?  I mean, clearly around here a lot of us are upset.  I know in my neighbourhood some people are grumbling too, but not all (and my neighbourhood voted pretty solidly NDP, and has a history of doing so).  For the most part people are just glad that Harper is gone, and that their MP is NDP; they're very... local in their concerns.  I'm not really well connected outside of that.  I joined here because I am looking for an outlet for my frustration; I am not involved in internal party politics at all.  I know individual people were warning of the dangers; but were a lot of people who ARE involved, incumbents, new candidates, riding association folks, were they telling the leadership that they thought the campaign strategy was badly flawed?  Or is this mostly hindsight?

I figure the least I can do is write to my new MP and express my worries about the path the NDP is on.  What else can I do?  Honestly, I don't know that the NDP needs to embrace a lot of new left-wing policies; I feel it primarily should get more solidly behind the ones it used to champion, pull back from the centre -- which I always thought was more of a cynical ploy than a real attitude, but considering it's been going on since before Layton, that seems naive, because how long can you pretend before you become what you pretend. Maybe the majority of the rank-and-file overall wants this move to the centre because they buy the argument that it makes the NDP more electable.  Then we're mostly shouting into the wind -- unless this election's results gets them to change their minds.  But I really don't know.

Anyway; policies.  My biggest wish is probably Guaranteed Annual Income.  Not as an election strategy, but because it would be a huge game changer for people, and that's what I primarily care about.  One can push change even if one never gets elected to govern.

wage zombie

pir wrote:

Do they ignore the rank-and-file?  I mean, clearly around here a lot of us are upset.  I know in my neighbourhood some people are grumbling too, but not all (and my neighbourhood voted pretty solidly NDP, and has a history of doing so).

Quote:

I'm not really well connected outside of that.  I joined here because I am looking for an outlet for my frustration; I am not involved in internal party politics at all.

Quote:

I figure the least I can do is write to my new MP and express my worries about the path the NDP is on.  What else can I do?

I think this describes the problem well.  There are a chunk of people who are dissatisfied and grumbling--with no avenue to take things further.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
I think this describes the problem well.  There are a chunk of people who are dissatisfied and grumbling--with no avenue to take things further.

There's no avenue?

If the NDP are just incorrigible centrist sell-outs, then what party is to the left of the NDP?

Supporting that party instead wouldn't be an (obvious) avenue?

wage zombie

You're putting words in my mouth.  No thanks.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

I'm not putting words in anyone's mouths, though I'd be interested to hear the words from theirs.

Why was a party to the left "no avenue"?  Why is it now?

Pondering

The plan that began with Jack Layton brought the NDP a great deal of success, to the brink of winning it all. It might have worked. One more dud leader and the NDP would have won this election. I don't think it would have been worth it under these circumstances. It would have solidified the NDP's move to the centre. They only lunged left on TPP and marijuana at the last minute and it probably lost them more votes than gained them.

That strategy is now over. Short of a miracle running as a "better liberal party" is no longer an option. That's a good thing for the progressives of the NDP.

Sean in Ottawa

Unionist wrote:

Sean in Ottawa wrote:

I think defining terms is an essential part of communication.

I, on the other hand, think that agreeing upon the meaning of the terms we use is an essential part of communication.

Quote:
Otherwise what you say is meaningless.

Well, I'd say pointless. If we don't use terms the same way (whether you or I think our definitions meet the Wikipedia Gold Standard or not), we're not communicating, are we?

Quote:
Just becuase terms are not universal or agreed and instead they were debated does not mean an attempt at defining terms is not essential.

I totally disagree. Attempting to define terms like "socialism" or "liberal", or "left", or "right", or "progressive", etc., is not only not essential - it is a patently diversionary exercise guaranteed to avoid real conversation about real-life urgent issues until the Messiah comes and tells us who had the right definitions.

I guess I'm saying this: Rather than trying to define "democratic socialist" (for example), let's just talk about the principles and words and actions that need to be discussed and promoted and opposed. I don't think terminology should overcome substance.

 

I take issue with almost all of what you have said here. Defining terms is a well-established concept.

Defining terms implies a responsibility for the speaker to explain what they mean rather than presume that everyone has the same meaning. Agreeing to terms sounds good but who is part of the agreement? Who gets to be in the conversation? Where the differences cannot be bridged who gets to decide -- or do you stop talking? New or different ideas may require challenges to commonly understood definitions. Defining rather than agreeing is central to both freedom of expression and the evolution of ideas.

There should be no expectation that an idea ought to be preceded by a negotiation for its building blocks (the words). Rather there is a responsibility not to misuse and to speak in as widely understood terms as possible with the freedom to challenge -- so long as you explain. This allows thoughts to evolve rather than stagnate.

Now there are exceptions. Where objectives are limited, the audience is defined (and participating) and where precision is more important than the exploration of new ideas. Most obvious would be the negotiation of a contract where more than one party is authoring the document.

For statements where there is no direct presumption of contact with a consensus of readers, the correct approach is defining terms grounded in the duel concepts of freedom of expression and responsibility. Freedom to challenge definitions and propose new ones is essential and responsibility to include enough standard definitions in order to be understood is essential to explain -- just as in mathematics you cannot cope with so many variables that they can no longer be determined.

We can communicate even if we disagree over key definitions and in practice this is common. What is required is for the listener to understand the definition applied by the speaker and respond such that the original speaker (now the listener) understands the respondent's use of language. If that communication includes a robust challenge and unresolvable disagreement in terms, this does not doom communication. The original speaker must accept that the definitions used by a respondent may not be the same and both have to explain where needed.

In short you as the speaker have to give people who are going to hear you a reasonable key for them to understand you but you are not required to forge absolute or even majority agreement for the definitions of the terms you use. You are obliged to explain them if they are not obvious or if you are going to use the terms in a different way. There is nothing wrong with person "A" saying I use this word in this way and here is why. And person "B" saying I hear you but I disagree with that definition and propose this one. You simply need to know what someone is saying -- they do not have to use your vocabulary completely so long as, where needed, definitions are provided.

This is a point of logic really. Where you have a variable it does not have to have the same value for understanding. We can discuss something where x=2, dispute that and argue about what it could mean if x=7. Perhaps we might even after examination conclude that x=5 after all. The important thing is that each explains what value they place on the variable. There must be enough common language but this is not absolute.

