ONDP Leadership thread - discuss, debate, post news here!

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RevolutionPlease RevolutionPlease's picture

Lord Palmerston wrote:

 

Here on babble, we have "socialists" who defend the indefensible - the reactionary, discriminatory Catholic school system - not because they personally have a problem getting rid of it, but rather "the workers" will turn against the Party.  To hell with principles, we have to win at all costs just like an opportunistic capitalist party.

 

What other game do you play when they're making the rules?  Haven't you learned how to win Monopoly even when the Banker is cheating?

RevolutionPlease RevolutionPlease's picture

BTW, I'm 100% for one public system.  I could support the NDP offering a referendum.  That should appease the public.

wage zombie

Lord Palmerston wrote:

I don't like how socialists are given the "choice" between slightly more social democratic NDPers who won't touch the Catholic school funding issue and a slightly more rightwing NDPer who supports a debate in the party but also wants to reach out to business more, etc.

I'm trying to parse what you're saying here because the language strikes me as odd...what do you mean by socialists being given the choice?  The choice is limited to the four candidates running.  If none of these "choices" were palatable to socialists, then perhaps some socialist should have run.

If all you're saying is that you don't find any of the candidates inspiring, well yeah that's a tough one and speaks to the current state of the party.

And again, it's not like Prue's even taking a position on school funding. 

Quote:

Here on babble, we have "socialists" who defend the indefensible - the reactionary, discriminatory Catholic school system - not because they personally have a problem getting rid of it, but rather "the workers" will turn against the Party.  To hell with principles, we have to win at all costs just like an opportunistic capitalist party.

I don't think anyone here is defending the indefensible in the school system debate just as i don't think you're defending the Socialist Caucus endorsement of Prue.

janfromthebruce

Sunday Hat wrote:
Lord Palmerston wrote:

Sunday Hat wrote:
Don't worry. The "Socialist Caucus" is endorsing a candidate who wants to slash coroporate taxes and bring in more corporate donations. It's not like any of this is supposed to make sense.

I think that sucks.  My guess is you are thrilled because it is generally the leftwing of the NDP that wants to end separate school funding, while the "pragmatists" say it can't be touched.  

I'm not thrilled I'm kind of appalled. But also not surprised.

At some point self-appointed "socialists" in this party decided that picking a fight over religion was more important than actual socialist principles like redistribution of wealth. The extent to which they (and many others) have allowed themselves to be distracted by an idiotic sideshow is a testament to their lack of any meaningful principle. 

In my humble opinion.

I thought that equity and advocating for no discrimination were NDP principles. I also thought that NDP stood for secularism, which in my humble opinion is about equality of all beliefs and non beliefs, in my humble opinion. 

 I can assume that one must think that the Ontario Public School Board Association who represents over 1.2 million students and about 2.4 million voting parents is a hotbed of "far left thought" - NOT!

In my humble opinion.

 

______________________________________________________________________________________ Our kids live together and play together in their communities, let's have them learn together too!

Sunday Hat

Oh dear. I seem to have started yet another "catholic school debate" which already has it's own thread.

I'm done here.

Stockholm

There are plenty of bigoted old-line Orange Lodge members who also want to eliminate Catholic schools - does that make them worthy of support from the so-called Socialist Caucus???

wage zombie

janfromthebruce wrote:

I thought that equity and advocating for no discrimination were NDP principles. I also thought that NDP stood for secularism, which in my humble opinion is about equality of all beliefs and non beliefs, in my humble opinion. 

I really appreciate your posts on this issue because IMO you're one of the few people making cogent arguments for the NDP taking on the school system issue (as opposed to simply bashing the party's reluctance).

 You mentioned discrimination here and i'd appreciate it if you could flesh this out further, in another thread where the school system debate is on topic.  Who exactly is being discriminated against in the current system? 

Lord Palmerston

Most of the arguments were made, by Jan and others, in those threads.  However even though the socialist, liberal-democratic and civil libertarian cases were made there, there are just some people who won't support a move for what Tabuns called "strategic" reasons.

Fidel

Whoops, I almost thought this thread had something to do with the leadership campaign.

foxymoron

Actually folks, a former provincial secretary a bona fide labour guy (as opposed to one of those rich socialists who have never actually seen the inside of a pair of coveralls, but loves to push around the odd Toronto Steel local they have a bit of pull with) and one of the smartest New Democrats around might get your collective heads out of your...silly little debate.

Brothers and sisters, I give you...

AN OPEN LETTER FROM CHRIS WATSON (from Prue Campaign Facebook) 

 

Dear friends,

The ONDP leadership contest comes at a time of great challenge and great opportunity.

Challenge?

1. If politics is about choosing what kind of government you want, and it is, the ONDP is pretty much irrelevant.

2. 8 ½ out of 10 voting Ontarians prefer some party other than the NDP. Most women, most men, young, old, new Canadians, tenants, students, most union members, most people in every conceivable category prefer the Liberal Party or the Conservative Party or the Green Party to the NDP.

