What lessons should the Federal NDP take from the Nova Scotia experience/coming nightmare?

130 posts / 0 new
Last post
KenS

There is a significant amount of exxageration and some flat misstatement in what David claims "pollsters said".

They said some of those things, the best known, during the election. The rest, they did not say during the election.

We'll find out tommorow.

But that is beside the point. The subject of the thread is lessons learned- if the NDP miraculously hangs on to government, does that mean there are no warnings to heed?

terrytowel

David Young wrote:

Pollsters said that the N.D.P. wouldn't win more than a few seats in Quebec in the 2011 federal election...wrong!

Didn't the polls say the NDP was going to make big gains in Quebec and push the Liberals to third?

mark_alfred

Just as the election began, no one expected the NDP to do well anywhere, including Quebec.

mark_alfred

If the NDP loses, the main lesson is that you win some, you lose some.  Same lesson if the NDP wins.

socialdemocrati...

"Polls can change."

 

KenS

Again, the questions of the thread are not about whether the NDP will or will not lose.

Same questions if we beat the odds and survive.

Wilf Day

Fair Vote Nova Scotia

Quote:
The Nova Scotia NDP have indicated they will support the striking of a new electoral reform commission to consult with Nova Scotians on the way the province's electoral system functions.

Reminds me of the 2007 Saskatchewan NDP platform, to hold a Citizens' Assembly on Electoral Reform if re-elected, as they had failed to do in their 16 years in office. Too late.

Lesson for the federal NDP: get on with electoral reform in your first term in office. Don't be too late.

 

janfromthebruce

Not sure if one can make that as a cause and effect relationship but an assumption.

jerrym

CBC TV Halfax said about Maureen MacDonald's riding that when you are in a tough riding race in a tradional NDP riding where the shipbuilding program is going to occur after the massive subsidy to Irving, you might at least expect at least a positive response in the riding, even ir the reaction against the subsidy in the rest of the province was quite strong. 

This electoral response sends a powerful message about such large corporate subsidies to NDP parties not only in Nova Scotia, but elsewhere. 

 

 

KenS

In case you didnt get it in the other thread Jan:

I'm FAR from giddy.

Bitter is the word.

adma

David Young wrote:

Pollsters said that the Ontario Liberals would win another provincial majority...wrong!

Pollsters said that the P.Q. would win a majority in Quebec...wrong!

Pollsters said that the WildRose Party would take power in Alberta...wrong!

Pollsters said that the Liberals would lose power in B.C...wrong!

Pollsters said that the N.D.P. wouldn't win more than a few seats in Quebec in the 2011 federal election...wrong!

Let's wait and see what happens after the voters have their say on Tuesday, shall we?

Pollsters said the NDP wouldn't be reduced to third in NS--wrong!

KenS

v

adma

And there seems to have been a pattern of deflating NDP underachievement lately--Dix, Dexter, various byelections delivering less than promised, etc.  Which some Babblers attribute to being too "lib-lite" for their own good (true, perhaps).

Interestingly, the one place that seems to be bucking the NDP underachievement trend is Ontario--maybe because Andrea Horwath's playing more of a populist than a lib-lite game...

janfromthebruce

Well if the NDP looks like it might get close to the throne of power the big guns will come out. The power behind the blue or red doors will come out and make sure that it doesn't happen.

Just saying because I have to read this and it makes sense on a warped level:

David Akin ‏@davidakin 6h

.@PremierDexter balances bdgt, gives NS top credit rating, will likely lose his job today. ON Libs blew $1.6B, @Kathleen_Wynne carries on

 

KenS

Where were these big guns shooting Jan?

The media always praised Dexter and his government. Even when it was clear they were losing.

Unionist

janfromthebruce wrote:

Just saying because I have to read this and it makes sense on a warped level:

David Akin ‏@davidakin 6h

.@PremierDexter balances bdgt, gives NS top credit rating, will likely lose his job today. ON Libs blew $1.6B, @Kathleen_Wynne carries on

 

Makes perfectly unwarped sense to me.