***

I also disagree with your contention that terms you are not interested in are not worth defining. People are using them – and in ways that matter to them. The terms and associated ideas are contained in expressions of intention or identity of participants both in declarative (about the self) and accusatory (toward the other) ways. I consider the rejection of someone trying to understand through the building blocks of ideas (words) to be the real diversion.

I also consider what you might call "real-life urgent" to be subjective as there is value in placing these ideas in to a wider or a more specific context. I thoroughly reject the idea that anyone has the right to question someone else’s exploration by placing their value on someone else. That is aggressive, infuriating and extremely negative. If you are not interested in a definition someone is discussing that is not license to enter the conversation and demand they stop their exploration while claiming their conversation is a diversion. What you are saying is shut up and talk about what I am interested in. Ask yourself exactly what you are trying to achieve as you cloak your conversation in a loose concept of "agreement" while you are really trying to shut up the inquiry of another person and redirect them to your interest. Where is the “agreement” there? If you have a real life urgent issue -- dial 911 -- don't go to a political discussion site and demand your priority and interest be everyone else’s.

I have to say I may dispute what others say on this site but running around telling other people that what they are talking about is not important is a very lousy way to build any bridge to base any communication on. This is after all not an ER department. It is a philosophical political site where different people have their own objectives, interests, method of inquiry. And each has the right here to pursue those with no requirement that there be consensus agreement on what topics must be discussed -- or the meanings of all terms.

For my part, I think this conversation about the basics of communication has value. Some may be interested, some may ignore. And some may even want to question the meanings of the words I used. And that is why this place exists. In a place of argument this conversation has as much value as a specific policy could.

 

mark_alfred

Some interesting thoughts on policies and stuff by Stanford in this Rabble article:  http://rabble.ca/columnists/2015/11/progress-and-battle-economic-ideas-e...

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Here is a great quote from Saint Tommy. It is in a good article about the NDP/CCF and its past leaders. I am old school and believe that teaching people about socialism and moving the goal posts to the left is the proper goal of a left wing party. The NDP is supposed to be a party aligned with progressive movements who share the party's goal of trying to change our capitalist society. Instead it stood apart from the Quebec student movement and Idle No More and was openly hostile to the Palestian rights movement.

Quote:

Since we in the party hold Tommy in such high regard, we might ask what he would say about winning votes and members by straying from the party’s historical mission. In his own words from the early 1980s:

If I could press a button tonight to bring a million into this party, and knew that those people were coming in for some ulterior motive but they didn’t understand the kind of society we’re trying to build, I wouldn’t press the button because we don’t want those kind of people.

The message might not be as cheery as Mouseland, but it’s more poignant, applicable, and challenging to the current party’s direction than anything else. The question remains: do NDPers want Tommy’s legacy of democratic socialism, or are we content being yet another small-l liberal party in a political landscape full of them? I don’t feel we can have it both ways.

https://canadiandimension.com/articles/view/todays-ndp-socialism-and-the...

 

Slumberjack

Quote:
I wouldn’t press the button because we don’t want those kind of people.

What about, when those kind of people become a majority in the party, and they occupy influential positions at the head office, and it turns out that you're (Socialists) the ones who are not wanted? I would think it's time for a new party on the left.

mark_alfred

Regarding the thread topic, I think the main leftwing policy the NDP can take up now is to be an effective opposition to the current right-wing Liberal government, just as they were previously to the former right-wing Conservative government.  Mass mobilization of and cooperation with activists in various fronts, particularly on electoral reform.  The fact that Mulcair is on the home page of Fair Vote Canada is a good start.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

mark_alfred wrote:

Regarding the thread topic, I think the main leftwing policy the NDP can take up now is to be an effective opposition to the current right-wing Liberal government, just as they were previously to the former right-wing Conservative government.  Mass mobilization of and cooperation with activists in various fronts, particularly on electoral reform.  The fact that Mulcair is on the home page of Fair Vote Canada is a good start.

That is the core of the problem with Mulcair's NDP. In the leadup to this election the largest group of NDP MP's in history refused to join the fight in the streets by standing shoulder to shoulder with activists. The Quebec student movement, Idle No More, NB's anti-fracking movement, highlighted by the RCMP's military operation against a peaceful camp of Elsipogtog FN's and their allies, are just a few issues off the top of my head from the last four years. Then again there is the ongoing suport for the brutal Israeli occupation and voting to bomb the infrastructure of Libya plus vocal support for the use of sanctions against "enemies" of NATO.

I helped elect Svend Robinson and then Bill Siksay and marched side by side with them and Libby Davis at demonstrations of all kinds including walking picket lines. I've listened to Bill and Libby speak passionately about peace in the Middle East for both small crowds and large crowds. Bill didn't run in 2011 because he was silenced and Libby didn't run in 2015. In the 2008 campaign the central campaign tried to order our campaign to stop displaying anything from the StopWarCa [Vancouver's Labour/Community coalition of organizations united for Justice and Peace] because they were too radical. 

The last thing the NDP needs to be is a party led by a liberal minded centrist who thinks Maggie was not the Wicked Witch but a role model for governance.  

 

Barry Weisleder

Election 2015: From Tory Harsh Manners to Liberal Sunny Deception

It was a shift from dark, overtly reactionary ideas to a deceptively sunny version of the prevailing corporate agenda. That's what voters across Canada got on October 19. Many people were spooked by the autocratic, racist wedge politics of the Stephen Harper Conservative regime. Desperate for 'change', they opted for the major party that seemed to offer a bigger break with the mean, fearful, bleak status quo. That was the Liberal Party, led by photogenic, 43-year old Justin Trudeau. In the process, change-seekers demoted the labor-based New Democratic Party of Tom Mulcair from first to third place in the polls. Mulcair made it relatively easy for Trudeau to appear to outflank him on the left. The NDP chief ran a stodgy, overly cautious election campaign whose balanced-budget mantra appealed futilely to fiscal conservatives. It offered little respite for the sufferers of the war on wages, and for victims of the ravages of precarious employment. On pipeline building, Mulcair went from being an advocate to being ambiguous. His weak policy on the environment, including his feckless 'cap and trade' position, hurt the party in Quebec as much as his principled defense of the right of Muslim women to wear a veil in public.