3. If the question is about who you trust on the economy, it's even worse. Not too long ago, I attended a presentation in Toronto by pollster Greg Lyle. He found that 6% of Ontario voters trust the NDP on the economy. 6%. That means 94% did not. It cannot really get worse.

4. After the last election the official sum-up by the ONDP Campaign Leadership framed the result as "Another moral victory." When victory is defined as not losing party status for the 3rd time in a row, is something not seriously wrong with this picture?

Opportunity?

1. The Wall Street Meltdown and economic crisis have discredited the economic orthodoxy of the last three decades and opened the debate to new thinking.

2. Obama has made it legitimate to hope and think big. He proved that even where all hope seemed lost, i.e. public faith and interest in party politics, things can turn around on a dime with the right product on offer.

3. McGuinty is past peak and will lose friends as he struggles with the crisis. The Conservatives don't support their own leader and are on the wrong side of history when it comes to today's economy.

4. The Ontario NDP is going to get a new leader.

I came to this contest as perhaps many of you did. I know all the candidates. I've worked with them. They are hard working, experienced, and we need them on the team. But no one of them seemed to immediately jump out as an obvious choice to lead us out of the wilderness and inspire Ontarians to feel that with this party and this leader, a new day is at hand.

Nonetheless, we are going to choose a leader on March 7th, these are the candidates, and like many I feel a strong obligation to vote. Accordingly I went to the debate on Toronto on February 08 hoping that it would help me move toward a decision.

Each candidate performed quite well. And each made at least one case that I felt was right on the money.

Andrea Horwath. Her light rail proposal is right on the mark. As Andrea points out, we already make the steel at Stelco and in Sault Ste. Marie. We make railway cars in Thunder Bay and at the National Steel Car plant in Hamilton. We need to go green. We need, as Richard Florida reminds us in his new report, to make better connections between our cities. So it's just a smart and doable proposal that will help the economy, and be green at the same time.

Gilles Bisson has been saying from the get-go that our ideas about education and social programmes will remain just that, ideas, unless we can better grow the economy to pay for these things. He's right and this is fresh thinking for a New Democrat. Music to my ears.

Peter Tabuns says we need to develop a green energy strategy as key to our approach to the economy and the environment. I agree.

Michael Prue, however, stood out for me because he seemed to understand that in the Ontario NDP we cannot keep telling ourselves that we are on the right path and just have to work harder at communicating our vision and trust that voters will come to realize that the other parties are not all they claim to be.

Prue seems to be the one candidate who realizes that being relevant to voters is not a function of good intentions, but whether or not you are convincing in your presentation of the best choice to govern, to grow the economy and to ensure social justice and opportunity.

What did he say?

1. Prue challenged us to "face the fact that most Ontarians don't think we can win and don't trust us on the economy." That is where we must start and no one else did.

2. Prue insisted that we not be satisfied just because we get a better result than the last election. The third party does not get to implement its programme. We must be about winning. We must be first and foremost about trying, openly and eagerly to offer a compelling choice for governance.

3. Of the four candidates he seemed most at ease, most at home and in his own skin when talking about becoming Premier.

4. When asked about diversity and connecting with different communities Prue had the courage to point to the fact that we will get their support when we earn it by becoming a contender, proving ourselves relevant as a party that might actually win.

5. He was the only candidate to even mention Richard Florida's recent report on long term economic growth strategy for Ontario. This report is the most original and creative thinking we've seen that is also consistent with social democratic values. In this writer's view, a claim to leadership in Ontario today without reference to Florida's vision is not credible.

6. He was the only candidate to even mention Obama, possibly the most important single political development in North America in our lifetime.

7. He had the most (everybody had some) concrete examples of a fresh economic approach. I clapped when he brought the point home about Ontario's economic potential by reminding us that Thunder Bay is surrounded by some of the biggest forest on the planet and instead of turning it in to furniture, in Ontario, in the north, we shop at IKEA.

8. Prue pointed out that when he became Mayor of East York (Horwath, Tabuns and Prue have all been elected at the municipal level. Only Prue has led a government) he turned around his inherited debt and deficit without raising taxes.

9. He reminded us of his role in leading the Task Force on Assessment and Property Tax and producing what is still the best set of proposals to remedy that system. (Proposals that the brain trust buried in the last campaign and during the campaign lead-up.)

10. He was convincing when he said he can win the support of the broadest assembly of voters. I canvassed daily for Michael Prue in 2001 when he ran in a by-election seeking Frances Lankin's seat in Beaches East York. I have never, in provincial, federal and municipal elections going back 25 years, canvassed for a candidate who had as wide support among voters of all political leanings. You can't argue with success and Michael has demonstrated an unrivalled ability to win support from voters of all stripes.

I strongly believe that most important In our attempt to make a decision in this contest is looking for which candidate has the courage to admit that overall, the NDP as a potential governing party has become irrelevant, that we are not trusted on the economy and that most do not consider us as even trying to win a general election.