Worshipping at the neoliberal altar of zero deficits (where, incidentally, the neoliberals only pretend to worship anyway - cf. Harper) is not the secret to electoral success.

 

janfromthebruce

sure it's a way to electorial success. Also that's Liberal style in Ontario. Gas plants to buy seats just cost Ontarians 1.1 billion bucks thanks to the Liberal govt full of scandals - real scandals. That is also the neoliberal way and rewarded. Because the corporation doesn't pay but all the little people do.

Now if that had been an NDP govt, heaven forbid. But it was the Martin Liberals why yes for sure.

Aristotleded24

janfromthebruce wrote:
sure it's a way to electorial success. Also that's Liberal style in Ontario. Gas plants to buy seats just cost Ontarians 1.1 billion bucks thanks to the Liberal govt full of scandals - real scandals. That is also the neoliberal way and rewarded. Because the corporation doesn't pay but all the little people do.

Now if that had been an NDP govt, heaven forbid. But it was the Martin Liberals why yes for sure.

What's with the constant deflection? We know what the Liberals are like, you don't have to remind us.

Besides, doesn't the NDP carry some responsiblity for its performance, for being able to convince voters that the NDP is a good choice? It's kind of like looking for a job, you can be the best candidate of the bunch, but if you have no interview skills, you won't get hired.

knownothing knownothing's picture

Dexter did have the skills. Everyone agreed he won the debate.

Determinant

How about Nova Scotians are just cranky, this is the second election in a row where they have reduced the government to third place. ?

But please, I dearly hope the NS NDP picks itself up, dusts itself off and keeps on trying.  And doesn't fall into the funk that afflicted the Ontario NDP after Bob Rae.  They were the Official Opposition before, they can get there again. 

NorthReport

Dexter should have been tossed 2 years ago, if you really wanted to win the NS election.

But most NDPers would rather lose than wield the knife. 

Until the NDP gets mean and lean when it comes to elections, they are wasting everyone's time.

Oh well, at least the masicists are happy tonite!

knownothing wrote:

Dexter did have the skills. Everyone agreed he won the debate.

KenS

Determinant wrote:

But please, I dearly hope the NS NDP picks itself up, dusts itself off and keeps on trying.  And doesn't fall into the funk that afflicted the Ontario NDP after Bob Rae.  They were the Official Opposition before, they can get there again.

All true.

But also true: it is not only the number of MLAs that has been decimated. And wait until we see the financial status of the party.

The party backbone is people who have been involved for years. And I dont mean that to apply mostly to those involved since forever. If you got involved say 12 years ago, that is a long time. Now what?

"Pick yourself up, and go at it."   Sounds good.....

sherpa-finn

In terms of "lesson's learned", - what's the take on the role of the MSM? KenS and others have implied that Dexter was actually the darling of the provincial MSM. (I heard more as a cutting criticism than endorsement!).  

So is the lesson learned, "all things considered, the opinion(s) of the MSM simply doesn't make that much difference to election results." ?

Which would seem to run counter to a lot of the finger pointing and blaming one sees on other Babble election threads.

knownothing knownothing's picture

The lesson is, don't cater to the corporate crowd, they will always hate the NDP no matter what.

Also, it is important to note that the NDP finished 2nd in popular vote

Lib 45.5

NDP 26.9

PC 26.4

Lots to work with there

terrytowel

The provincial Liberals swept all the seats in Halifax. With the Federal Liberals at 59% in NS, should Megan Leslie be worried about her own federal seat in Halifax?

Brachina

knownothing wrote:

Dexter did have the skills. Everyone agreed he won the debate.

The results speak for themselves. Its a fucking disaster.

Hopefully what ever rage NS had against he NDP is used up, but make no mistake this bad both for the NSNDP and NS itself.

People after the 2011 federal debate at first said thier was no knockout punch and many said Harper won the debate, and some said Iggy did. We found out the truth was Jack won it and it was a knock out punch. Moral of the story, never assume you know who won and who lost until after election day.

knownothing knownothing's picture

Brachina wrote:

knownothing wrote:

Dexter did have the skills. Everyone agreed he won the debate.