A great amount of money was spent on the 11-week campaign, the longest in modern Canadian history. Over $40 million just by the Liberal Party. Over $50 million by the Tories. The NDP likely a lot less. But the big spenders pumped up the Liberals from third to first place. Which begs the question: Why did significant sectors of big business turn away from Harper, and towards Trudeau, especially over the past year? Could it be that the Conservatives' harshly confrontationist, bullying behaviour hurt more than it helped the rulers implement the capitalist austerity agenda in Canada? Perhaps a significant section of the corporate elite would rather access the scientific data that Harper buried. Perhaps the bosses prefer not to risk shattering illusions in bourgeois democracy when Liberal deception will suffice.

It's time for Mulcair and his team to go!

In any case, the triumph of the Liberal Party was not just a condemnation of the authoritarian, manipulative rule of the Harper-led Conservatives. It was not just a rejection of their loaded omnibus bills, repeat prorogations of Parliament, and voter suppression tactics. Nor was it simply a triumph of style over substance, a la Trudeau. It was also an indictment of the overall political direction of the NDP.

The course taken by the party is not exclusively the fault of Tom Mulcair. But those responsible for it certainly include the staff he selected and the stifling political culture that he, and the iconic Jack Layton before him, fostered.

As a Globe and Mail column argued on election day, "The most unpardonable mistake, however, was to think the NDP could move blandly to the centre without the Liberal Party filling not only the progressive vacuum left behind but also seizing the 'change' mantle that allowed it to claim its legitimacy as the true alternative to the Tories."

Certainly, Canada's 'first past the post' electoral system grossly exaggerated the parliamentary outcome in favour of the Liberals. With only 39.5 per cent of the popular vote, the Liberal Party captured 55 per cent of the seats in the House of Commons (184 of 338 MPs). The Conservatives' 31.9 per cent share of the votes translated into 99 seats, or 29 per cent of the Commons. The NDP's 44 elected MPs, a precipitous drop from 103 seats in 2011, represents only 13 per cent of the seats, despite garnering nearly 20 per cent of the votes cast in 2015. Also underrepresented are the Bloc Quebecois, which picked up 10 seats, and the Green Party one.

But there is no denying the massive move to the Liberals. Millions of ballots were transferred from past NDP supporters, as well as from new and occasional voters. The overall turnout rose from 61 to 68 per cent of the eligible electorate. The union-linked NDP, which campaigned like a fiscally conservative big business party, failed to win the hearts and minds of people looking for action to lift the country out of economic stagnation, and to reverse deepening social inequality.

In the wake of "the NDP's disastrous move to the mushy middle", as described by Desmond Cole in the Toronto Star on October 15, the NDP Socialist Caucus called on Tom Mulcair to resign as federal leader. It asked the party's federal executive to set in motion a process to select a new leader and adopt a new political course that will advance the interests of working people, youths, seniors, women and the victims of bigotry, racism and militarism.

The NDP 'brain trust', including Brad Lavigne, George Smith, Ann McGrath and Karl Belanger, ought to go too. They vanished the party's adopted policy resolutions from the NDP web site. They blocked or removed pro-Palestine New Democrats from being party candidates. They silenced Linda McQuaig for stating the obvious -- that oil and gas resources must be left in the ground if Canada is to meet its carbon emission goals and curb catastrophic climate change.

Clearly, the problem is not just the Leader and a small group of party officials. It is a large, super-centralized apparatus; it is a lack of internal democray and debate; and it is a general political direction that subordinates the needs and aspirations of millions to the survival of an outmoded and environmentally toxic economic system. Lasting change must be generated from the bottom-up. But surely, that must include seeking the removal of the Leader and officials who do not listen to the membership.

Enter the Ly'in Liberals

Folks, get ready. Be prepared to be disappointed by the past-masters of deceit and deception -- by the party that held the reins of government in Ottawa longer than any other in the 148 years since Confederation.

Trudeau and the Liberals promised a tax break for middle income earners. It will amount to peanuts. Slightly higher taxes on upper incomes will not put a dent in the banks and giant corporations that are raking in billions, often hiding their riches in offshore accounts. In fact, the politically well-connected super-rich in the construction sector will be the prime beneficiaries of new expenditures slated for infrastructure repairs.

Law C-51, which boosts police powers, will not be repealed, only amended to insert an 'oversight' mechanism. Will that be anything like the 'oversight' exercised by judges, acting in secret, concerning Muslims and Arabs detained in Canada for many years without formal charges or trial? In addition to voting for C-51, the Liberal Party backed Harper's law against “Barbaric Cultural Practices”, objecting mainly to the name. Perhaps they will rescind the 'snitch line'. Perhaps they'll repeal the law to strip the Canadian citizenship of dual citizens convicted of 'terrorism' in thought or deed. But curb police powers? Just ask newly minted Liberal MP Bill Blair, the former Toronto police chief who was in charge when over 1,000 G20 protesters were detained without charge in 2010.

Justin Trudeau said he wants to examine the still-secret details of the Trans Pacific Partnership agreement. He hastened to add that the Liberal Party is pro-trade. That really means it favours corporate property rights over the needs of the vast majority of the population. Expect to see the TPP ratified in Parliament, and CETA likewise, regardless the cost in auto and farm jobs, higher medical drug prices, and the loss of environmental and social protections that will be even more subject to corporate challenge before trade dispute tribunals.

Will the promised public enquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women produce another hollow 'apology', or will it lead to punishment of negligent police officials? Will it issue a set of recommendations destined to gather dust, or cause a real transfer of corporate wealth to indigenous communities to foster good jobs, quality health and education services, and end the super-vulnerability of young women to drugs and sexual abuse?

Trudeau pledged electoral reform. But you can bet your bottom dollar it won't be proportional representation. If anything, it will be 'ranked balloting', a mechanism is designed to distribute second and third preferences to establishment parties. The discredited Senate, with or without the fig leaf of 'non-partisan' appointments, will continue to squander money and oxygen.

The Liberals said they'd halt the termination of home mail delivery, but not reverse it -- much less restore lost mail services and maintain letter carrier jobs.

Legalization of marijuana will be welcomed by consumers. At the same time, it will primarily mean huge profits for politically well-connected growers and marketers.

