NDP à la Harper shuts down debates

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It seems that the NDP doesn't have any vision for this country or any articulated policy, other than getting additional seats in Parliament — hence the attack on the Liberals.

Jack Layton's latest pronouncements and actions show that he's already partially in bed with Stephen Harper, and it looks as if he wants to co-habit with him for the duration of this Parliament.

Also Layton has made it clear that the NDP is going to have an all-out fight with the Liberals in the next election, in the hopes of replacing the Liberals as the official opposition. This is sheer delusion, and dangerous delusion for both Canada and the NDP. Such a strategy, even to the most obtuse, is a guaranteed formula for a Conservative majority.

A Conservative majority is one outcome, but it could also be destructive to the NDP. If the Liberals should get a reasonably good leader, say Ontario MPP Gerard Kennedy, this NDP strategy could lead them to a repeat of 1993, where from 43 seats the NDP were reduced to nine — and the Conservatives might still get a majority if they capture Quebec.

The NDP federal leadership seems oblivious to the fact that their current strategy is demoralizing to many in the party and to progressive-minded people in the public at large. It should come as no surprise that a continuation of these policies will result in fewer monetary contributions to the party and in a loss of votes. A recent poll has already shown a slide to 14 per cent from their 17.5 per cent share of the vote in the 2006 election.

It seems that the NDP doesn't have any vision for this country or any articulated policy, other than getting additional seats in Parliament — hence the attack on the Liberals. Bluntly, this appears to be a stupid short-sighted policy, with no regard for Canada, or even for themselves.

On the other hand, if what they want is just additional seats, the proposal of a coalition and the procedure as I have clearly outlined in my previous articles would guarantee the NDP more seats. It would also put them in a position to have cabinet seats and to be part of a coalition government — for the first time in their history. It would give them a chance to actually help legislate some of their traditional policies, instead of just carping from the sidelines as a third-tier opposition group.

Where is their vision, for themselves and the country? Is this what remains of a dynamic party first founded as the CCF with its solid platform for social and economic change? And with a visionary leader such as Tommy Douglas? Their position is now not far off from being farce and tragedy.

With most of the corporate elite and the owners of the media behind Harper — carefully grooming his image — and with the NDP fighting the Liberals, it's almost a certainty that the Conservatives will get a majority in the next election. I dealt with these matters in an article shortly after the election, and then in a further article in which I advocated an NDP-Liberal coalition. Before its publication, I had sent the article as an open letter to each NDP and Liberal MP. More recently, I sent each NDP MP a detailed proposal for a coalition.

So far I have not received a single response from any of the MPs. The coalition proposal was specifically directed at the NDP MPs, so it is somewhat disconcerting to have the proposal totally ignored. Has it now become “NDP party policy” à la Harper not to engage in any debate with anyone, especially a citizen who should question some of the party's policies and strategies? The most charitable explanation could be a simple decision not to discuss internal policy matters with anyone. If the latter is supposedly the case, ordinary party discipline stretches the credulity of 100 per cent compliance, so it leads to the previous supposition.

If Jack Layton has become a control freak like Stephen Harper, how can we alert the seemingly slumbering NDP to the perilous danger that Canada faces if by their inaction, or counterproductive policies, the Conservatives succeed in getting a majority government?

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