No one can become the leader we need, if they do not make these points their starting points. Prue did so when he opened his remarks by asking the room to face up to the fact that no one thinks we can win and no one trusts us on the economy.

There is no guarantee of course that he can deliver, but he is the only one brave enough to identify the real challenges before us. If he is ready to try, I am ready to try with him.

And, with MichaeI Prue, I see a 2009 narrative, a winning narrative, a narrative for the next election in Ontario.

Voting for Michael Prue is about proving that a poor kid from Regent Park can be Premier of Ontario!

That's as good a reason as anyone could ask for to vote NDP.

Please join me in making Michael Prue Leader of the Ontario New Democratic Party.

If we do, we have a chance.

Sincerely,

Chris Watson.

(Chris Watson is a long time member of the NDP. He worked at Queen's Park with the Rae government and again in our opposition years. Chris also served as the Federal Secretary of the New Democratic Party from March 2002 to November 2004.)

Sunday Hat

Chris Watson is a "bona fide labour guy (as opposed to one of those rich socialists who have never actually seen the inside of a pair of coveralls)"? Really?

foxymoron

he'll do;)

 

Stockholm

"Chris Watson is a "bona fide labour guy (as opposed to one of those rich socialists who have never actually seen the inside of a pair of coveralls)"? Really?"

I have nothing against Chris Watson and he makes some perfectly valid points, but he is hardly a "bona fide labour guy". In fact he has about as quintessential a "rich socialist" background as anyone could have (not that there is anything wrong with that). His father is Patrick Watson - you know the legendary host of This Hour Has Seven Days and Question Period and more recently the Chairman of the CBC. Something tells me that growing up in the Watson household was very far removed from being the son of some working stiff struggling to make ends meet after a shift working in a coal mine!!

foxymoron

his heart's in the right place;)

 

janfromthebruce

Sunday Hat wrote:

Oh dear. I seem to have started yet another "catholic school debate" which already has it's own thread.

I'm done here.

ditto

______________________________________________________________________________________ Our kids live together and play together in their communities, let's have them learn together too!

foxymoron

and at least he ain't pushin' us around. he seems to recognize labour as more than something to be squeezed when it's convenient. i'm sure some decent labour union has to have given him at least an honorary pair of coveralls.;)

Stockholm

I like to think that EVERYONE in the NDP has their "heart is in the right place" - including so-called "rich socialists" who choose the NDP rather than following the path of least resistence and being a Tory.

V. Jara

like Bob Rae? or Ujjal Dosanjh? or the many others who have become Liberals and Tories?

Stockholm

I will not speculate about whether ex-New Democrat turncoats have their hearts in the right place. I'm talking about people who are in the NDP NOW.

Dosanjh is actually from a very humble background in India. Rae is a quitessential patrician. Jack Layton is actually from a very patrician background as well - and he is such a loyal New Democrat that i think he bleeds orange.

 You don't have to be a so-called rich socialist to end up as a turncoat. I don't recall Ross Thatcher or Hazen Argue having been born with silver spoons in their mouths either.

RevolutionPlease RevolutionPlease's picture

Stockholm wrote:

I will not speculate about whether ex-New Democrat turncoats have their hearts in the right place. I'm talking about people who are in the NDP NOW.

Dosanjh is actually from a very humble background in India. Rae is a quitessential patrician. Jack Layton is actually from a very patrician background as well - and he is such a loyal New Democrat that i think he bleeds orange.

 You don't have to be a so-called rich socialist to end up as a turncoat. I don't recall Ross Thatcher or Hazen Argue having been born with silver spoons in their mouths either.

 

How come these rich people make policies to placate the rich?  I have no problem with silver spoons unless they're tryiing to feed me it.

alphasix actual

Talking about someones background and who their parents are is taking on shades of the Red Guards and cultural revolution. It was absurd then and its juvenile now.

Will we be talking about class enemies next yet still be able to maintain a straight face?

Lord Palmerston

While the NDP has a predominantly working class base, the NDP also has a certain base among certain "creative class" professionals that live in inner city ridings like Trinity-Spadina and Danforth, working as teachers, social workers, researchers, so-called cultural industries, etc. 

Stockholm

"How come these rich people make policies to placate the rich?"

You don't have to look far at all to find people from poor backgrounds who make policies that "placate the rich" as well. Thatcher was a humble grocer's daughter and Nixon was from a poor family as well. On the other hand many revolutionary leaders that people go gaga over like Castro or  Che Guevara or Marx or Lenin were from very comfortable backgrounds - so i really fail to see your point.

Lord Palmerston

In my experience, I've found the so-called self-made rich to be more gung ho about capitalism and less sympathetic to the poor and hostile to unions, etc. than those who grew up privileged. 

foxymoron

i'm sure that's a debate we can have til the cows come home. i'm more interested in what chris actually has to say, and how well it's said, than talking pedigree.

 

RevolutionPlease RevolutionPlease's picture

Ignore it if you must.

synthome

scarboroughnative: "my point exactly...this philosophy [moving to the left] will not translate into any form of electoral success."