Trudeau will go the COP21 conference in Paris in December. He will talk a good game on climate change. But his commitment to the oil patch, to tar sands development, to 'cap and trade' (i.e. the sale of permits to burn carbon), will show where he really stands on climate justice and indigenous people's rights.

Trudeau pledged to end Canada's combat mission in Iraq and Syria, but not to end Canadian Forces' involvement in NATO, and in so-called training operations in Ukraine, Afghanistan, Congo, Darfur, Sudan, the West Bank, and Haiti – all in support of right wing regimes. Ottawa's backing for the Zionist apartheid state of Israel will be undiminished.

Canada should accept many more Syrian refugees. Even if Trudeau's goal of 25,000 by the end of 2015 is met (extremely unlikely), the causes behind the displacement of millions -- war and climate change -- can be addressed only by halting western military intervention into the resource-rich countries of the South and East. Pious Liberal promises to re-settle hordes of refugees cannot ameliorate the profit-lust and dire humanitarian consequences of imperialism.

Instead of taking a wait-and-see attitude, labour and social justice activists need to hit the streets now to demand positive action from the Trudeau government on all these fronts.

Good jobs for all. Tax the rich. Repeal C-51 and anti-labour laws C-377 and C-525. No to the TPP and CETA. Fully restore home mail delivery. No new pipelines. Nationalize Big Oil and Gas and the giant banks, and invest heavily in public green energy systems. Justice for indigenous peoples. Canada out of NATO. Bring the troops home. For public ownership of the commanding heights of the economy under workers' and community democratic control. Those should be the demands of every union, of every working class and popular organization, and of the NDP.

Sadly, for decades, the party and labour brass have been veering to the right. The result has been more and more concessions to Capital, and less democracy in the workers' organizations.

Electorally, it has been a time of weak, short-lived electoral gains, followed by setbacks and disasters for the NDP. Between 2011 and today, the party blew a provincial election in British Columbia, lost government in Nova Scotia after only one term, failed to advance in Ontario (where provincial Leader Andrea Horwath pledged no new taxes and a balanced budget - sound familiar?), and the NDP government in Manitoba plunged in popularity. The jury is still out on Rachel Notley's crew in Alberta, whose first provincial budget took a direction opposite to Mulcair's.

But the verdict on Mulcair and company is clear. The NDP brain trust masterminded the biggest loss of seats in party history. Many good MPs, like Megan Leslie and Andrew Cash, went down to defeat. They will be missed. Pro-military Peter Stoffer, and the profane anti-socialist Pat Martin, not so much. The party was shut out in Altantic Canada and Toronto. It was severely cut down in Quebec. Sadly, star social justice advocate Linda McQuaig failed in her second bid in Toronto Centre. Happily, leftist MP Niki Ashton, who ran for federal Leader in 2012, was re-elected in Churchill, Manitoba. She is joined in Parliament by left economist Erin Weir from Regina-Lewvan. So, there is hope. But hope must be accompanied by political clarity, unity in action, and relentless struggle from the bottom up.

The NDP, the only mass, labour-based political party in North America remains viable as a potential challenger to capitalist austerity, climate injustice, social inequality, racism, sexism and war. Jeremy Corbyn's stunning leadership victory in the British Labour Party, ongoing grassroots opposition across Europe to the EU bankers' agenda, the Bernie Sanders phenomenon in the USA (albeit in the boss-owned Democratic Party), and even the ouster of the hated Stephen Harper regime in Ottawa all show a growing appetite for significant change. That is the agenda the NDP Socialist Caucus vigorously advances. We will discover Canada's Jeremy Corbyn as we take up the struggle against the ruling rich, their state, and the misleaders of the working class.

genstrike

Barry Weisleder wrote:

Election 2015: From Tory Harsh Manners to Liberal Sunny Deception

It was a shift from dark, overtly reactionary ideas to a deceptively sunny version of the prevailing corporate agenda...

You know, it's bad form to spam threads by posting entire articles from your website.  If you want to link to an article, the polite thing to do is quote a particularly poignant excerpt and post a link.

Sean in Ottawa

There seems little desire for the NDP leadership to take responsibility -- as yet.

This better be indicated soon or the the next penny will drop: a push for a creation of a new party.

The NDP cannot pretend that it owns the left and might be shocked to learn that there are quite a few people who want to see a real conversation ratehr than excuses. Many of those want this to happen urgently not close to the next election -- or worse, after.

The only good thing out of this situation is the time before the next election is long. The NDP better not squander it or people may well decide that it might actually be faster and easier to build than to renovate.

As far as the NDP policies -- there needs to be a strong opposition -- we all agree. But I am very unhappy with the statement in this thread that the government is a "right wing Liberal government." I call BS on that, and that BS is central to what is wrong with the NDP.

There is as yet little indication where the Liberal party is and people will laugh at the NDP for taking this position. The Liberal party is generally what it has been, it is no more right than it has been over the last couple decades. It is to the left of the Harper government. The people see this clearly. The NDP looks stupid not to.

The NDP is different in that it can stake out a position firmly to the left of where the Liberals actually are. They do not need to fantasize that the Liberals are the same as the Conservatives or that they are to the right of where they actually are. This fanatasy is part of the problem the NDP finds itself in. The Liberals are not more right than usual and yet they leave loads of room on the left for the NDP if the NDP would only take it.

In taking it the NDP has to put forward not just a few token left positions but back them up with confidence and move the to the centre of the party's rhetoric. The NDP's last election campaign had the party bring to the table policies, as if by duty, and then hide them. It was like the old NDP with nationalize the banks policy -- taken in order to burnish left credentials but promptly hidden. The real progressive policies the NDP had that it refused to talk about in any consistent way.

And some of the NDP policies were great principles but not well thought out in policy and certainly not promoted. The NDP tax policy ranged from undetailed to poorly thought out to all the way to stupid. As usual. The NDP if it wants to stake out a difference it must stop mumbling on economic, tax and finance policies.

I have laid out some of what I want to see in this area.

Tax for business: increase and connect to salaries paid so that freeloaders do not get lower taxes provided to incent employment without ever having to deliver; nobody gets job incentives but instead get actual support for greater money spent on salaries.

