SASKATOON – The author of a new book on the NDP says the party has to highlight what makes them different from the governing Saskatchewan Party.
“They have to make themselves more relevant to the Saskatchewan public,” said David McGrane, who has just released a book called “Remaining Loyal” that compares the NDP in Saskatchewan and Quebec.
“I think they can do that by talking about things that make them different from the Saskatchewan Party,” McGrane told Global News.
“The privatization of liquor, for example … the privatization of schools in terms of P3 projects – private public partnerships – that’s a big different between the two parties,” said McGrane, who is also an associate professor of political studies at the University of Saskatchewan.
“To some extent I believe they have to go back and exploit those fault lines of Saskatchewan politics that have been there since the beginning of the province,” he said.
McGrane rejects the notion that the NDP need to re-define themselves – in fact he thinks that would be a mistake. His book looks at the history of the NDP in both Saskatchewan and Quebec, and one of his conclusions is that the NDP have remained true to their social democratic values, even though the circumstances of society have changed.
“You can remain true to your values, and that’s what the NDP did under the Romanow and Calvert governments,” he said.
At the same time, he added, policies change to fit the times.
“You’re not going to hear (NDP Leader) Cam Broten talk about nationalizing banks or public ownership of oil or potash,” he said. “At the same time you are going to hear the NDP talk about raising royalties on natural resources, and increasing spending on social programs … there can be a balance.”
He said the key is translating social democratic values into policies that work.
“I think what the Saskatchewan NDP is looking for right now is innovative ways to implement tried and true social democratic principles here in Saskatchewan,” he said. “I think they’ve done that in terms of their ideas around taxation and their ideas around child care and seniors care, around education … look for them to continue to create those differences between themselves and the Wall Saskatchewan Party.”
McGrane’s book was launched Thursday evening at McNally Robinson Booksellers. He says it provides a “bird’s eye view” of Saskatchewan politics going back to 1905, showing how much the political landscape has changed over the years.