Because moving to the centre has been working so well. The party has not only lost most of its dignity and moral suasion, not only is it increasingly indistinguishable from Liberalism, but also has been an electoral disaster. So the obvious tack must be the middle road, you know the one privately owned and paved by Liberals.

 alphasix: "Synthome's first year university rant against capitalism demonstrates how out of touch him and his fearless leader are. Has Peter Tabuns been paying his campaign bills using the Barter system?"

I guess the only thing worse than a first year university rant is a high school rebuttal.  I mean I expect this kind of narrow minded either/ or thinking from neocons, but not here. Am I to understand that capitalism is now officially beyond reproach around here? And that to think otherwise is necessarily to regress to bartering and primitive collectivism. WTF?

If it's good enough for Stephen Lewis to call the NDP back to its democratic socialist roots and to name rapacious capitalism as the beast leading to increasing economic and social injustice around the world, then it's good enough for me.

"Michael Prue understands that a strong economic position based on real world conditions will bring the NDP to power."

Real world material conditions are that capitalism is untenable, unjust and soul destroying. But I get it, Prue is taking a page out of Layton's book: he's running for the job of Premier of Ontario?

re: Richard Florida. With the many great political economists we have at Progressive Economics Forum and the Canadian Centre for Policy alternatives, we now should listen to  quintessential neoliberal Richard Florida. In his own words "I am a political independent, fiscal conservative, social liberal, and believer in vigorous international competition and free trade."

re: Obama.  As historic as Obama's victory may have been, there's nothing in that story for the NDP. We'll never have the organizing muscle that comes from being propped up by Wall St. and having billions and billions of dollars at your disposal. Second, Obama is possibly the most serious threat to democratic socialism since Bill Blair third way social democracy. Obama amounts ultimately to little more than a slick shill for capitalism. Ideologically, he's basically John Tory. And, no, the Michael Prue story is not tantamount to Obama's.

foxymoron

ignore what? pedigree?

not a chance, especially not my own particularly low-born one.

that said, mine is what it is, theirs is what it is. when you get right down to it, no aristocrat or pauper is responsible for the accident of their own birth. they're just born into it.

i'm less interested in square footage than i am with the content of character and the vigor of ideas, which is why chris' letter is much more indicative of a respectful attitude towards the working class in a way that offers hope of common ground between that class and the 'creative class' (and new canadians and the poor and LGBT and the oppressed and environmentalists and progressive small business and organic farmers and etc., etc.).

the only way you assemble such a progressive coalition is by have a frank and honest discussion about what's working, what's not working, and acknowledging the need to evolve and adapt. and not being afraid to evolve and adapt.

i think the part of chris' letter that struck me the most was the following:

SNIP

4. After the last election the official sum-up by the ONDP Campaign Leadership framed the result as "Another moral victory." When victory is defined as not losing party status for the 3rd time in a row, is something not seriously wrong with this picture?

UNSNIP

no question something's seriously wrong with this picture. i've noticed a tendency on our part in the party to blame, rather than accept the notion that our shortcomings represent a collective failure on all our parts--NDP, former NDP, labour (public and private sector), social activists, political left in general, really.

many of us cling to a worldview through our own dialectics--socialist, communist, social democrat, democratic socialist, blue collar, pink paper, social unionist, business unionist, craft unionist, social gospel, anarchist, PoMo, BoBo, creative class--what have i missed?

but many of us also seem to cling to the notion that at the root of our problems is the fact that none of us are really doing anything wrong and if people would just 'think more like us' we'd be okay. more often than not, if we assign blame, it's directed outward. the establishment blames someone, the leader's office blames someone, labour blames someone, the executive blames someone, the various caucuses and 'tendencies' blame one another, everyone blames the right-wing media and other bugaboos.

all that blaming really cuts into the introspection time, which really should have began sometime in 1995. we all threw a lot of effort into fighting the harris agenda, but perhaps we should have thrown a bigger percentage of our energy than we did into asking ourselves how things went so wrong and how we could gone from government to losing official party status in two election cycles.

Certainly we ought not to have been patting ourselves on the back when, after another two cycles of flirting with oblivion, we chalked the last election's results up as a 'moral victory' because we didn't lose party status.

once again, there was plenty of blame to go around, but no one seems willing to own the collective failure that has been ongoing for more than a decade. it was john tory's fault for stepping on the rail. it was dalton's fault for exploiting it. it was the media's fault for ignoring us. in the end, it was the voters fault for not voting for us.

but it was also our fault for not giving them a compelling enough reason to do so. some fingers point to the establishment, some to the executive, some to the staff, some to the leader's office. know what? if everyone's blaming everyone, it's a pretty safe bet everyone's to blame.

i think prue has intuited that, and that's why chris spoke out so eloquently in his support.

so yeah, pedigree counts insofar as you can't escape it and it illuminates your worldview. but to dwell on it when the issue really is who has the vision and the courage to renew and modernize our party. chris obviously thinks it's michael, and expresses it in a very articulate way.

if i had any coveralls and shop gloves left, i'd give him a pair of eachLaughing.

foxymoron

geez synth, must you? your intellectual dishonesty is so rank as to make me feel like you're channelling david frum in here. i mean, really! must i rebut your every rebuttal in here?

look, don't get me wrong. i admire your smarts, but if you'd only take that gift and put it into the service of good!

synthome wrote:

scarboroughnative: "my point exactly...this philosophy [moving to the left] will not translate into any form of electoral success."