Tax for small business: Stop rewarding small business with lower rates. Many small businesses cannot make any profit. Replace these with better policies to support the success of small business instead of formulating small business policy around rewarding those who have already made it. Help with payroll costs so they can hire and expand is better than a tax cut and will help small businesses who have not yet broken even.

Tax on the wealthy: support a progressive tax regime. Yes tax them more.

Tax on lower incomes: stop income tax on wages below a laiving wage now -- double the basic exemption just to start.

The next thing the NDP must do is change the relationship of tax from cost to investment. Each year Canadians should recieve a national annual report. This should explain in broad and understandable terms where there money goes and who is paying it. It should also explain the principle behind fair taxation.There should be minority reports from each of the political parties as well included.The non partisan parts should come from a non-partisan source like the PBO or Auditor General.

You wonder why taxation is so unpopular and not see as investment -- nobody provides any education on it or accountibility. Saying to go read a budget document that at once misses key details, provides little to no analysis and spreads a pile of political propaganda on top.

I can go through a number of other policies but this is what I would start with on tax policies.

 

Unionist

Another time Mr. Weisleder spammed our board, he was calling on the NDP to support the Libyan "insurgents" and to demand that they be armed.

[url=http://rabble.ca/babble/introductions/vote-ndp-may-2-no-coalition-libera... commented[/url]:

Unionist, on April 20, 2011 wrote:

Arming the insurgents? Really. This is the "left" wing of the NDP? God save the NDP.

Apparently Mr. Weisleder was done spamming, as he didn't reply.

So I tried again [url=http://rabble.ca/babble/introductions/vote-ndp-may-2-no-coalition-libera... months later[/url]:

Unionist, on January 3, 2012 wrote:

I still want to know which Libyan "rebels" Barry Weisleder thought should be armed in order to overthrow Gaddafi.

Are he and his organization not accountable for their publicly-proclaimed stands? How about an explanation? Re-thinking in light of events?

And many other times since.

Anyone who is unanswerable for their stands, and incapable of reflection and self-criticism, will never be part of progressive change in this country. Just sectarian screaming from the sidelines.

 

Sean in Ottawa

Unionist wrote:

Another time Mr. Weisleder spammed our board, he was calling on the NDP to support the Libyan "insurgents" and to demand that they be armed.

[url=http://rabble.ca/babble/introductions/vote-ndp-may-2-no-coalition-libera... commented[/url]:

Unionist, on April 20, 2011 wrote:

Arming the insurgents? Really. This is the "left" wing of the NDP? God save the NDP.

Apparently Mr. Weisleder was done spamming, as he didn't reply.

So I tried again [url=http://rabble.ca/babble/introductions/vote-ndp-may-2-no-coalition-libera... months later[/url]:

Unionist, on January 3, 2012 wrote:

I still want to know which Libyan "rebels" Barry Weisleder thought should be armed in order to overthrow Gaddafi.

Are he and his organization not accountable for their publicly-proclaimed stands? How about an explanation? Re-thinking in light of events?

And many other times since.

Anyone who is unanswerable for their stands, and incapable of reflection and self-criticism, will never be part of progressive change in this country. Just sectarian screaming from the sidelines.

 

Ok so this is an argument with someone who did a drive by spamming campaign. OK.

Now were there people who are still here calling for this? If not why would anyone else want to carry on the argument or answer for what's-his-name?

mark_alfred

kropotkin1951 wrote:

mark_alfred wrote:

Regarding the thread topic, I think the main leftwing policy the NDP can take up now is to be an effective opposition to the current right-wing Liberal government, just as they were previously to the former right-wing Conservative government.  Mass mobilization of and cooperation with activists in various fronts, particularly on electoral reform.  The fact that Mulcair is on the home page of Fair Vote Canada is a good start.

That is the core of the problem with Mulcair's NDP. In the leadup to this election the largest group of NDP MP's in history refused to join the fight in the streets by standing shoulder to shoulder with activists. The Quebec student movement, Idle No More, NB's anti-fracking movement, highlighted by the RCMP's military operation against a peaceful camp of Elsipogtog FN's and their allies, are just a few issues off the top of my head from the last four years. Then again there is the ongoing suport for the brutal Israeli occupation and voting to bomb the infrastructure of Libya plus vocal support for the use of sanctions against "enemies" of NATO.

I helped elect Svend Robinson and then Bill Siksay and marched side by side with them and Libby Davis at demonstrations of all kinds including walking picket lines. I've listened to Bill and Libby speak passionately about peace in the Middle East for both small crowds and large crowds. Bill didn't run in 2011 because he was silenced and Libby didn't run in 2015. In the 2008 campaign the central campaign tried to order our campaign to stop displaying anything from the StopWarCa [Vancouver's Labour/Community coalition of organizations united for Justice and Peace] because they were too radical. 

The last thing the NDP needs to be is a party led by a liberal minded centrist who thinks Maggie was not the Wicked Witch but a role model for governance.  

I half agree.  I feel the NDP needs to be less timid, but not necessary in the positions it takes (IE, I don't feel they have to declare an intention to nationalize everything to win -- in fact, I feel that extreme stances would not be useful in getting change).  Rather, they need to be less timid in defending the decent stances that they already have taken.  For instance, when Trudeau stated that he would increase infrastructure via deficit spending rather than the "austerity" of balanced budgets as the NDP promoted, the NDP should have taken that as an opportunity to promote corporate tax increases to support programs over the long term.  Granted, they did mention this, but only minimally.  Instead it was "not pass the debt onto our grandchildren" rhetoric. 

Granted, I'm guessing that corporate tax increases was seen as a slightly taboo topic (likely in focus groups).  I saw this myself.  I recall speaking with a parent who made okay money, but found child care expenses tough still.  I mentioned that the NDP promised to create $15 a day child care, whereas the Liberals promised means tested child care.  She stated that the Liberals were not offering anything new, and to her it would be useless anyway.  She was intrigued by the NDP promise, though, and asked, "how will they afford it?"  I said through corporate tax increases, at which she said, "oh, then the price will be passed onto us."  It seemed to kill her enthusiasm for the NDP's promise, which she herself would have benefitted from.

I don't think a lot of people here realize the current difficulty of getting people on board with a more egalitarian program.  The assumption that promising to hike taxes on corporations (and elsewhere) and introduce a whole range of egalitarian programming will get people on board may not be as true as some here like to proclaim.