The results speak for themselves. Its a fucking disaster. Hopefully what ever rage NS had against he NDP is used up, but make no mistake this bad both for the NSNDP and NS itself. People after the 2011 federal debate at first said thier was no knockout punch and many said Harper won the debate, and some said Iggy did. We found out the truth was Jack won it and it was a knock out punch. Moral of the story, never assume you know who won and who lost until after election day.

MacNeil was terrible in the debate. Anything I read reflected poorly on his debate. Dexter was a good communicator. That doesn't matter in the face of perpetual negative portrayals from the MSM.

It is not a disaster. Calm down and clean up your mouth. The headlines are reading, "First government in 130 years not to be reelected in Nova Scotia". How about "Voters turf the first government in 140 years that wasn't Tory or Liberal"?

knownothing knownothing's picture

terrytowel wrote:

The provincial Liberals swept all the seats in Halifax. With the Federal Liberals at 59% in NS, should Megan Leslie be worried about her own federal seat in Halifax?

no

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

I'm beginning to think the true role of the NDP in this country is not to govern, but to provide principled and tough opposition to the government in power. To push and prod for better results.

terrytowel

Boom Boom wrote:

I'm beginning to think the true role of the NDP in this country is not to govern, but to provide principled and tough opposition to the government in power. To push and prod for better results.

That was Alexa McDonough mantra in the 1997 Federal election. I'm paraphrasing here but the strategy in 1997 was "We are not going to win power. But we have always made a difference in opposition!"

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Looking at the BC and NS results, I think that mantra sounds appropriate. Laughing

Andrea Horwath might be the exception that breaks that rule, though. I think Ontario is sick to death of McGuilty's Liberals and especially so after Kathleen Wynne's performance last night. She should have resigned.

 As for Mulcair, he is handicapped by not having "Trudeau" in his last name, which, apparently, is all the electorate wants. Undecided

socialdemocrati...

So here's another question.

Is this loss an ordinary part of electoral politics, where people get frustrated with an incumbent, try someone else on, and eventually come in the next 2-3 election cycles?

Or is it a huge rebuke, where they blame you for everything and send you into the political wilderness, like the loss by Bob Rae's NDP in the early 1990s?

 

KenS

I already said its not a huge rebuke like Rae's NDP in 1995.

But spending only several years in the political wilderness instead of 20 plus is small consolation when you are reeling. And the divisions within the NS NDP were already very deep before this drubbing. Ralph Surette spoke to that in his column today [which I will post]. But the expanded much more on air today. 

He noted that he was very aware for a couple years back of how deep the divsions were, yet you heard very little about it except passing comments from a few journalists like himself. But he was always aware of the depth of the anger.

It will all come out into the open now. And its not that will be the catharsis, and then we get down to work.

At least we dont have to worry about "cleaning house"- it done blown out of town.

Ralph Surette wrote:

The result was that not only “idealists” were cut off, but many practical party-affiliated experts, especially on matters of energy, forestry, the environment and resources, found themselves on the sidelines as well. And although there was some deft work done in roughly half the government’s vital work (finance, health and some other areas), there was a curious disconnect in those parts mainly related to the premier (the Yarmouth ferry, salmon pens, minority ridings, the Halifax convention centre, some of the industrial grants) where decisions seemed merely small-group dictatorial.

On air, Surrette referred to the party's pragmatists being angered, rather than only the expected dismay of the party's left. I think Stephen Kimber made that point too.

SURETTE: Internal divisions, policy arguments key to NDP downfall

KenS

For several years under Dexter's leadership the NDP rise was expressed in persistently high internal polling numbers on trust. This was carefully cultivated. WE encouraged them to trust us. We encouraged them in spades.

So it is utterly bizarre for the apologists to turn around now and act like its just cranky voters and a base that expected too much.

Truth is not a hell of a lot was expected in terms of outcomes.

Had the trust been maintained and protected Darell Dexter could have led the base and the people of Nova Scotia through just about anything.