Because moving to the centre has been working so well. The party has not only lost most of its dignity and moral suasion, not only is it increasingly indistinguishable from Liberalism, but also has been an electoral disaster. So the obvious tack must be the middle road, you know the one privately owned and paved by Liberals.

really? and this is the result of moving to the centre? faulty premise, subject to interpretation. one person's centrist shift is another's hard right turn, is another's leftward swing. if the party has lost most of its dignity and moral suasion, it's because we haven't really done anything different since 1995. we treat elections these days like some play days in elementary school...'red ribbons for everyone! good job for participating!' the candidate you shill for, peter tabuns, is the establishment candidate. i am under no illusions he will give the establishment exactly what they want for the duration of his tenure and ensure the only debates anyone in the party gets to have are the ones that are pre-approved. if he does poorly, everyone will get a pat on the back and a red ribbon and a 'good job!' from a policy perspective, the ndp in general is a mish-mash of wishy-washiness made all the more watered down by a congenital fear of offending anyone. it is left of centre, i suppose, but mostly it distinguishes itself in its blandness.

 alphasix: "Synthome's first year university rant against capitalism demonstrates how out of touch him and his fearless leader are. Has Peter Tabuns been paying his campaign bills using the Barter system?"

I guess the only thing worse than a first year university rant is a high school rebuttal.  I mean I expect this kind of narrow minded either/ or thinking from neocons, but not here. Am I to understand that capitalism is now officially beyond reproach around here? And that to think otherwise is necessarily to regress to bartering and primitive collectivism. WTF?

Synth, you mock alphasix's purported 'narrow minded either/or' manicheanism. but isn't your assertion below the same sort of crude frum-ious sort of either/or? the 'beast'ly capitalism rearing its ugly head to give you a computer to jibber-jabber on and iTunes to fill my head. it's a screwed-up system, but let's face facts-folks like you and i benefit from it. it's deserving of critique, but also credit. so too is the 'democratic socialism', 'social democracy' or whatever else you want to call what we've been peddling these past 15 years. full marks for invoking st. stephen, though. careful. you're verging into 'last refuge of a scoundrel' territory.

If it's good enough for Stephen Lewis to call the NDP back to its democratic socialist roots and to name rapacious capitalism as the beast leading to increasing economic and social injustice around the world, then it's good enough for me.

"Michael Prue understands that a strong economic position based on real world conditions will bring the NDP to power."

Real world material conditions are that capitalism is untenable, unjust and soul destroying. But I get it, Prue is taking a page out of Layton's book: he's running for the job of Premier of Ontario?

this is where you're at your most frum-tacular, synth. taking what someone writes, re-using it, but sneaking in an extra word like material so as to make it seem that the words of the person whose argument you are trying to rebut actually work in your favour...very nice spin, elegant, but dishonest, sneaky and actually a little evil. when the 'right wing media' conspiracy does that, they rightly get accused of taking words 'out of context.'

re: Richard Florida. With the many great political economists we have at Progressive Economics Forum and the Canadian Centre for Policy alternatives, we now should listen to  quintessential neoliberal Richard Florida. In his own words "I am a political independent, fiscal conservative, social liberal, and believer in vigorous international competition and free trade."

so one of the most innovative urban thinkers must be ignored in favour of all those other excellent voices because he is

a) a political independent

b)fiscal conservative

c) social liberal

d) believes in competition and free trade?

I could simply ask if you'd prefer hime to be a)politically dogmatic (well, as long as it's whatever dogma you're peddling, i suppose), b)fiscally profligate, c)socially conservative and d)anti-competition, anti-free trade, but that would be engaging in the same crude manicheanism you decry, but embrace when it's convenient. the truth is more nuanced, but you don't like nuance, so i won't bother you with it.

re: Obama.  As historic as Obama's victory may have been, there's nothing in that story for the NDP. We'll never have the organizing muscle that comes from being propped up by Wall St. and having billions and billions of dollars at your disposal. Second, Obama is possibly the most serious threat to democratic socialism since Bill Blair third way social democracy. Obama amounts ultimately to little more than a slick shill for capitalism. Ideologically, he's basically John Tory. And, no, the Michael Prue story is not tantamount to Obama's.

what gives many hope from the obama win is the possibility a nation can shake off the shackles of the horribly destructive culture war that's been waged in the U.S. for far too long. a shill for capitalism? maybe? in his own way, so was roosevelt, who saved it from itself.

and no, prue's story is not tantamount to obama's, and he isn't like some candidates who wrap themselves in the obama mantle every chance they get. i've heard his spiel enough times to know he pays tribute to obama's 50-state strategy when discussing electoral tactics, and that's about it. the candidate you shill for (tabuns) is WAY more shameless.

