Questions for NDP leadership candidates

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Questions for NDP leadership candidates

Hello babblers,

You've got lots of questions for NDP federal leadership candidates, and we'd like to help you get answers.

Beginning today, we will be collecting questions directed specifically at individual candidates by creating a question thread for each candidate.  Over the next few weeks and months, we will invite each candidate to answer your questions in a moderated discussion.

Please confine your contributions to the leadership candidate threads to questions directed at the individual candidate named in the thread title.  Discussions and comments can be posted in any of the several other federal NDP threads.


Barry Weisleder

NDP Socialist Caucus Questions for the NDP Leader Candidates
(the following questions were sent to all of the candidates in mid-January 2012)

1.  Environment and public ownership

Cap and trade policies are not curbing climate change which threatens the survival of civilization. To rapidly reduce reliance on fossil fuels and to conscript the wealth of the resource sector to fund and effect a shift to green energy alternatives as soon as possible, should the NDP actively campaign for public ownership, under workers' and community control, of Big Oil and Gas? If not, why not?

2. NATO and the Wars of Intervention

Since the 1970s, NDP policy demands that Canada leave NATO, the cold war alliance that conducts imperialist interventions (especially when the U.N. declines to do Washington's bidding). NATO still occupies Afghanistan. It installed a pro-western government in Libya, and is now threatening to intervene in Syria and Iran to secure resources and geo-political power for the 1% who control the world economy. Do you think the NDP should actively campaign to remove Canada from NATO and oppose the wars of intervention and occupation by the western powers, and what are the reasons for your position?

3. Banks

Giant financial institutions are a major culprit of the failed global capitalist system, substituting lies and manipulation for genuine production, squandering untold wealth, and plunging millions into destitution and misery. Do you think the NDP should actively campaign for nationalization of the big five Canadian banks and the major insurance companies, to be operated under public democratic control, so that their accumulated wealth can be used to meet human needs? What are the reasons for your position?

4. Taxes

While putting a stop to corporate tax cuts and concessions to the super-rich would be welcome, it would not reverse the huge gap between the super-rich and the rest of us, nor would it conscript the privately hoarded wealth created by labour and nature now so urgently needed to meet human needs on many levels. What would you do to establish a steeply progressive tax on income, inheritance, corporate profits, speculation and financial transactions, to eliminate regressive taxes like the HST/GST, and to make the 1% pay for the crisis of their system?

5. Democracy in the NDP

There is a growing tendency of party officials to interfere in the local democratic candidate selection process, to ignore convention-adopted policies, to minimize the time allocated at NDP conventions for debate on policy resolutions from grassroots organizations, and to charge exorbitant fees, not only to register a candidate to run for Leader, but even for an ordinary member to be a delegate to an NDP convention. All of this increases the democratic deficit inside the party. What do you pledge to do about this worrisome trend, whether you win or lose?

6. No electoral pact, coalition or merger with Liberal Party

While the Harper Conservatives are doing great harm to working people, to the 99%, any move towards an electoral pact or coalition with business parties, much less to merge with the Liberal Party, would do much greater harm, leading to the destruction of the NDP and to generations of gains achieved by the CCF, the NDP, the labour movement and other social justice movements. What do you pledge to do to oppose any move towards alliance with capitalist parties and to strengthen the NDP as the political arm of labour, independent of control by the 1%?

7. Socialism and economic democracy

While preaching 'capitalism for the poor', governments have provided 'socialism for the rich', replete with mega bail-outs for giant banks, auto manufacturers and other big firms. Corporations like U.S. Steel, which has repeatedly violated the Canada Investment Act and forced steelworkers to make pension, wage and benefits concessions, show that the priorities of big business are incompatible with social justice, democracy and a healthy environment. Should the NDP actively campaign for public ownership, under workers' and community control, of big Auto, Steel, Natural Resources, Mass Media, Transportation, Medical drugs, and the Retail Store giants? What are the reasons for your position?

8. BDS and apartheid Israel

CUPE Ontario, CUPW, Quebec labour and many unions, municipalities, and civil society organizations around the world endorse boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel until it ends its occupation of the West Bank, its siege of Gaza, removes the apartheid wall, recognizes the Palestinian people's right to self-determination, and fully complies with international law, including U.N. resolution 194, which calls for the right of return of Palestinian refugees. What is your position on the BDS campaign, the Canadian Boat to Gaza, and Palestinian self-determination?

knownothing knownothing's picture

Aw cmon Barry, you took all the good questions

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Will each of you pledge to restore full funding to Katimavik and keep this unique program alive?

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Will all of you pledge to seriously consider overturning the cuts that Harper has made to valuable social programs, and get them back up and running?