Sean in Ottawa

mark_alfred wrote:

kropotkin1951 wrote:

mark_alfred wrote:

Regarding the thread topic, I think the main leftwing policy the NDP can take up now is to be an effective opposition to the current right-wing Liberal government, just as they were previously to the former right-wing Conservative government.  Mass mobilization of and cooperation with activists in various fronts, particularly on electoral reform.  The fact that Mulcair is on the home page of Fair Vote Canada is a good start.

That is the core of the problem with Mulcair's NDP. In the leadup to this election the largest group of NDP MP's in history refused to join the fight in the streets by standing shoulder to shoulder with activists. The Quebec student movement, Idle No More, NB's anti-fracking movement, highlighted by the RCMP's military operation against a peaceful camp of Elsipogtog FN's and their allies, are just a few issues off the top of my head from the last four years. Then again there is the ongoing suport for the brutal Israeli occupation and voting to bomb the infrastructure of Libya plus vocal support for the use of sanctions against "enemies" of NATO.

I helped elect Svend Robinson and then Bill Siksay and marched side by side with them and Libby Davis at demonstrations of all kinds including walking picket lines. I've listened to Bill and Libby speak passionately about peace in the Middle East for both small crowds and large crowds. Bill didn't run in 2011 because he was silenced and Libby didn't run in 2015. In the 2008 campaign the central campaign tried to order our campaign to stop displaying anything from the StopWarCa [Vancouver's Labour/Community coalition of organizations united for Justice and Peace] because they were too radical. 

The last thing the NDP needs to be is a party led by a liberal minded centrist who thinks Maggie was not the Wicked Witch but a role model for governance.  

I half agree.  I feel the NDP needs to be less timid, but not necessary in the positions it takes (IE, I don't feel they have to declare an intention to nationalize everything to win -- in fact, I feel that extreme stances would not be useful in getting change).  Rather, they need to be less timid in defending the decent stances that they already have taken.  For instance, when Trudeau stated that he would increase infrastructure via deficit spending rather than the "austerity" of balanced budgets as the NDP promoted, the NDP should have taken that as an opportunity to promote corporate tax increases to support programs over the long term.  Granted, they did mention this, but only minimally.  Instead it was "not pass the debt onto our grandchildren" rhetoric. 

Granted, I'm guessing that corporate tax increases was seen as a slightly taboo topic (likely in focus groups).  I saw this myself.  I recall speaking with a parent who made okay money, but found child care expenses tough still.  I mentioned that the NDP promised to create $15 a day child care, whereas the Liberals promised means tested child care.  She stated that the Liberals were not offering anything new, and to her it would be useless anyway.  She was intrigued by the NDP promise, though, and asked, "how will they afford it?"  I said through corporate tax increases, at which she said, "oh, then the price will be passed onto us."  It seemed to kill her enthusiasm for the NDP's promise, which she herself would have benefitted from.

I don't think a lot of people here realize the current difficulty of getting people on board with a more egalitarian program.  The assumption that promising to hike taxes on corporations (and elsewhere) and introduce a whole range of egalitarian programming will get people on board may not be as true as some here like to proclaim.

There are two ideas here and I read them as a contradiction.

The first is a call to be less timid and a completely supportable statement that this does not mean to go for extreme policies so much as defend more reasonable positions with greater strength. I completely support this.

The second seems to crap out on presenting a more egalitarian agenda. I think if you consider the first idea then you should be able to present -- and defend  --  a more egalitarian agenda. This includes the specific example on child care. If corpoations cannot be expected to pay a share of the public good -- who can? If we cannot make that case then let's just close down the party and vote #$%@ Liberal? This is the most existential argument the NDP can make -- if it is beyond us to present an argument to ask people who have greater means to contribute to something they will also derive a benefit from, then let's just invite someone with more courage to the microphone.

But we are right where we need to be discussing why the NDP is so @#$% up right now. The fact we could even question the wisdom of making the most basic of cases for NDP principles should tell us something.

Maybe the NDP needs some spine transplants before they even think of policy. No offence intended to any poster here -- but this kind of discussion where we even allow the thought that a more egalitarian agenda, where corporations could pay for something that their shareholders could also benefit from, would be too radical to promote.

Perhaps the NDP has passed its time. Maybe we need to create a new party then that will stand up for these kinds of things without fear or apology. I personally think a party unabashed about standing up for what is right -- and taking reasonable not extreme positions would do better than the current 'fraidy cat NDP that has to tell voters so often that it will balance the books that it forgets to mention its own, quite modest, policy proposals with any emphasis.

This is all in part why I want to push the NDP to dump Mulcair before the people will dump the NDP. We need a new direction -- one with hope and courage rather than fear. It was clear that Mulcair did not actually understand the content of Layton's letter. I am not into hero worship but Layton's letter did have the prescription the NDP needed to follow. The recent campaign can best be described as lacking both guts and a spine. Sure the policy was there to a great extent but the campaign was cowardly, tentative, petty and negative. The leader should be fired for that and NOT becuase he lost. When Mulcair says he was proud of the campaign he ran, I want to throw a shoe at him.

mark_alfred

Sean in Ottawa wrote:

There are two ideas here and I read them as a contradiction.

Yes.  Two ideas backed with a real life observation to support my contention that it's tricky.

Rev Pesky

mark_alfred wrote:
...I recall speaking with a parent who made okay money, but found child care expenses tough still.  I mentioned that the NDP promised to create $15 a day child care, whereas the Liberals promised means tested child care.  She stated that the Liberals were not offering anything new, and to her it would be useless anyway.  She was intrigued by the NDP promise, though, and asked, "how will they afford it?"  I said through corporate tax increases, at which she said, "oh, then the price will be passed onto us."  It seemed to kill her enthusiasm for the NDP's promise...

Which only goes to show that woman knew more about taxation than many in the NDP. As I've pointed out numerous times, corporatins don't pay taxes, they collect taxes from their customers. In addition to that, they employ millions of dollars worth of lawyers who show them how to avoid paying taxes. An increase in corporate tax doesn't necessarily translate into an increase in tax collections.

If you really want to expand the tax base, you have to start to tax assets. Cities recognize this. The bulk of their taxes are collected from flat taxes on property. It's time for other governments to recognize that income and profit taxes are easy to avoid. Taxes on capital are not.