Lord Palmerston

Yeah, I can't stand Florida.  BTW Florida has been influential among the David Miller types and the City bureaucracy in Toronto.

foxymoron

Lord Palmerston wrote:
Yeah, I can't stand Florida.  BTW Florida has been influential among the David Miller types and the City bureaucracy in Toronto.

and THIS is so much better?

Thursday, December 26, 1996
BY DON WANAGAS, CITY HALL BUREAU

"Annus horribilus" is how Queen Elizabeth described a particularly bad year a few calendars ago.

By comparison, Toronto city council's 1996 might rank as annus horribilus maximus.

The year went from bad to worse -- to even worse -- and ended with the provincial government giving Mayor Barbara Hall and her 16 council colleagues notice 1997 will not be a Happy New Year.

Toronto and Metro's five other municipalities are being amalgamated into One Big City. And come next Nov. 10, they'll all cease to exist.

There are those in the public and even at City Hall who will suggest that Toronto council was the architect of its own demise.

HARVEY'S BOYCOTT

There's plenty of support for this theory given the Toronto board of health's February endorsement of a public boycott against the Harvey's hamburger chain.

The burger chain's sin? Its parent company, Cara Foods, gave $4,000 to the Ontario Tory party and should be punished, according to Councillor Peter Tabuns, the health board's NDP chairman.

A howl of public outrage eventually forced the board to back down.

But by summer, the board was back in the news as the force behind a highly controversial bylaw that -- come next March -- will prohibit smoking in all city bars and restaurants which don't spend a fortune building ventilated quarters for puffers.

Amalgamation or the courts could still quash the new regulations.

In October, council shocked the public by supporting organized labor's campaign to shut down city and Metro services for a day as a protest against provincial social services cuts.

wage zombie

foxymoron wrote:

but many of us also seem to cling to the notion that at the root of our problems is the fact that none of us are really doing anything wrong and if people would just 'think more like us' we'd be okay. more often than not, if we assign blame, it's directed outward. the establishment blames someone, the leader's office blames someone, labour blames someone, the executive blames someone, the various caucuses and 'tendencies' blame one another, everyone blames the right-wing media and other bugaboos.

...

Certainly we ought not to have been patting ourselves on the back when, after another two cycles of flirting with oblivion, we chalked the last election's results up as a 'moral victory' because we didn't lose party status.

once again, there was plenty of blame to go around, but no one seems willing to own the collective failure that has been ongoing for more than a decade. it was john tory's fault for stepping on the rail. it was dalton's fault for exploiting it. it was the media's fault for ignoring us. in the end, it was the voters fault for not voting for us.

but it was also our fault for not giving them a compelling enough reason to do so. some fingers point to the establishment, some to the executive, some to the staff, some to the leader's office. know what? if everyone's blaming everyone, it's a pretty safe bet everyone's to blame.

Agreed.

I think Prue would be my 2nd choice after Horwath. 

Michelle

foxymoron wrote:

i'm sure that's a debate we can have til the cows come home. i'm more interested in what chris actually has to say, and how well it's said, than talking pedigree.

 

Well, you're the one who brought it up!
foxymoron

beg to differ, but you're entitled to your opinion

Sunday Hat

Actually, foxy, it's not a subjective call. YOU brought it up with this quip about Watson: "a bona fide labour guy (as opposed to one of those rich socialists who have never actually seen the inside of a pair of coveralls"

But, sure, let's talk about Chris's analysis. He thinks that the main problem the NDP faces is that we aren't trusted on the economy. I agree it's a problem. However, simply saying that over and over doesn't solve the problem. To be blunt, if we're not trusted on economic issues isn't that partially the fault of the guy who's been Finance Critic for the last five years?

I'm a little surprised given Watson's pro-Florida bent that he's not endorsing Tabuns who strikes me as being of that bent (notwitstanding synthome's belief that Tabuns is readying the world for socialism).

foxymoron

Sunday Hat wrote:

Actually, foxy, it's not a subjective call. YOU brought it up with this quip about Watson: "a bona fide labour guy (as opposed to one of those rich socialists who have never actually seen the inside of a pair of coveralls"

But, sure, let's talk about Chris's analysis. He thinks that the main problem the NDP faces is that we aren't trusted on the economy. I agree it's a problem. However, simply saying that over and over doesn't solve the problem. To be blunt, if we're not trusted on economic issues isn't that partially the fault of the guy who's been Finance Critic for the last five years?

I'm a little surprised given Watson's pro-Florida bent that he's not endorsing Tabuns who strikes me as being of that bent (notwitstanding synthome's belief that Tabuns is readying the world for socialism).