The apologists wave off the MLA expenses scandal like its just some kind of obsession. If you go back in the Babble archives when the scandal broke you'll see me saying then, not with hindsight now, that this is going to remove our manouvering room to deal with tough things like the coming need for increased taxes.

We actually still managed to weather the tax increase suprisingly well,  just after promising in the election we wouldnt. But as the expenses scandal dragged on, and there were more bitter pills for the base and general public to swallow... the hole got dug deeper.

 

janfromthebruce

Can't wait for trustee fund baby Trudeau who is teamed up with his party bagman Bronfman who also is a TFB to sell we really care about that widing economic gap because we'll show we care lots, (we just won't do anything about that because we are trust fund babies).

If there is a lessoned learned, it's not to run against your brand.

janfromthebruce

As for going back to being a party of what - conscience - seriously????

Meanwhile, in Ontario the liberals showed what kind of losers they really are.

 

KenS

Your deflections are really sad Jan.

KenS

Even apologists- at least the ones who live here- know the MLA expenses scandal was crucial, even as they try to minimise it.

 

Note that the roots of the MLA expense scandal, and the warnings from within about them-- go back to 2006

[And possibly to 2005. I have to check my memory of what was going on when.]

I doubt if many people outside of Caucus, or the newer [ex]members of it, know that it goes back that far.

But the important point is that the cavalier dismissal of the problem is going on at the same time we are encouraging and capitalizing on trust as our far and away number one political asset.

KenS

So, what Kimber said in his Rabble article is actually pretty understated:

Steven Kimber wrote:

For starters, Nova Scotians had unrealistically high, often contradictory expectations for our first-ever NDP government. Many expectations -- the NDP would govern differently -- were self-created, the wounds that followed self-inflicted.

Kimber seems to be saying that it is our own fault for creating such high expectations about governing differently.

But not only did we deliberately foster those expectations.... at the same time we were splashing the gas around to torch them.

felixr

Some advice for the NS NDP for the next time:

1) Don't lie

2) Don't raise expectations if you don't plan to meet them

3) Don't campaign as "New Democrats" and govern as Tories

I agree with Surette in that it was impressive how a talented new generation of candidates became avidly involved in the 2013 campaign when the writing should have been on the wall that the NS NDP were going to lose. Perhaps some of those individuals will be involved in the post-wipeout rebuilding.

The NS NDP learned the lessons of opposition but they learned some of the wrong ones too. Shady fundraising schemes with unions, a fiercely protective inner circle, big payouts to the union pension funds under the cover of an "unexpected" deficit, an MLA expenses scandal, lying about taxes during an election, avoiding the political margins through slamming the door on long time activists, partisan government advertising, pork barrel/patronage/vote-buying politics, overpersonalised attacks on opposition leaders, a blindless to "jobs at all costs," corporate handouts, and very few cabinets ministers/party stalwarts willing to hang on in their seats and face the music.

Maureen Macdonald would make a fine interim leader while the party renews itself and prepares for a new leadership race. Hopefully there will be a lot of great candidates that come forward.

janfromthebruce

janfromthebruce wrote:

As for going back to being a party of what - conscience - seriously????

Meanwhile, in Ontario the liberals showed what kind of losers they really are.

 

FYI, I was responding to a couple of above posters who suggested perhaps that the NDP is better at not going for power and acting a conscience of power, but ultimately not go for power eg. Alex M.

I disagreed with that suggestion.

nittanylionstorm07

I said this on the NS thread but it applies here too...

For anyone who wants to advocated Megan Leslie to become the next leader of the NS NDP... please think about it and do not!  While I think she would be an absolutely outstanding Premier of Nova Scotia and provincial party leader... that is not where her next stop lies.

As someone who supported Mulcair, I have to say I am disappointed with how the party is performing under him.  I expected more...and although they have started some new pushes as of late, Mulcair's leadership so far has felt very John Kerry-ish in the sense that there is a great lack of proper response to attacks/paintings of Mulcair and the party by the Liberals and Conservatives.  The NDP needs to keep Megan Leslie in the federal realm as a replacement for Mulcair if the 2015 election is disastrous.  Leslie provides an absolutely outstanding and firm opposition to Trudeau and appeals to the same demographics....and she has the potential to be one of the greatest Prime Ministers Canada has ever had.