Sean in Ottawa

Rev Pesky wrote:

mark_alfred wrote:
...I recall speaking with a parent who made okay money, but found child care expenses tough still.  I mentioned that the NDP promised to create $15 a day child care, whereas the Liberals promised means tested child care.  She stated that the Liberals were not offering anything new, and to her it would be useless anyway.  She was intrigued by the NDP promise, though, and asked, "how will they afford it?"  I said through corporate tax increases, at which she said, "oh, then the price will be passed onto us."  It seemed to kill her enthusiasm for the NDP's promise...

Which only goes to show that woman knew more about taxation than many in the NDP. As I've pointed out numerous times, corporatins don't pay taxes, they collect taxes from their customers. In addition to that, they employ millions of dollars worth of lawyers who show them how to avoid paying taxes. An increase in corporate tax doesn't necessarily translate into an increase in tax collections.

If you really want to expand the tax base, you have to start to tax assets. Cities recognize this. The bulk of their taxes are collected from flat taxes on property. It's time for other governments to recognize that income and profit taxes are easy to avoid. Taxes on capital are not.

I don't quite agree here.

Conventional wisdom is that you can hide income in some ways, you can hide spending in some ways, and you can hide assets but you cannot hide all. This is why taxation on all three is needed.

To be progressive taxation on income must be based on the level of income; taxation on spending and assets should be directed towards luxury rather than necessity. This means when it comes to assets we can look to estate taxes and values in excess of base figures.

I truly hate the municipal model of building an entire level of government on a basic necessity. It is not only unfair, it is inefficient as we are forced to introduce policies to address the lack of affordable housing as property taxes make it increasingly unaffordable. There are several steps that can be made -- for one occupied affordable rental property should be exempt. The cheapest houses could also be exempt or reduced. A move to corporate income taxes and assets would be better than such high reliance even on corporate property taxes (which are paid by corporate tenants rather than the owners). It would be better to reduce property tax on small business than income tax so that businesses that are strying to break even may have a chance to do so.

Of course estate and luxury taxes are long overdue.

Part of the problem with municipalities is the denial of any effort to make their taxes progressive. If you ask them they explain that taxes are based on services rather than fairness. So there is no consideration of what the property is used for or who ultimately will pay. Unfortunately, many tenants have no idea how much property tax is included in their rent and so they ahve no idea of the investment they are making or the unfairness that renters ultimately pay more property tax than do property owners not only as a proportion of their incomes but also as a proportion of the value of the property they occupy.

JKR

Free post-secondary education?

Unionist

JKR wrote:

Free post-secondary education?

This is 1960.

That's what the Québec Liberal Party promised in the 1960 election (which it won), as well as a stipend for living expenses, and free textbooks:

Never quite achieved that - although the CÉGEP system (instituted in 1966) added two additional years of public (free) education for university entrance and three years of free vocational college for all kinds of trades - yet to be emulated in the rest of Canada. Likewise, the struggle of generations of students has kept undergrad tuition fees at about 35% of those in Ontario.

But is this a serious proposal for the federal NDP - when post-secondary education is primarily under provincial jurisdiction, and the myriad NDP governments during the same half century and more have never set free tuition as a goal?

I have a feeling it will be the students, not any political party, who will win this demand - if anyone does.

ETA: Much of the above could be said for child care as well. Would be nice to see an actual, um, NDP government, rather than just an opposition party, implement public affordable child care, as Québec did in 1998.

 

genstrike

Unionist wrote:

But is this a serious proposal for the federal NDP - when post-secondary education is primarily under provincial jurisdiction, and the myriad NDP governments during the same half century and more have never set free tuition as a goal?

I have a feeling it will be the students, not any political party, who will win this demand - if anyone does.

ETA: Much of the above could be said for child care as well. Would be nice to see an actual, um, NDP government, rather than just an opposition party, implement public affordable child care, as Québec did in 1998.

Very good point.  If we're talking about left-wing policies that the NDP can take up, shouldn't we also be talking about things that the NDP should be implementing in provinces where they are governing?

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
Never quite achieved that

What, specifically, prevented them?

quizzical

guaranteed annual income is a must!!!!!!

Quote:
It’s not enough’: Bif Naked, MP begin $3-a-day welfare challenge

Kwan, who is traveling to Ottawa for part of the week for work in the Canadian parliament, bought No Name peanut butter, a loaf of bread, apples, a package of No Name saltine crackers, and a carton of eggs, which she will boil and ration.

The politician said dairy, like cheese and yogurt, was too expensive and meat was absolutely out of the question, as were most fresh fruits.

“I am worried about the balanced diet question,” she told reporters. “I know that I will be hungry.”

Kwan says she joined the challenge to highlight the daily struggles British Columbians on disability face.

“We’re not just talking about adults. We’re talking about children and seniors, people with disabilities as well, who are facing these challenges in their everyday experience,” she said.

 

JKR

Unionist wrote:

JKR wrote:

Free post-secondary education?

This is 1960.

That's what the Québec Liberal Party promised in the 1960 election (which it won), as well as a stipend for living expenses, and free textbooks:

Never quite achieved that - although the CÉGEP system (instituted in 1966) added two additional years of public (free) education for university entrance and three years of free vocational college for all kinds of trades - yet to be emulated in the rest of Canada. Likewise, the struggle of generations of students has kept undergrad tuition fees at about 35% of those in Ontario.

But is this a serious proposal for the federal NDP - when post-secondary education is primarily under provincial jurisdiction, and the myriad NDP governments during the same half century and more have never set free tuition as a goal?

I have a feeling it will be the students, not any political party, who will win this demand - if anyone does.

ETA: Much of the above could be said for child care as well. Would be nice to see an actual, um, NDP government, rather than just an opposition party, implement public affordable child care, as Québec did in 1998.

 

Quebec is lucky that, compared with the other provinces, there is less pressure on it to maintain competitive tax rates with the other provinces. In most of the other provinces, higher tax rates leads to a much larger exodus of people to provinces with lower tax rates. Quebec benefits because many of its people will not consider leaving the province for linguistic reasons. So provincial NDP governments have understandably not had the resources to establish free post-secondary education or cheap public childcare. The provinces outside of Quebec require a national strategy to implement these kinds of programs. As it is, provinces like Alberta, Ontario, and BC put pressure on each other and on the other provinces to maintain their tax competitiveness and this reduces their ability to spend on social programs. That's one of the reasons it would be great to see what a federal NDP government could do.