Hat, did i inadvertently speak in code? whose pedigree did i mention? i said he was a 'bona fide labour guy' as evidenced by his many years of work with various labour unions and the fact I haven't been given any sort of evidence to suggest he's strong-arming union locals where he's got a little pull into supporting a particular candidate...i mean, i'm not aware that he's got any pull with any locals, but what do i know?

Now, others have been very eager to raise Chris' pedigree, but I'm certainly not to blame for that now, am i?Innocent

synthome

foxymoron: Would you agree that to be a part of "the left" and not stand in critical opposition to capitalism is kind of like "labour" ceding the right to strike?  In my view, these are essential, integral and minimal conditions for those two words to function meaningfully. They're are the anchoring points. No room for "nuance" here. These are as you once said "dealbreakers").

Your ideological positioning and defense of capitalism is sounding more and more neoliberal. Not that there's anything wrong with that... Actually when we're competing to define the ideological core of the only party that the Left might look to, there is a problem. On another thread there was the question of whether the Left should part ways with the NDP. This in some ways could be a completely irrelevant question as much of the Left has already split itself off from the NDP AND it looks like the NDP is increasingly wanting to sever its ties completely with the Left. 

Really, how does your vision for the NDP differ from the McGuinty Liberal position?  He's a neoliberal. You seem to be a neoliberal. He likes Richard Florida. You like Richard Florida. He loves kissing corporate butt, you like "enlightened" corporate relations. He feels people's pain. You feel people's pain. It may actually be more expeditious to become the left flank of the Liberal caucus and try and move them from within. I have enough respect for the legitimacy of our democracy to abide by the will of the NDP membership in deciding the direction upon which the NDP will embark. But if it continues down this middle road, it will do so without me.

p.s. I wasn't around here in 1996, and truth be told this is the first I've heard of the Harvey's boycott, but is it wrong that my estimation for Peter Tabuns has just gone up?  The health board democratically voted to support the boycott. Even if the boycott was politically motivated, it's called politics.

The Tories and Liberals try to minimize the power of labour and unions when they can through legislation and co-option, the left should minimize the power of multinational corporations. Nothing undermines sovereignty and democracy more than Global capitalism. We should not be unquestioning props of the system. But there I go again trying to make that innocuous, reified C- word sound like it's a bad thing.

btw anyone care for one of my "How's capitalism working for you?" t-shirts?

Smile 

madmax

6% of Ontario Voters trust the NDP on the economy.  Why doesn't that surprise me.....

Is there any ONDP leadership candidate that can bring credibility to the party on economic issues?  Seems that the NDP which, according to another thread shows the ONDP between 15 and 19%, loses 2/3s of its own base, when the economy is the ballot question.

That has to change.

synthome

Sunday Hat: "(notwitstanding synthome's belief that Tabuns is readying the world for socialism)"

Look, I harbour no illusions. When it comes to ideological affinity with the leadership candidates, I'm simply looking for the one standing furthest left and one that isn't afraid to say the C-word. If he/she were to use the C-word derogatorily, that would be a bonus. That's what I've been reduced to as a member of the NDP. I mean, I'm being told by fellow dippers that I should be grateful that the most abundantly overproductive rapacious system in history has seen fit to throw a computer my way. Yes capitalism is unprecedentedly "generative", but at what cost? How much is your true freedom and humanity worth? I simply refuse to resign myself to thinking that capitalism is a good as it gets.

btw: My problem with Florida isn't his description of the changing nature of the city and the emergence of new creative class. I mean that there have been reconfigurations of the labour market is easily described. My problem is that he's a neoliberal. I just think if we're on the left, we should apply a political economy approach to a fairly obvious social transformation. It is the economy, stupid, but with one qualifier. It should read, "It's the political economy, stupid." 

foxymoron

Synth, you are SO adorable. Your estimation has just gone up...awww... i could go on a big tangent about how it's an affront to free speech, etc., but i'll just snip from the article...

SNIP

If Tabuns and his NDP colleagues don't like the fact Cara gave its allowable contribution to the Tories, that's their problem. Just like it was Tory supporters' problem that unions and organized labor gave cash to help install Bob Rae's NDP government at Queen's park in 1990.

There are some folks out there who will claim the New Democrats also posed a big threat to the public health with the programs they brought in during their five-year tenure. But we never heard a thing about boycotts from Tabuns and the board of health during all that time.

That's because the Harvey's boycott has nothing to do with public health concerns. It's purely political.

As an angry Mayor Barbara Hall pointed out on Friday, Tabuns' action "verges on a witchhunt."