So please, keep her in the federal realm.

 

socialdemocrati...

Thanks for that article, KenS. I agree that you can't go around shitting on the base. I don't think you can just roll over and do everything the base wants, but you have to manage your coalition in a way that's fair and collaborative.

There's an attitude towards "the left" that you can mistreat them and they'll eventually fall in line, because they don't have any other alternative. But that's based on a false assumption about left-right politics. The reality is that mistreating your base is a breach of trust. You're not moving to the center. You're moving from keeping your promises to breaking them. You're moving from broad democratic support to top-down bureaucratic bullshit.

scott16

hello KenS

You seem to be the leading expert here. Will the NDP be tainted in NS in 2015?

Is Darrell Dexter the NS Bob Rae?

Determinant

Boom Boom wrote:

I'm beginning to think the true role of the NDP in this country is not to govern, but to provide principled and tough opposition to the government in power. To push and prod for better results.

Nonsense.  The role of a political party is to win power through democratic means and implement its programme.  I didn't join the NDP to attend church (I have a church already) and I didn't join to play a "lovable loser". 

KenS:

I'm sure it hurts.  Spend some time healing.  So it may take some time to pick up the pieces.  Take some time to feel better.  But don't give up.  I'd much rather see the NS NDP be a contender in 2018 then be a "conscience party". NS needs an NDP firing on all cylinders.

As for translating the results nationally, I disregard those comparisons most times, even the good ones for the NDP. Provincial politics isn't Federal politics and the parties are different on each level.  The issues are certainly different.  Canada elected Brian Mulroney and then Chretien while Ontario went from Frank Miller to David Peterson (reelected) to Bob Rae and then to Mike Harris.  If the NDP was elected the media would say that NS wouldn't vote NDP federally since the provincial government would alienate people from the brand. 

The Ontario Tories went from government to third place and then back to government in the space of a decade  1985-95. 

KenS

TIMELINE

2002 to 2009  NDP cultivates and solidifies the image of trust around Dexter. It is a good fit.

2006  Problems with MLA expensing system pointed out by two leading Caucus members. Dexter blows it off. "I dont see a problem."

2007-2008   Caucus knows Auditor showing a lot of interest in the expensing. Asks for lots of documents.

2009  Win government! MLA expenses chickens come home to roost. Premeir Dexter returns funds for expensive camera [personal use], expensive briefcase and legal society fees.

 

And then Dexter and his tiny coterie go on smashing about as if they have nothing to worry about. We'll bring home the jobs, cut the HST back to where it was. Everyone will be happy.

jerrym

Although my friends often feel that I have a negative outlook, on Babble I often feel like I am a raving Pollyana. This includes my outlook on the NDP in Atlantic Canada. Before discussing Nova Scotia, we should remind ourselves where we are in the other Atlantic provinces, which historically have been a mixture of wilderness and desert for the NDP. In the September 2013 CRA polls, the provincial NDP stood at 33% in Newfoundland, 32% in PEI (compared to 3.16% in the last election), and 24% in New Brunswick. In all these cases they were the number 2 party in their province in popularity, something only dreamed of for decades. The odds are that they will not win the next election in each of these provinces, although it is possible, but they are now in position to be considered the alternative when the electorate gets tired of the current poll favourites. Some of this popularity should translate to the federal level.

In Nova Scotia, although they fell to third party status, they beat the PCs by an admittedly small 0.5% in the popular vote. This means they are the number two party in quite a few ridings. In Halifax, the PCs are a distant third in many ridings, making it likely that when the Liberals lose popularity, whether in the next election or more likely subsequently given Nova Scotia's history of giving most parties two terms, the NDP are the most likely beneficiaries in this region. This would make it difficult for the PCs to win a majority without running most of the table of ridings in NS. 

With only 7 MLAs to the PCs 11 and an election drubbing, the NDP faces a challenge in the legislature and in convincing voters that they could be an alternative government. However, the task is not impossible if they honestly analyze their failings and put forward an active, well thought out oppositon to government proposals. 