Unionist

Mr. Magoo wrote:

Quote:
Never quite achieved that

What, specifically, prevented them?

Hello,

We're talking about a province which was in the dark ages in every respect, under the dictatorship of the Church, colonial economic masters (speaking English and demanding that their servants do so as well), patriarchy... And with the Quiet Revolution, it undertook a process which within a very few years placed it ahead of all the other provinces in every social sphere imaginable - from education to health to pro-labour policy to banning discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation (probably the first in the "western" world to do so) and so forth.

So here's a very quick introduction to just how far Québec vaulted forward in education in a few years... before neoliberalism started to hold sway. But the progress in so many areas (from anti-scab legislation to public affordable child care to privacy rights to cheap or free post-secondary education to free vocational education to a universal though still flawed pharmacare program to enhanced parental, maternity and paternity leave to the elimination of religious "education" from public schools...) has never been successfully reversed, despite all the efforts of successive austerity-minded governments.

None of these achievements were made by anything called an NDP government.

So to return to the main point: Unless existing provincial NDP governments are pressured to adopt some of these so called left wing programs, I consider it to be essentially self-deceptive and counter-historical to contrive wish lists of policies for a never-to-be-elected federal NDP government.

Let's start with Notley - free post-secondary education - universal child care - anti-scab legislation and generally making it easier to unionize - any reason why Alberta can't do that and much more? Oh, whoops, the cupboard is bare, oil prices are low?

Stop the illusions, and start organizing. I'm talking to us. Not to them.

 

JKR

Unionist wrote:

Mr. Magoo wrote:

Quote:
Never quite achieved that

What, specifically, prevented them?

Hello,

We're talking about a province which was in the dark ages in every respect, under the dictatorship of the Church, colonial economic masters (speaking English and demanding that their servants do so as well), patriarchy... And with the Quiet Revolution, it undertook a process which within a very few years placed it ahead of all the other provinces in every social sphere imaginable - from education to health to pro-labour policy to banning discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation (probably the first in the "western" world to do so) and so forth.

So here's a very quick introduction to just how far Québec vaulted forward in education in a few years... before neoliberalism started to hold sway. But the progress in so many areas (from anti-scab legislation to public affordable child care to privacy rights to cheap or free post-secondary education to free vocational education to a universal though still flawed pharmacare program to enhanced parental, maternity and paternity leave...) has never been successfully reversed, despite all the efforts of successive austerity-minded governments.

None of these achievements were made by anything called an NDP government.

So to return to the main point: Unless existing provincial NDP governments are pressured to adopt some of these so called left wing programs, I consider it to be essentially self-deceptive and counter-historical to contrive wish lists of policies for a never-to-be-elected federal NDP government.

Let's start with Notley - free post-secondary education - universal child care - anti-scab legislation and generally making it easier to unionize - any reason why Alberta can't do that and much more? Oh, whoops, the cupboard is bare, oil prices are low?

Stop the illusions, and start organizing. I'm talking to us. Not to them.

 

I'm not sure a "raise the taxes" campaign would go over well in Alberta. As it is, Notley's government will probably have a tough time holding on to government in 4 years. Maybe it should just go ahead now and establish social programs and raise personal, corporate, and sales taxes? That might benefit Alberta over the long term even if it would have been implemented by a one-term NDP government.

genstrike

Hey, remember that time that the Saskatchewan NDP government chose not to implement medicare because they were waiting for the NDP to get elected federally?

No?  Me neither.

Slumberjack

I'm, not really a fan of political parties promising to buy us off with involuntarily extracted tax proceeds from our labour.  To me it's a lot like thieves promising to take us out to dinner with the money they stole the next time they're in town.  But a mission, vision, a solid set of guiding principles other than whatever looks the best for achieving power for themselves, it's better to weigh that than promises of shiny baubles.  Disbursements for social programs should be based on need, not on electoral prospects for a handful of party hacks.  If some corporate flacks like the Liberals are promising a tax break for the middle class, I want to know how is that being paid for.  Who exactly will be negatively impacted by this shell game?

lagatta

Of course social programmes are always ultimately based on tax proceeds extracted from our labour, but how else are we supposed to have such social goods as education, healthcare, public transport and many other things?

Unionist

lagatta wrote:

Of course social programmes are always ultimately based on tax proceeds extracted from our labour, but how else are we supposed to have such social goods as education, healthcare, public transport and many other things?

Worth remembering.

The same people who scream about governments extracting taxes from our hard work generally have no problem with parasitical filthy rich capitalists extracting profits from our hard work.

I know who I'd rather work for.

 

Slumberjack

lagatta wrote:
Of course social programmes are always ultimately based on tax proceeds extracted from our labour, but how else are we supposed to have such social goods as education, healthcare, public transport and many other things?

Based on need as I just said, and not as a reward that depends on the success of a party candidate.  Presumably, whatever need is being discussed, on the occasion of an election no less, was present all along.  I've said it before but it bears repeating, that this kind of politics where we wait for political hacks to conjure up a few goodies puts the electorate in a position of waiting at the table leg for something to drop.  I prefer a situation where the electorate tells the politician what's what, not the other way around.  It's almost as if a promise here and there amounts to charity work.  They're taking what should belong to the corporations in the form of tax breaks and giving it away to the less fortunate.  And we're supposed to thank them and demonstrate our fealty for their largesse by voting them in.  The way party politics rolls, many societal needs and crisis areas are already well defined and known.  The party will study how to achieve the biggest political bang for the buck, latch on to whatever social hardship is being experienced in the public domain, and call it their own idea if it moves them to make a statement promising to address this or that issue if it corresponds with their electoral prospects.

scott16

I don't know if it's a left wing policy but maybe they could take up the cause of sitting more than 130 days a year. maybe they could increase it to at least 200 or maybe to 230.

Sean in Ottawa

scott16 wrote:

I don't know if it's a left wing policy but maybe they could take up the cause of sitting more than 130 days a year. maybe they could increase it to at least 200 or maybe to 230.

The reason they don't is they also are supposed to work in their constituencies.

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