UNSNIP

pretty harsh, but you know that right-wing media...oh wait--isn't wanagas like david miller's director of communications? i guess that right-wing conspiracy has long tendrils. they apparently got barbara hall, too.

but like most dishonest thinkers, you prefer not to traffic in the issue at hand, and when you're on the losing side of an argument, you resort to tantrums and wild-eyed speculation about what my purported 'defence of capitalism' must mean about my own leanings.

let me set you right.

please don't equate an acknowledgement that you and i both benefit from it with a defence. again, you revert to the same either/or manicheanism you claim to decry. it is indeed possible to put forward a critique of a system and acknowledge that you exist within it. and yeah, i'm not afraid to say that it's a flawed system that benefits you and i. i'm also not afraid to draw a distinction between commerce, which probably pre-dates writing, and market capitalism, a system which is less than 200 years old.  But that's all moot to the core of my own personal vision, which is my own, not a vision of the NDP. i long ago recognized that political parties, like organized religion, live or die on the strength of the ideas their members bring to them. it makes me unpopular with my own catholic church, and it probably makes me unpopular with you. i'll survive.

your concern with notion of 'labour ceding its right to strike' is laughable, given that your candidate has a record of pre-emptively depriving his workers of that very right by stripping the contracts they had signed.

as for your eagerness to flog your t-shirts in what is a refreshingly non-commercial space, you're the one who called me 'gauche' once.

than again, it's not the only crappy merch you peddle around here.

 

*EDITED* to add missing 'the'

Sunday Hat

I found the Harvey's story boring a decade ago. Can we find a new reason to hate Tabuns?

Like the fact that this video makes Stephane Dion's videographer look talented? Tongue out

foxymoron

i find nothing boring about using political offices to stifle participation in the political process, but yes, that video is...entertaining?

 

Laughing

Lord Palmerston

I have my ballot and all I know is that Gilles Bisson is my last choice.

Doug

I like Richard Florida. Is everything he has to say a great idea? No. However, he's shown that things like strong and creative cultural organizations, social tolerance and diverse communities are important to the economic success of cities. That's an important message when things like cultural funding and human rights promotion are sometimes seen as frills.

awright21

I think that each of you make good cases for the people you're supporting. I have been waiting for the race to heat up, but it doesn't seem like that is really happening beyond the confines of rabble. I heard that Michael Prue was supposedly making some big announcement today, but haven't seen anything yet. Does anyone have any info?

 

Stockholm

If Prue actually does make a "big announcement" today when the news cycle is going to be 100% dominated by Obama's visit and any coverage of his announcement would be obliterated - then it would only tell me that his handlers have never taken "Media Relations 101".

scarboroughnative

Sunday Hat wrote:

I found the Harvey's story boring a decade ago. Can we find a new reason to hate Tabuns?

Like the fact that this video makes Stephane Dion's videographer look talented? Tongue out

 

hey give the guy a break it lloks like nobody in this thing has fundraised anything near enough to produce high quality video.

that said...his video is pretty street...straight outta danforth yo.........

Scarberian

Has anyone else noticed that Tabuns' website seems to have been down all day?

synthome

foxymoron: You're so cute when you're angry. For the record, I don't see this as an argument. Yes we could expect each other to speak cogently and consistently, but this isn't about who's right or wrong. I see it as more about delineating our respective positions and a kind of discursive turf war over the term "the left".  If you have no stake in that term, then its a non starter.

However, if you do, what is that without which "the left" becomes vacuous and empty? What is minimally needed to ensure any meaningful integrity in the term? My position is that holding a critical, I'll even up the ante, nay a hostile relation towards capitalism is the bare minimal condition for a leftist. I'll not only agree that we must acknowledge that we exist in capitalism, I'll concede that it fundamentally orders and structures our realities. So I benefit not only materially, but my social relations are defined by a way of provisioning for ourselves called capitalism. Problem is I believe the system to be inherently contradictory, unworkable, alienating, and dehumanizing, so that while I begin where I find myself, I am committed to working interminably towards revolutionizing democracy and transforming capitalism.  Even in the short term, it's not simply a matter of better regulation of the market mechanism, it's about radically transforming the distribution of the massive wealth generated by capitalism.

Your little barb at Tabuns notwithstanding, my point about ceding the right to strike was that I believe the moment, even if through collective bargaining, we negotiate away the right to strike in a CBA, then we have transformed the very essence of the labour movement. 

I'd still be interested in reading how you ideologically and pragmatically distinguish your position from that of neoliberalism. How is your economics to be contrasted from the McGuinty Liberals? You see I can live with Tabuns labour history, with what I consider Prue's unethicality, Bisson's and Andrea's complete inability to leave an impression on me as leadership material. What I can't live with is the wholesale abandonment, even in pretense, of  the left. Advocating neoliberalism for me is the mother of all dealbreakers for the NDP.

btw I haven't any such t-shirts, but I really like the slogan and am seriously thinking of getting some done up.

alphasix actual

Synthome you seem to love throwing around terms like neoliberalism and market mechanisms etc. The obsession about defining just how left is acceptable is the kind of nonsense that is destroying the party. Dogmatic arguments really turn off non NDP voters. WE need to grow the party, not engage in discussions that sound like a bad parody of socialist rhetoric.

Benevolent capitalism is acceptable. When it is exploitative that's a different story. Debate the actions on an individual basis not the theory. The problem with Utopian visions is they are just that, visions. Michael Prue's policies are grounded in reality. They are policies that will get the NDP back into power. We need an NDP premier and Michael fits the bill.

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