The NDP Socialist Caucus (SC) is a group of left-wing New Democrats aiming to move the NDP to the left and create a more democratic and activist party.
Over the past month, members of the Socialist Caucus throughout the country have debated the leadership race and several proposals on who the SC should collectively support as leader. After days of voting by email, on Facebook and by phone, the majority of SC members supported the position which urges a vote for Niki Ashton, with no recommendations for a second, third or further choice.
In contrast to the other candidates, Niki campaigns for closer NDP identification with the working class. She excoriates any electoral pact with the parties of big business. She denounces the imperialist war drive, insisting that Canadian troops "be brought home now." While Ashton does not advocate public ownership, she praised the successful effort of the Socialist Caucus at the NDP federal convention in Vancouver, in June 2011, to keep "socialism" in the party's constitution. In answer to a question, Ashton cited Manitoba's practice of no public funding for Catholic or any religious schools as a model for Canada.
Frankly, we like Ashton's willingness to rock the boat. She did that when she challenged an NDP incumbent MP in 2005 who opposed equal marriage rights for same-sex couples. Niki won the nomination, and was elected MP in 2008 and 2011. In our book, her age, 29, and her bold feminism, add to her appeal, and increase the potential for her to move the NDP to the left.
Read the full statement on the Socialist Caucus website.