The NS NDP needs to look at what is helping the NDP grow in the normally barren remaining Atlantic provinces and look at their campaign failures as well as those of the BC NDP in their recent election. They cannot afford a Dix, tarnished by his own attempted coverup of Premier Glen Clark's problems and by the use of 6,000 bulk votes to win the leadership, as well as a timid campaign that had no focus and did not deal with the issue of most concern in this era of recession throughout the developed world, jobs. This is how Glen Clark beat Campbell. Campbell also lost votes because he proposed to privatize BC Rail in 1996 and to cut taxes on the wealthy. In 2001, he said he would cut the tax rates of the bottom two categories, which he did, but of course extended the cut to all taxpayers when elected.

They need to learn from the Obama campaign, not how to be a pale imitation of the traditional Republican party, but how to use modern technology to reach their base and attract new people and ensure that they vote. They also need to improve their internal polling techniques so that their are no surprise results as occurred in BC. 

With modern media and the busy modern lifestyle giving voters little time to examine or reflect on issues, they need to focus on a few key issues with bold, positve pronouncements during the campaign, so that the message as to what they will do in office is clear - not the garbled unfocused new message a day that was so disastrous in BC. Once in office, the reforms introduced can be more extensive than outlined in the campaign, but in keeping in synch with the general tenor of the campaign promises.  

Skinny Dipper

Justin Trudeau is politically hot and sexy.  Tom Mulcair--not so much.  However, that doesn't mean that Mr. Mulcair is not a fighter.  I do think that he will go on the attack against both Harper and Trudeau when the time is right.

The federal NDP has never been in power.  Mr. Mulcair will not have to deal with the "governing like Tories" issue.  However, he will still need to differentiate himself from Harper and Trudeau.  I would suggest that the NDP have three to five major progressive points that will distinguish itself from the other parties.  These points should help maintain support from the NDP loyalists while trying to attract support from both current Conservative and Liberal supporters.

Harper has obviously run a one-man government.  If I were Tom Mulcair, I would run a campaign that combines issues like the economy and trust.  Mr. Mulcair can state that the economy is in a shambles because Harper doesn't trust his cabinet ministers, MPs, and fellow Canadians.  The NDP can run a campaign on "The NDP trusts you; Harper does not.  Why would you trust Harper with your hard-earned dollars?"

Tom Mulcair will be like the tortoise who will beat the Conservative and Liberal hares.

Centrist

Skinny Dipper wrote:
If I were Tom Mulcair, I would run a campaign that combines issues like the economy and trust. Mr. Mulcair can state that the economy is in a shambles

Again, the economy is, and always will be, THEE major campaign issue. And that has been corroborated by various public opinion polls. Unfortunately, the Cons have always led on that same issue - TO THIS DATE - for whatever reason. How to overcome the Cons apparent dominance on that issue?!

Just look to the recent BC May election campaign whereby Chrusty Clark consistently ran on the economy and jobs and overcame a 20% NDP lead!

In that regard, just last week, Petronas announced a $36 billion LNG investment in BC and the MSM stated that the federal NDP will oppose same in Parliament. And that is the impression that will be left with the BC voter. Not good.

I have already stated herein that THAT would result in political suicide in BC for the federal NDP. Again, in terms of the economy - even the BC NDP supported BC LNG and still lost on the economy issue! As a result of the federal NDP opposing LNG in BC in the recent MSM, the federal NDP has put themselves even further behind the economy 8-ball compared to the BC NDP. Can't believe that they have not yet learned anything from the BC campaign. In politics, voter perception is everything.

Aristotleded24

Skinny Dipper wrote:
If I were Tom Mulcair, I would run a campaign that combines issues like the economy and trust.  Mr. Mulcair can state that the economy is in a shambles because Harper doesn't trust his cabinet ministers, MPs, and fellow Canadians.  The NDP can run a campaign on "The NDP trusts you; Harper does not.  Why would you trust Harper with your hard-earned dollars?"

I like this idea.

Pages